Furniture that works

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Design leader Marc Fong speaks on creativity and his Indian inspiration

Marc Fong, Shanghai-based design leader for Haworth, manufacturers of contract furniture, loves coming up with workplace furniture solutions.

Integrating environmentally sustainable practices and forward-thinking flexibility, Fong’s vision has created many furniture ‘winners’. Now, he brings to the Indian office environment ‘Allways’, a modular furniture system in which four independent systems share a design DNA, and can be easily reconfigured in endless permutations.

In Chennai en route to Pune for launching ‘Allways’ at the Haworth Ishanaya Creativity Centre, Marc Fong speaks about the wellsprings of his creativity, and his latest line. On creating furniture specifically for evolving office settings and different types of workMarc: Today, offices have no vertical barriers. Work is varied. It includes transactional work and knowledge sharing, and collaboration is the key. There is a trend towards working together; so we offer benching solutions. How does furniture actually change to accommodate changing work environments and needs

Marc: Today we ask, ‘How can I use my laptop on my sofa?’, because of what technology allows us to do. So, we are developing sofas with integrated power. We can plug our laptops into the sofa, converting it into a place of relaxation and work. As a designer, I’ll ask for future trends, but would also think of form and geometry.

What inspires the Haworth masterpieces? Marc: The inspiration comes from all things I see. I consciously try not to see other furniture. I look at fashion, history, art, architecture. I am inspired by travel, and how people live, and translate it into furniture design. India is an overwhelming experience — you cannot but be influenced by its history, temples, the Taj Mahal, all the palaces. Inspired by India, one home furniture range took the shape of cabinets with lattice work. And, there is always the passion to help preserve the environment.

About ‘Allways’, which is being launched in India Marc: It can exist as a single desk, or as multiples so that people can work cohesively. ‘Allways’ work surface is made of rice straw, a replenishable resource. In ‘Allways’, 43 per cent of the material is recyclable. We are also in tune with the Leed Building and Space certification, in which India leads in Asia.





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