Architectural firm Tengbom has curated the exhibition Redefining The Office, a collaboration between the industry bodies Architects Sweden and the Swedish Federation of Wood and Furniture Industry (TMF), and Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair.
“The exhibition is all about the workspaces of the future and what they’ll look like,” explains Linda Camara, an architect at Tengbom and manager of this project.
The exhibition comprises a long wooden bench covered with inscriptions, and above the bench floats a cloud. It would seem that an office could be anything in the future.
“That’s exactly what we’re examining. In the exhibition, the cloud is very much our starting point. You can be anywhere in the world and work and download your files.”
So where does the architect come in?
“We’re becoming increasingly important. You used to have to go to the office, wherever it was and whatever it was like. But that’s not the case anymore. And so it’s particularly important that offices are well-designed and healthy places to be. Today, it’s understood that going to the office shouldn’t make you ill, but in the future the focus may be on it actually making you healthy, and that’s where we have an important role to play.
“It’s also vital to define what happens in the actual encounters between the people in the offices. It’s exciting, because it offers us various choices and opportunities, but then the question is what we should do with them.”
What does Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair mean to architects as a professional group?
“It’s an important meeting place. We’re here to spot trends and confirm that we’re on the right track, and to look at what the future holds.”
Where do you think Scandinavian architecture and design stands today, globally?
“One of our defining features is that we’re still very close to nature. Scandinavian design has a good reputation. When it comes to architecture, I hope that the national architectural initiatives, including the appointment of a national architect, will encourage architects, property developers and local authorities to be even bolder in their drive for more progress.”
What are the industry’s main challenges moving forward?
“When putting this exhibition together, it’s something we discussed a great deal. We’ve split it up into three main subjects, each with humanity at its center. They are:
Sustainability – from an ecological and social aspect.
Digitalization, AI – what does it mean, not least in terms of stresses, and will AI take over our jobs or create more jobs?
The place – what will it look like, is it just geographical, how should it be designed? Is it virtual or real? There are so many questions.”
What were your expectations coming into the fair?
“As a visitor, you want to be inspired by new thoughts and ideas. As curators of this exhibition, we wanted to spark discussions. We have to start acting now in readiness for the future. We can’t delay it any longer.”