although it is a concept introduced in the 1930s, the proliferation of open floor plans in corporate environments was ushered in with the rise of Silicon Valley. In addition to maximizing a company’s office space while minimizing its costs, the innovation purported to foster engagement, workplace satisfaction, teamwork and ultimately productivity. There was little science to back these assertions, but that didn’t keep 70% of U.S. based companies from adopting the open floor plan. It didn’t take long for follow-up studies to prove otherwise. Managers and workers in open offices reported being frustrated by distractions that lead to poor performance.
open floor concepts do not need to be abandoned, nor is there a need to renovate and put up walls that were once thought to stifle communication in the first place. Instead, forward-thinking corporate offices are turning to new and inventive notions in spatial design. One such innovation incorporates molo’s modular approach to space making through its signature softwall collection of wall partitions, paper furniture, and LED lighting. The innovation facilitates customizable private breakout spaces, and areas of respite even within expansive office layouts.
how molo paper and textile furniture, lighting, and space partitions create engaging spaces in open-plan settings
paper + textile space partitions
space partitions are the defining element when creating privacy in an open plan interior. But right angle room dividers, while functional, can be suffocating to creativity, engagement and psychological wellness. A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that people prefer curved organic spaces over rectilinear ones. They fire up activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and affect behavior, including decisions to enter or avoid an area, and even influence the way we think and engage with others. Paul Silvia, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina has an interesting take on the matter:
“Silvia points out that we're all born attuned to human faces. As anyone who's ever held a baby knows, their large round eyes frequently trigger uncontrollable feelings of warmth. Curved and rounded objects are so much more familiar that they seem more natural and ‘right’” (CNN Style)
the truth that most things in a natural environment are decidedly rounded is a cornerstone of molo’s space partition creations, including paper softwall,textile softwall, paper softblock, and textile softblock - freestanding room dividers / folding walls that possess the flexibility to be shaped in any curved or linear formation. Benchwall, evolves the concept further, delivering a flexible bench with a tall backrest that acts as both acoustic space partition and seating.
paper + textile furniture
with ancillary spaces partitioned to cultivate intimate settings in an otherwise open floor, furnishings can be leveraged to invite staff to convene, remain, and engage. Structured with honeycomb geometry, molo’s softseating folding paper or textile stool + bench and lounger offer comfortable, compact, flexible, and sustainable seating options with surprising strength. molo’s cantilever table with folding paper base completes the picture. Designed with collaborative workspaces in mind, the round textile or paper-based table boasts an inherently democratic shape that encourages users to create, craft, sketch, and share ideas.
paper lighting fixtures
lighting can do more than illuminate a room, it can equally be employed to enclose a space. In a juxtaposition, molo’s paper lighting fixtures embrace those seated within dedicated areas, providing freedom from interference while nurturing engagement and brainstorming sessions into the wee hours of the workday.