Dezeen Magazine

Foster + Partners designs chair that facilitates focus work in public spaces

Foster + Partners has launched a chair with a tall enveloping form, to offer privacy to people working in busy spaces.

Manufactured by Italian brand Poltrona Frau, the Cove chair is intended to function as a mini office. Its generously curved form incorporates a wide, comfortable seat, an integrated USB charging point, an optional mains power supply, and a table, which can be used as an informal desk.

Foster + Partners design a chair to facilitate focus work in public spaces

The chair was unveiled for at airport conference Passenger Terminal Expo in Stockholm last week. Foster + Partners sees it being installed in clusters in public spaces, such as airport lounges or building receptions.

According to the architecture firm, its circular form was the result of studies into the different ways in which people can be found adapting existing lounge furniture.

Foster + Partners design a chair to facilitate focus work in public spaces

The ribs of cushion at the back of the chair extend in places to form ridges, which can be used as armrests, and the inner and outer surfaces can be customised in a variety of leathers and fabrics.

The seat is set to one side, allowing users to sit comfortably at the desk while using a laptop or rest their elbows on the sides while reading a book or a tablet.

"The design explores the spatiality of personal space, expanding the notion of a simple chair in terms of function and materiality," said Mike Holland, head of industrial design at Foster + Partners. "Its compact form carves out a generous volume that provides a secluded space to eat, work or relax."

Foster + Partners design a chair to facilitate focus work in public spaces

Numerous studies and surveys have shown that lack of private space in office interiors is constraining the creativity and productivity of workers. A recent white paper by furniture brand Haworth states that, on average, office workers lose 28 per cent of their productive time due to interruptions and distractions at work.

Other designers tackling the issue include Brussels-based designer Alain Gilles, who created a sound-absorbing screen to shield workers from office noise, while Dutch brand De Vorm's combined lamp and desk partition was designed to bring privacy to crowded open offices.

The research concluded that, in order for employees to achieve focus, companies need to consider adding small, conveniently located and unassigned "focus" spaces, for employees to use for short periods when the need arises.

Foster + Partners design a chair to facilitate focus work in public spaces

Led by architect Norman Foster, Foster + Partners ranked at number nine on Dezeen Hot List 2017.

Although predominately focused on architecture, the firm also regularly produces furniture designs. Other recent examples include a chair for German brand Walter Knoll and a bathroom range for Spanish brand Porcelanosa.

Photography is by Aaron Hargreaves