Surreal and social: Reimagining the post-Covid social spaces and collaborative furniture

15 Jun 2020
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Following the Covid-19 pandemic, collaborating and meeting in big groups still seems a bit surreal - as an idea beyond reality. However, as people are now gradually returning to their offices, how do we ensure that they are back to a safe workspace environment? Fatma ElFeki, interior designer at Dubai-based design studio Roar and Melia Abs, concept designer at OFIS, joined forces and worked together on selecting collaborative furniture from Sancal, Viccarbe and Bolia while imaging a perfect “khalina nsharek” or “let’s collaborate” workspace in a surreal setting.  

“We started looking at stackable furniture that is easy to move around so everyone can sit at a comfortable distance from their colleagues. The Viccarbe Quadra chairs are the perfect example of light-weight furniture that can be used in collaborative spaces,” explains Fatma.

Similarly, the recently launched Roll chairs by Sancal add on a quirky and playful touch to meeting spaces where users can move it around easily and sit in different positions- which is how this product is designed. And it’s also stackable. 

Another essential feature that needs to be incorporated when moving back to offices is using large meeting tables that allow for conversations and collaborations between team members while maintaining the required physical distancing.

“It is important to emphasize that ‘large’ is differentiated from bulky and ugly. A very well designed piece like Viccarbe’s Burin table is an example of an extremely functional, yet sophisticated product that allows for collaboration. Can’t wait to see this product installed in one of the commercial projects I have been recently working on with Roar,” adds Fatma.   

In terms of scale, Fatma explains that furniture is a crucial element that designers use to compose a well-balanced space.

“The Orb light by Bolia, for instance, can be used over the large Burin meeting table by Viccarbe to mark a meeting zone. Viccarbe’s Maarten stool is another example where the scale of the piece enforces a certain style of meeting or collaborating. Last but not least, the Next Stop range by Sancal has unique characteristics that invite its viewers to lounge or have a quick casual conversation. These can be used very well in breakout spaces throughout offices,” she says. 

Next

As for the mood board and colour palette, all of the above products that Fatma has selected come in a wide range of neutral and earthy tones. And since we are based in the UAE, both Fatma and Melia decided to go with beige tones, paying homage to the beautiful desert landscapes and the great outdoors of this region.

Once the products were selected, our concept designer Melia, reimagined them in a surreal social space that would allow us to stay connected, yet separated.

“My idea behind the GIF’s concept was to create a surrealist space in which you can feel both - inside a collaborative office space and outside in nature. It’s dreamy and surreal and one of the main reasons why I wanted to make such a strong connection to the outside surroundings and nature itself is because collaboration exists in nature from the beginning. Animals do collaborate all the time. Just look at the bees, wolfs, elephants… and biophilic design is at our hearts at OFIS.

We love when our furniture and flooring that are used in closed spaces can still help create that strong connection to the outdoors and nature.

Considering that we are living in a desert environment, we opted for colour tones that genuinely represent our nature here in Dubai.

For your daily does of inspiration, visit our Instagram account!

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