This story is not about a chair. It’s not about a four-legged table, a tall closet and a small closet either.
The appearance of our offices has dramatically changed over the years, as well as the way we make use of our workplace. We used to spend our 8-hour work days surrounded by huge computer screens and sturdy wall panels, but today’s office spaces are far more pleasant. We no longer have to settle for the bitter, stale coffee from the machine, but we order our lattes in the fancy coffee corner. We have become used to opening up our laptops whenever and wherever we choose to, instead of having to sit next to the same colleagues and having to tap our pencils against the edge of the same desk until the clock turns five.
But some things have stayed exactly the same. Even though the atmosphere of our workplace has undergone a great deal of change; the desks and chairs that fill our offices remained unaltered. And the reason for that is quite simple:
Designers are forced to follow the European standards that dictate the form and functionality of office furniture. These regulations have made the design process quite inflexible. And it has made the offer on hand limited.
Of course it’s possible to find more appealing furniture but most companies will have to work around a tight budget and will end up with cheap, wear-resistant furnishings that are rendered in unforgiving colours.
The architects of Space Encounters kept on stumbling upon this same issue. Each time they were ready to put the final touches on one of their newly designed office spaces, they were confronted with the same office chairs, tables and cubicle walls: stubbornly old-fashioned furniture that was determined to spoil the party. Add the usual picture frames, plants, folders and coffee mugs, and the original concept behind the interior is completely overshadowed.
The traditional office no longer exists and it’s time to let the furniture catch up. Our workplace deserves affordable solutions that comply with regulations and also manage to let the overall interior design shine.
An attempt to create more aesthetically pleasing furniture is not an option. It will either become unaffordable or will lead to impossible compromises. That is what made Space Encounters decide to shift the focus away from the furniture and onto other things, resulting in a process where they redefined office furniture by questioning what is truly essential about these designs.
The basic elements were on hand; the task was to choose between the already existing and certified components. By taking the European standards in consideration while trying to minimize their impact, Space Encounters assembled a line of archetypal furniture. Shaded in a muted grey tone that gives the designs the unique ability to completely blend in with its surroundings.
That is Boring Collection. Sober gray, no fuzz, no pretensions. The tagline: Because it’s not about furniture. It’s time to put everything else front and centre: the interior design, the view, that other great chair, the pictures on the wall, the people.
What really stands out about Boring Collection is how the designs manage to be anything but outstanding. Their true virtue and potential becomes apparent when the different products are arranged in a group. Together they make up a sober and quiet family of furniture that, despite being multiplied still manages to let the interior around them play the lead.
And let’s not forget: Boring is affordable, which means the budget will leave enough room to purchase that one beautiful design chair. You can be sure any iconic design will receive all the attention it deserves as long as it’s surrounded by Boring collection.
Boring is a deceivingly simple design that can inflict great change. It will bring an end to slow delivery times, because all the components of the collection are always on stock: that’s the great advantage of a design that is available only in grey. And following a design brief has never been this easy, since Boring furniture meets all of the requirements.
It sounds a little idealistic, but Boring is a way to make the world a better place. In short, Boring Collection will help create a more pleasant workplace experience. Our offices will no longer feel like the dreaded place where time has to pass as fast as it possibly can, but can instead turn into a breeding ground where new unexpected things materialize and where everything is possible. From nine till five, that is.
Every year, Lensvelt Contract Furniture invites a design company to present their project at the Salone del Mobile. Lensvelt usually focuses on an product design, but this year the design entrepreneur decided to present the concept of Boring Collection. Hans Lensvelt: This collection fits perfectly within our mission statement. We want to be ‘The Peoples Manufacturer’ by making high quality furniture available to a wider audience. In the process of selecting office furniture, every penny counts. Boring Collection is available on a tight budget and happens to also look good. No financial controller will be able to deny that. And that’s how this collection helps to create the ideal circumstances for professional interior designers.
Lensvelt recognizes the phenomenon of unappealing office furniture. ‘Designers tend to treat office furniture as objects, but that’s the wrong mentality. It’s often overly designed, with too much focus on form and detail. Those chairs and tables eventually have to become part of a bigger whole. Boring Collection can not only meet that demand but also happens to be the best alternative to the hideous office furniture we all know.’
Visual arts duo Lernert & Sander are in charge of the promotional film for Boring Collection. The two are well known for their unique campaigns for COS, Campari and SONY. Their unique style is best described as a perfect combination of aesthetics and a cheeky sense of humour that come together in simple but effective imagery.
Space Encounters invited Lernert & Sander to add an artistic element to the collection. Because if it’s not about furniture, everything else has to be perfect, including the advertising. ‘We can totally relate to the idea that furniture should not demand too much attention,’ Lernert Engelberts explains. ‘For this project, we worked with the most iconic gesture of boredom: the attempt to throw a ball of crumpled paper into the trashcan until the clock turns five. The office people steal the scene even though they are surrounded by the designs of Boring Collection. Just like the architects intended.’
Lensvelt Contract Furniture was on top of the list when Space Encounters were ready to find a partner in developing Boring Collection. Space Encounters’ Remi Versteeg: ‘We have been collaborating with Lensvelt for a long time now. According to us, they are the best and most dependable manufacturer out there. While we were developing Boring Collection, we met with a lot of issues that were mostly connected to either time or money that could have threatened the essence of our concept. This forced us to work closely together with the members of the Lensvelt team and to temporarily merge into one big company.’
Lensvelt: ‘We used to be Space Encounters’ supplier but we suddenly had to take on the role of client. For the first time, we had full access and we got to enjoy a peak behind the scenes. That’s where we learned a great deal. Developing this product together was an eye-opening experience for us.’ Versteeg adds: ‘Lensvelt had to deal with the typical architect: one that doesn’t take no for an answer. And we had the chance to get to know them better too: a tightly knit group of people that are completely dedicated to solving any problem they encounter.’