Design Challenge Showcases a Post-Pandemic Workplace

Teknion Corp. announced the results of its first annual design challenge, focused on highlighting solutions to solve the problem of transforming the workplace to meet the new demands in a post-COVID environment. The competition invited designers, based in New York and New Jersey, the opportunity to share their creative ideas on where the future of the workplace lies, offering a fresh perspective on the challenges all designers are facing as they navigate this pandemic.

“As a design centered company, Teknion has built a legacy that is focused on listening and learning,” says Mary Beth Sullivan , regional vice president at Teknion. “We are students before teachers and always on the lookout for thoughtful and creative solutions.”

The challenge was centered around the notion that all designers are taking a step back, examining the way people work and the way humans interact with each other in the workplace. Through the lens of the pandemic, shifting culture and perspective, the competition posed one question: How must the office rise to the occasion of the future of work demands? Seeking to increase creativity and innovation, the design parameters were limited, allowing designers to decide what space types were most important to focus on in response to the challenge presented. The parameter stated that participants can utilize any medium that they feel best expresses the design, such as mood boards, concept imagery, diagrams, plans, sections, elevations, and renderings.

The executive panel of judges included Sandra Tripp, managing director of Huntsman Architectural Group’s New York office; Charles Petretti, president, Charles J. Petretti + Associates LLC (Former VP of store planning and construction, Christian Dior Couture); and Laura Fowler, project manager at Ware Malcomb. After careful deliberation, the judges chose one first place winner, as well as a second and third place winner. Laura Leung, a designer at Ennead Architects, was selected as the first place winner with her project titled, “The Future of Offices after COVID: A World Where Employer and Employee Incentives are Aligned.” Laura’s winning concept utilized furniture pieces that fuel collaboration and creativity, while also supporting social interaction. Laura also integrated pieces that pursue the promotion of mental and physical well-being and supportive ergonomics to help build a level of safety and desire to come back to the workplace.

“The opportunity to use real-time experience, data and research and combine it with real products from Teknion to fully encapsulate this moment in time with my own perspective felt like I was completing a full train of thought – one that has us all thinking, wondering, and quite possibly worrying about the future of the workplace,” says winner Laura Leung. “Moving forward and planning for the future post-COVID work-life, we must take what we’ve learned during this experience and keep revisiting what it means to have a quality work-life.”

Keri Hart, designer at ENV, placed in second with her submission, “Nature & Variety”, which highlighted the use of green walls for a natural social distancing solution. Annie Portner, designer at HLW New York, placed in third with, “Out of the Woodwork”, a contemporary framework for adaptable workspaces.

The first place winning design will be featured in the Teknion New York Showroom within the coming months, which will be built with partnering workplace furniture dealership, FCi. Teknion seeks to continue this annual competition for years to come. Read additional information on the design challenge and to stay updated on next year’s competition.

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