There are many reasons why you should furnish your office with one or more sofas, but the most important one has a deeper meaning because it belongs to our human side and represents life and social interaction.
We need a sofa to make our working life more comfortable, but also for meeting and putting guests at ease, for conversing and socialising with colleagues, for sleeping and taking a short regenerative break.
Beyond its basic function, the sofa interprets and expresses the style, character and culture of a company.
On average, a third of our day is spent at work, which could be less demanding if the office was well designed, with spaces conceived for personal comfort. Therefore it’s in the company’s best interest to recreate a relaxation area inside the office that stimulates ideas and creativity, with a welcoming and comfortable touch that reminds us of home.
The office, especially if large, is actually represented by various sub-areas with specific functions: from meeting rooms to reception, from transit areas to production areas. If the “vocation” of each space is clear, it can become easier to define the type, shape and material of the ideal sofa.
Looking for the ideal sofa? Relax
Ergonomics is the key factor to consider when choosing a sofa for a relaxation area, but not only: the function of the sofa is typically that of a “landing place” ideal for breaks that help you rest during your working day. A pair of generous armrests and a soft, enveloping seat are essential features. For a total comfort experience, you can choose from a selection of models that incorporate criss-cross elastic straps under the cushion.
A traditional sofa can enhance the feeling of tranquillity while maintaining an aura of professionalism, which is ideal if the environment is formal, serious and executive. The sofa can become a real living room, an even more important piece of furniture, if it’s accompanied by benches and armchairs. In this context, the preferred coverings are leather, artificial leather and velvet. The leather’s surface, which represents the most commonly used material in furniture, is called “grain” and “first grain”. It’s the most compact and resistant part and must hold at the stitching points and resist pressure and rubbing.
Necessities change in open-spaces and busy environments.
Here it’s necessary to circumscribe spaces, creating small meeting and privacy oases. Sofas with a high backrest are ideal, but the best solution for effective visual and acoustic separation are sofas with insulating panels. The latest generation of insulating panels have a certified soundproofing effect and are aesthetically very elegant thanks to their refined design. They have become an indispensable element in office design.
Stand By Sofa Emmegi, design Favaretto and Partners
…or adapting to space
If you are trying to encourage interaction and the exchange of ideas, necessities might be completely opposite. You might want to set up, for example, next to the workstations, a dynamic space for brain storming or an informal meeting. Composing linear, curved or compact customised configurations are perfect cases for modular sofas, which become even more “smart” if they are integrated with connection sockets.
Alplus System Sofa, design Marco Zito
When the inflow of visitors becomes intense, another key factor comes into play: durability. Hallways, waiting rooms or recreational environments require quality sofas designed to withstand the incessant product tension caused by people and at the same time be flexible.
Quality comes from the materials that make up the internal frame. Check for a sturdy shell, an internal steel frame structure and an easily washable upholstery in faux leather or stain-resistant fabric.
Made up of the seat and backrest cushions, it must guarantee the right balance of softness and resistance to compression: stiffer for the seats because it supports the weight of the person, softer for the backrests whose function is only that of support.
Non-deformable polyurethane foam
It has an internal honeycomb structure with open, thin cells: it’s able to guarantee lightness, excellent mechanical qualities and breathability. Density is considered good when it is at least around 35 kg/sq.m., but it’s not, as you might think, proportional to stiffness or softness, which instead depend on the chemical composition of the material.
Density is a value that has to be considered in relation to product performance, which improves and increases as this value increases.
It’s advisable to always choose a padding that is stiffer than you would like because, as with other materials, after the first few uses, it’s normal to notice a slight loosening due to the breaking of micro-slits.
Appearances? They count
The key requirement for all sofa types is design combined with quality materials. Aesthetics become even more strategic in “open to the public” environments, such as reception areas and waiting rooms, where the sofa becomes a business card and an element of corporate identity. It’s therefore essential and important that business partners and customers are welcomed in a professional manner, can sit on a comfortable, attractive sofa and perceive an inviting atmosphere.
Stand By Sofa Emmegi, design Favaretto and Partners
We’ve saved them for last, but it goes without saying that beauty and design are a must for any office sofa.