New Haworth seating and desking benching at NeoCon

June 10, 2011
| By Pete Daly |
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More than 10 new products will be introduced by Haworth at NeoCon, including Very seating enhancements and a new desking and benching system called Reside, Beside and Belong, according to Haworth spokesperson Julie Smith.

Smith said more news will be forthcoming from Haworth at NeoCon, where the company also will celebrate recent news such as the June 3 announcement that it will have three products exclusively available for retail purchase at Crate and Barrel. The products will be in Crate and Barrel catalogs, on the website and at more than 100 retail stores in North America.

Raymond Arenson, executive vice president for merchandising and design for Crate and Barrel, noted that the Haworth products were previously only available on the commercial market. “Haworth’s products make a great addition to our portfolio,” he said.

The Crate and Barrel deal is “another measured step into the retail world” for Haworth, said Tom DeBoer, Haworth product manager, who added there is a trend of office and residential furniture coming together.

Ray Kennedy, director of North American marketing, said that in addition to the new product introductions at NeoCon, Haworth also has “re-invigorated our space this year with some architectural changes.”

When asked what changes he sees in the office furniture market this year, Kennedy said there is a small uptick in the economy, and some companies are in the process of re-hiring.

“Most of our customers are struggling with retaining and attracting new employees,” he said. The office furniture industry sees workplace furnishings as a key element in enhancing office-worker morale.

Technology is another major element that has impacted furnishings, with many companies seeking the addition of technology that will make their office workers more efficient, according to Kennedy. Furniture systems now must incorporate power and data cabling to maximize technology assets.

Much of the new product emphasis at Haworth’s NeoCon showroom will be Reside, Beside and Belong.

“Reside is the desk portion, Beside is the storage and Belong are accessories,” said Smith.

The three new products are additions to the Haworth Integrated Palette and expand the kit of parts, offering customers greater reconfiguration possibilities. The new desk line and storage platform were designed for use together or as stand-alone pieces.

Reside was created by Haworth Design Studio and Struppler Industriedesign of Munich, Germany, and is intended to offer the broadest desk platform available today, according to Haworth. It includes a number of desk shapes, structural choices, linking elements and extensions. These, combined with a wide selection of colors and materials, allow for a broad range of aesthetic possibilities, according to Haworth marketing.

Reside applications can be expanded with Beside Storage and Belong Accessories. Beside was designed by the Haworth Design Studio and can be used alone. Belong integrates with Beside Storage pieces as well as Reside desk pieces. When looking for non-panel-based applications, Beside Storage responds with a “visually interesting and highly efficient solution,” according to Haworth.

Belong Accessories include work tools, power access and screens.

Haworth marketing staff has determined that external trends that influenced development of Reside, Beside and Belong include “distributed work” and alternative workplaces. Office workers plan to increase their time working remotely by 50 percent over the next five years, according to Haworth. Increasing numbers of freelance, temporary and self-employed office workers will require accommodating fluctuations in the work force.

“Reside, Beside and Belong offer solutions for individual users, addressing their unique needs,” states the Haworth marketing material.

Changes in the economy mean shorter leases and less square footage per lease, further driving demand for flexible furniture plans.

One of Haworth’s most successful projects was the Very Task Chair, which entered the market last year. Part of the growing Very family of seating, the chair provides science-based ergonomics, personalized comfort, design and durability. Haworth received NeoCon Gold in Seating: Conference, and NeoCon Silver in Seating: Ergonomic Desk/Task for the Very Task chair.

Enhancements to Very seating include a stool, side arm, Tetro back and book rack, according to Smith.

The Very Task chair was designed by Michael Welsh and Nicolai Czumaj-Bront of the Haworth Design Studio. It is 98 percent recyclable and is included in Haworth’s Take Back Program.

Haworth had 2010 global sales of $1.21 billion, an increase of 9 percent over 2009. In North America, its sales are growing at more than twice the rate of the industry, as well as Asia and emerging markets, according to a company announcement. Northern Europe also experienced solid growth, though at a lesser rate.

“As the economy begins to recover, we are well positioned to continue gaining market share as our employees and dealers deliver exceptional value. Despite the economic challenges of the past two years, we are cautiously optimistic moving forward and excited that our strategy will lead to continued success,” said Franco Bianchi, Haworth president & CEO.

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