If you’re in the market for chairs for your office, whether they’re ergonomic desk chairs, sturdy conference chairs or waiting room seating, deciding to buy used is a smart move. Not only will you pay less money, but you’ll also be helping the environment out, too, by ensuring that quality furniture doesn’t end up in a landfill.
Before running out to your nearest thrift shop or cruising Craigslist, you’ll want to make sure you can separate the good from the bad from the ugly. Keep in mind that if you shop from a used office furniture retailer like Arnolds, we’ll have done some of the legwork for you by repairing and refurbishing pieces that need a little TLC (and you’ll still save up to 70 percent over buying new).
Here’s what to keep an eye out for when shopping used to ensure you snag the best pieces for your money:
Good bones: If you come across chairs with ugly, stained, tired and/or dated fabric but that is structurally sound and well-constructed, then it could be worth your while to give it a little facelift with some new upholstery. However, keep in mind that there’s no need to dress up a dud. If the chair is otherwise cheaply constructed, don’t bother spending more to spruce it up.
Rips or stains: Most used furniture will have signs of wear (you can’t expect perfection), but you want to make sure any tears or stains can either be repaired, cleaned or aren’t in obvious spots. Like we mentioned earlier, if it’s a high-quality piece underneath some tired fabric, it might be worth your while to reupholster it.
Sturdiness: Before buying, sit down in the chair to make sure that it’s both comfortable and solid. Skip chairs that are rickety, have adjustments that aren’t functioning or have broken arm rests (or arm rests with overly worn padding). If it’s a high-quality chair with a broken part, it might be worth your while to see if you can order replacement parts to repair it.
Brand: A used chair from a big box store doesn’t have the same value as a used chair from a well-known, well-respected furniture maker. The great part about buying used is that you can probably afford the name brand pieces (think Steelcase, Herman Miller and Haworth) that you might not have had the budget to buy new. Even used these pieces retain their value because they’re built to last and have timeless style.
Comfort: The nice thing about buying used is that the chair is already broken in. Of course, on the flipside, it could be a little too broken in. You’ll want to make sure that the foam is still firm enough to support you comfortably rather than leave you sitting on a hard-as-rocks base.
Smell: While this shouldn’t be an issue for most office furniture you purchase, it’s worth it to take a whiff before buying. It can be almost impossible to get the smell of smoke out of upholstery (just ask any used car salesman), not to mention pet odors (should you be buying a piece someone used at home).
Start shopping for high-quality used office chairs at Arnolds.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
If you’re getting ready to update your office furniture and need to figure out what to do with the old stuff, you have plenty of options.
Sure, you could donate it, sell it or trash it (although we don’t encourage that last option), but why not boost your office morale and use it to make go-karts instead?
The borough council for a town near London recently donated old desks to Third Sector Potential, a social enterprise company, which converted them into go-karts. Local children were then invited to decorate the go-karts and race them as part of a weekend event earlier this month.
As connoisseurs of used office furniture, we loved this idea.
Obviously, if your desks, chairs, shelves, etc. are clean and in good shape, it’s smarter (and less wasteful) to find new homes for them. But if you have some seriously outdated, falling-apart pieces circa “Working Girl,” then why not use them for a little team-building exercise turned friendly competition? Just divide your employees into groups, hand them your castoffs to turn into rubber-burning speed machines (or at least hilarious, rickety conveyances). Once their vehicles are complete, head into the parking lot to race them (or stage an office furniture demolition derby).
Award prizes for different categories like most inventive use of materials, best decorated, fastest, most durable, most team spirit and best costume (for the driver, of course). Watch as the camaraderie blossoms.
While there’s no word yet on which desk-turned-race car grabbed the checkered flag at the London desk races, we found that those quirky Brits aren’t the only ones recycling their office furniture in this fashion.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Remember that day when you donned a cap and gown, grabbed your diploma and ran off into the sunset, thrilled that you would never again have to experience the hell that is finding the right table in your high school cafeteria?
No more worrying about whether there would be enough room for you at the cool table or if you’d get stuck sitting with the chronic nose-pickers, food throwers or uber-nerds who preferred doing calculus homework to talking about who they were asking to prom over a sandwich and some homemade cookies.
Well, we’re sorry to be the ones to tell you this, but life in an office ain’t all that much different from life in a high school (minus the prom and calculus homework, of course). There are still group projects where everyone is expected to contribute, even the surliest and least sociable colleagues. There’s still gossip, except now instead of “who dumped who” it’s “who got unfairly promoted this time.”
And there’s still that dreaded moment when you enter the office break room and have to find a place to sit, hopefully far enough away from the guy in accounting who always brings leftover fish and close enough to the window that you can enjoy the view of the duck pond outside the office.
If you’re looking for ways to boost your employee’s morale, improve interpersonal relationships, and ensure that someone’s professional experience is better then their high school experience, then head to one often-overlooked spot in your office: The break room.
We’ve rounded up seven ways to make every lunch table in your office the cool table. Here’s what to do:
1. Offer a variety: From longer tables that can accommodate larger groups to smaller tables that seat two to four employees, it’s wise to offer a few different sized seating options. That way if someone prefers to spend their lunch break reading a good book, they can pick a small table in a quiet portion of the room and not have to worry about appearing rude to a more boisterous group. And on the flip side, if an employee would rather eat with someone, it’s easier for them to grab an open seat with a group at a larger table; this sort of interaction can even help improve relationships between different departments. In addition to different sizes, consider trying different shapes, or even throwing in some bar-like seating around the perimeter.
2. Put tables outside: Experts are routinely touting the importance natural light in the workplace; it’s said to boost morale and productivity. Of course, not everyone can get their own window seat, so it’s nice to offer options that allow all employees to get a little closer to nature at some point during the day. What better than a picnic lunch on a sunny day to rejuvenate this most disenchanted of co-workers?
3. Keep them clean: Nobody wants to eat at a table that’s covered in unidentifiable sticky substances and crumbs. Make sure to purchase lunch tables that are sturdy and easy to clean, and then encourage employees to tidy up after themselves by leaving paper towels and/or sanitizing wipes in an easy-to-find spot.
4. Redecorate: Want more people to take a seat at your lunch tables? Make sure the room they’re in is inviting. Ditch the drab, white cinderblock walls and fluorescent overhead lighting in favor of a more fun (and less sterile) vibe. Paint the walls a happy color, hang up artwork, add a bulletin board that invites employees to share information, use fun lighting fixtures, and throw in a couch and area rug. Make the room look less like an office and more like the neighborhood cafe and everyone will use it more (especially if you throw in a little table tennis or foosball).
5. Leave your devices behind: While technology makes communicating more efficient (send an e-mail here, shoot off a text there, IM in between), it’s not always the ideal choice when trying to nurture interpersonal relationships. Lunch breaks are the perfect time to leave your smartphones, tablets and laptops at your desk and get some actual face time with your colleagues. Catch up about kids, movies, books or troubleshoot work-related projects, whatever you want to talk about, but just do it in person at the lunch table, not over your phone.
6. Invite the boss: This might seem akin to inviting your teacher to sit with you, but actually having lunch with your boss from time to time can help improve your working relationship. The next time you see your supervisor sitting by herself in the break room, ask to sit with her. And rather than pepper her with questions about your latest project, ask her about her life like family, kids, hobbies, etc. Getting to know her on a more personal level might give you a little bit more empathy for her, which you’ll need especially when she asks you to work a shift next Saturday.
7. Don’t eat at your desk: One way to ensure you’ll never eat at the cool table is to never enter the break room to begin with. Sure, we know you’re swamped and feeling antisocial, but crunching on potato chips at your desk will only annoy your coworkers and make a mess of your keyboard. Taking a few minutes to recharge midday and think about something other than the massive pile of things you need to accomplish by 5 o’clock might actually help you work more efficiently and effectively. In our opinion, that is pretty darn smart (but you know, in a cool way, not a solving calculus problems for fun sort of way).
Shop for affordable lunch tables for your office at Arnolds.
Photo courtesy of misteraitch/FlickrVisit Susan Jennings on Google+
Office furniture, especially the desk, often reflects the personality of the person sitting behind it as well as the values of the company. It’s important to put some thought into what you purchase. While buying a used desk can save you some serious cash, it can also deter customers, clients and investors, especially if it makes too bold a statement.
We rounded up some of the most ridiculous desks money can buy and offered some classier alternatives in hopes of saving you from embarrassing furniture situations.
1. Dragon Desk
Now, we’re not saying that this antique desk from the Far East isn’t beautiful. The intricate carvings and flower details are the work of a true craftsman. However, the desk has such a strong, specific aesthetic that it’s hard to picture in just anyone’s home or office (unless of course it’s in the home of an Asian scholar or the office of an antiques dealer). Plus, considering the desk legs are carved dragons with outstretched wings, we’re pretty sure your coworkers might think you’re playing a little too much Dungeons and Dragons on your off time. If it’s an antique desk you’re shopping for, opt for something with a little less embellishment, but still heavy on style, like this gorgeous Kittinger Partners Desk.
With all the news about how a sedentary lifestyle shortens your life expectancy, treadmill desks are growing in popularity. But they’re not necessarily the most attractive pieces of furniture. When you take away the treadmill part of the desk, all you’re left with is just a strange looking piece of furniture that vaguely resembles a piece of exercise equipment. That’s what we think of this wood-and-glass piece. Sure it’s sleek and modern, but don’t tell us we didn’t warn you when it starts tabulating how many calories you’ve burned while filling out expense reports. Instead of buying this odd little desk, why not get an actual treadmill desk? You’ll show clients you lead an active lifestyle and burn actual calories at the same time.
3. Lady’s Desk
Secretary’s desks are old classics that you can find in abundance on eBay or Craigslist. While they’re nice pieces for your home, they don’t exactly scream working professional. Especially when the dashboard of your desk features a mirror. It might be handy for knowing whenever anybody is sneaking up behind you (so you boss won’t catch you playing Words With Friends again) or for checking to see if you have lipstick on your teeth, but it looks more suited for the lady of the house who has to plan a weekend garden party than a successful professional. If you’re hoping to project a little more authority, but still like the classic appeal of a secretary’s desk, try this Kimball desk and credenza featuring beveled glass doors.
The person selling this one-of-a-kind-for-good-reason 1970 Chevy Nova Car Desk says it’s magnificent, unique and very rare. Well, that’s one way to describe it. Maybe it’s the fact that the car is lime green or maybe it’s the giant pinup logo lying across the hood, but we definitely wouldn’t describe it as professional. We know people like to make style statements with their offices, but we’re a bit concerned about the type of statement you might be making. Like that maybe you’re the type to hold after-hours drag races in the parking lot or that you spend your weekends watching “The Fast and the Furious.” If cars are your passion, perhaps you should opt for something a little more subtle (or at least a little classier) like this desk that features actual moving gears or the futuristic Luna Desk.
This bare-bones rustic desk looks sturdy enough, which is important for furniture (you don’t want something to fall apart minutes after buying it, after all). But it also looks as if it might belong at a construction site, alerting construction workers and other passersby to watch out for falling cinder blocks or cranes swinging giant metal beams. Instead of purchasing a desk that appears to have been made with scraps of wood leftover from a weekend project, look for something that’s simple and functional, but still clean and professional, like this basic cherry desk.
This aquarium desk is a conversation piece, we’ll give it that, and it’s nice to provide a habitat for some of Earth’s most beautiful creatures. But then we have to get practical. Aquariums aren’t exactly low maintenance they require gurgling filters, algae removal, fish feeding and carcass removal (hey, fish don’t live forever!) and who wants to add all of those chores to your already busy day? If you want to keep a little aquatic friend at work, try opting for a smaller option like this Mini USB Desk Aquarium.
Shop for high-quality used desks at Arnolds.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
If you’ve ever wanted to work like a Canadian prime minister (or at least work behind the desk of a Canadian prime minister) here’s your chance.
A set of office furniture owned by the charismatic Canadian politician Pierre Elliott Trudeau is up for auction at the Heffel Fine Art Auction House. The desk, shelf cabinet and office drawer were commissioned from award-winning Portuguese designer Alexandra Champalimaud specifically for Trudeau and are valued at an estimated $4,000 to $6,000.
For those of you not up on your Canadian history, Trudeau served as prime minister from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.
As the head of the Liberal Party, Trudeau advocated for making Canada a “Just Society,” defending the newly implemented universal health care and regional development programs as well as expanding the welfare state. He was also behind the implementation of bilingualism, which required that all federal programs be offered in both English and French.
Another claim to fame: He was the first world leader to meet with John Lennon and Yoko Ono on their tour for world peace. Lennon described Trudeau as a beautiful person and said “if all politicians were like Pierre Trudeau, there would be world peace.” He even has an airport named after him.
Just what does a John Lennon-endorsed, “Trudeaumania”-inspiring politician/lawyer/writer work at?
The pieces are made of maple burl wood, veneer, marble and bronze and are both modern and clean. The marble-topped desk is large at 29 1/4-by-88 1/2-by-48 1/2 inches, with rounded pedestals supporting the ends. The shelving unit consists of a maple burl wood base with cabinet storage and bronze and plexiglass shelves and the office drawers are five separate pieces that can be placed together or apart and complement the desk and shelves in both style and material.
With their sturdy design and contemporary style, these pieces belong in the office of someone who’s forward-thinking, innovative and a born leader.
Bidding closes Sept. 26, so there’s still time for you to own a piece of Canadian history (they were also used by Prime Minister Jean Chretien while he worked at Montreal law firm Heenan Blaikie). Proceeds from sale go to o The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which promotes outstanding research in the humanities and social sciences.
If you miss out, you can still find pieces that are similar to the late politician’s (that are probably more affordable) like this Kimball maple doublepedestal desk or this gorgeous burled wood Kittinger Partners Desk both available at Arnolds. There are also options on eBay, including this executive desk with storage credenza and bookshelf all in a maple veneer, this nature-inspired walnut and glass desk or this one-of-a-kind acacia wood slab desk with iron legs.
While they might not be clones of the Trudeau desk, they’re show stoppers fit for a prime minister (or someone trying to act like a prime minister).
Shop for more used desks on Arnolds.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
When it comes to the old new vs. used chairs debate, which one comes out the winner?
Well, we think victory is in the eye of the beholder.
Each option has their own set of advantages and disadvantages (which we list below), but in the end it all comes down to the priorities of the buyer. If affordability is your bottom line, then you can’t miss going used, especially since there are so many retailers like Arnolds that offer like-new or refurbished pieces from well-known manufacturers.
But if you like having more of a selection, the ability to customize your chairs and not having to worry about missing parts or broken pieces, then buying new is a better fit.
When it comes to other factors like ergonomics, buying either new or used could work. As long as seat adjustments can still be operated and the seat and/or cushion is still comfortable and supportive, you can find great deals on ergonomic chairs as well by going used. Of course, maybe you’d prefer not to have spend time sitting on each and every chair candidate to test these things out before you purchase it, in which case buying new might be less of a pain in the neck.
If you’re still on the fence about whether to buy new or used, read on. Here’s what you need to know:
Cheaper: This is perhaps the number one reason to buy used instead of new. Businesses and individuals can save significant amounts of money on used chairs, up to 70 percent or more off the list price of a new chair, which adds up to a lot of cash, especially if you’re a startup with limited funds or trying to outfit a large office. Keep in mind that in some cases that’s 70 percent off of high-quality, name brand chairs. Just because you’re pinching pennies doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style, or comfort for that matter.
Faster: If you’re hoping to furnish your office in a hurry, then used furniture that you can purchase and take home from the store on the same day is your best bet.
Greener: Did you know that, according to the EPA, 9 million tons of usable office equipment ends up in the landfill annually? You can do your part to stop needless waste by purchasing used chairs. What’s more, you’re helping lower the demand for new furniture, which uses natural resources and energy to produce.
Healthier: Used chairs are not only healthier for the environment, they could be healthier for your office. You know that new headache and nausea-inducing new furniture smell? That’s actually the slow release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in things like finishes, adhesives and upholstery in new office furniture. Over time, these VOCs off gas and the furniture is safer to use. The advantage of used furniture is that it’s already gone through this process by the time it reaches your office, unlike new furniture.
Damaged: From missing wheels to broken armrests, your used chair could have a flaw or two. Make sure to fully inspect whatever piece you’re purchasing to make sure that any damaged pieces are at least fixable and that missing parts are replaceable. If you want to buy used but don’t feel like making repairs, look for retailers that sell refurbished furniture.
Worn in: Even if the chair isn’t technically broken in anyway, chances are it will be more “lived in.” This means the seat cushions might not be as firm or the armrests could be more dinged up from years of scrapping the undersides of desks or the upholstery can be threadbare in places. Again, some used furniture retailers offer refurbished pieces that address these problems, or you can try to freshen them up yourself.
Harder to match: If you’re trying to furnish a whole office, you might have a more difficult time finding matching chairs or chairs that fit your office aesthetic when shopping used versus new.
Brand new: Who doesn’t like shiny new, unbroken, immaculate things? The best part about buying new is that you are the first person to use the furniture, which means you get all the advantages of firm cushions, functional adjusters and fabric unstained by spilt coffee.
Bigger selection: When you buy used, you’re at the mercy of whatever’s listed on Craigslist, in classifieds or at your nearest retailer. While chances are, you’ll still find a pretty good selection, you might not find pieces that totally match your needs aesthetically or ergonomically. But the sky’s the limit when you’re buying new.
Easy to buy en masse: If you’re trying to furnish a large office, you’ll need a lot of furniture, and we imagine you’d prefer that furniture to match. If you shop used, you could end settling for pieces that look similar, but don’t match or even pieces that don’t go together at all. Buy used, and you’ll be able to order the number you need from the manufacturer without worrying about whether there will be enough of a certain model.
More expensive: If you’re shopping for high quality chairs that were built to last, you’ll pay a premium for them, especially when you’re buying new. A brand new Humanscale Freedom Task Chair can retail for more than $1,335 (used at Arnolds is just $325). While you might be able to justify dropping that amount for a few chairs in a small office, it can get expensive fast if you’re a larger business.
Lag time for orders: Depending on how much furniture you’re purchasing and where you’re purchasing it, there can be a lag time between the time that you order the furniture and when it’s actually delivered to your office. This can be weeks or even months, which should be a big consideration for companies who are growing quickly. When buying used, you already know what’s in stock and you can most likely have it in your office the same day you bought it.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Legend has it that before going to battle, King Arthur would gather with his knights around a round table, the shape of which prevented any of the king’s barons from claiming authority over another. The round table also provided a sense of purpose, fellowship and belonging to an entity that was larger than the sum of its pieces.
Fast forward almost a millennia and it could be said that modern businesses have the same goal for their employees (well, minus the whole riding off on Biblical crusades part): To have stakes in a venture that is both meaningful and larger than yourself. How can a company apply Arthurian legends to their offices? Well, let’s do what King Arthur did and start with that conference room table, the place where decision makers, stakeholders and innovators gather to share ideas and information and plan for the future.
Your round table doesn’t even necessarily have to be round, either (psychologists have found that there are ways to create so-called power seats at a table no matter what shape it is). Other options include rectangular, racetrack, boat-shaped, U-shaped, figure eight or a custom shape. It definitely doesn’t have to be made of wood as Arthur’s might have been; it could be glass, stone, laminate or, heck, even made of LEGO (see below!). No matter what shape it is or what material it’s made of, the table should be the right fit for your business and its goals.
To help pave the way for a successful future, your conference table should accomplish the following jobs:
1. Include: One of the most important functions of a conference table is to offer a seat for everyone attending a meeting. That said, when shopping for one, you need to make sure it’s big enough to fit the number of people who will be using it regularly, while also fitting in the room proportionally. When everyone has a seat at the table, the feelings of inclusion and being part of the team will result in more inventive thinking and problem-solving and better overall office morale then if people are left standing on the outskirts.
2. Comfort: Meetings can be tedious and long, so you want to make sure that those in attendance are comfortable. The right conference room for your business will not only be large enough to accommodate large groups, but also give each person a little breathing room. There are some basic recommendations when it comes to how much space each person needs. At minimum, the space is the width of the chair around the table (anywhere 24″ to 30″ wide). Of course, as anyone who has ever sat in a coach on an airplane knows, this isn’t a lot of space and isn’t very comfortable. Ideally, each person has 36″ of space at the table, and up to 42″ for meetings where attendees need more space (to spread out paperwork, laptops, etc.). To figure out what size table you need, simply estimate the maximum amount of people that will regularly sit at the table and multiply that by the amount of space you want to provide each of them.
3. Inform: Office furniture does more than just provide places for people to accomplish tasks. It can also offer clients, job recruits, investors and other visitors insight into the type of company you are. For instance, an open office filled with casual meeting spaces and bright pops of color might indicate a more creative, carefree work environment compared with a law office that opts for closed offices, muted colors and traditional wood furniture. This concept is especially important for your conference room, which is often the site of important meetings with decision makers and customers. Selecting an attractive table that speaks to your company’s aesthetic will give people a peek at your business’ story. In addition, the shape of the table also serves a function. Oblong tables with definitive heads where meeting leaders, managers or executives sit tell people who’s in charge, whereas round, square or octagonal tables offer a more democratic and informal vibe.
4. Integrate: It’s rare to have a meeting these days that doesn’t have some digital presence, whether colleagues are taking notes on their iPads or the sales manager is sharing a PowerPoint presentation. A conference room should not only serve as a place for people to set down their various devices, but also as place where those devices can be powered and other AV equipment can be docked readily. This will free up the floor of hazardous and messy-looking cables and wires and allow the meeting to proceed seamlessly.
5. Inspire: The design of the table not only tells people a little bit about your company, but truly unique, beautiful or innovative tables can also inspire or energize the people sitting around the table. Take this table made out of Legos, or this one with swings for chairs or this one that uses bicycle wheels for legs. Do you think your gray-laminate-topped table will get your employees thinking in new and creative ways the same way these outside-of-the-box designs would?
Start shopping for the perfect table for your business at Arnolds Office Furniture.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Shopping for used cubicles instead of brand new is a smart move; not only can it save you money, but it’s also better for the environment. They’re the ideal solution for small businesses, new businesses with limited funds or businesses that needs a temporary furniture solution and you can often find high-quality, name-brand pieces to suit your style.
But buyer beware. Before laying down any amount of money for furniture (even if it’s the best deal ever), you need to ensure that the furniture isn’t damaged beyond repair and that it accommodates your needs.
Don’t end up with a dud, so use this handy checklist that includes six things that every used used cubicle needs:
1. Good design: For employees, clients and job recruits, aesthetics are important and an attractive, clean office sends a message that you run a high quality business. When shopping for used cubicles and workstations, look for pieces that have a more timeless, classic appeal, which offers more long-term value and is easier to find complementing pieces for as your business grows, and that will look attractive in your office. Don’t forget to measure you’re office space before shopping to ensure that whatever you find will fit in the space.
2. Flexibility: Chances are, if you’re buying used cubicles, you might be a smaller company or startup with a tight budget. Ideally your business will grow over time, which means you want to look for pieces that are easy to move and reconfigure and so that they will grow along with your company.
3. Quality: Everyone loves a bargain, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice quality. Make sure the pieces you purchase are clean and well maintained. Avoid workstations with large or obvious stains, dents, tears or broken pieces. Remember, reputable used furniture retailer like Arnolds will often clean and refurbish desks, chairs and other pieces before selling them.
4. Connectivity: Technology has become the heartbeat of business, so it’s important to shop for cubicles that can easily accommodate it. Workstations should have outlets where desktop computers or laptops, smartphones, tablets and task lighting can be plugged in easily as well as the ability to hide cords and cables.
5. Storage: Despite all that new digital technology, businesses do still generate paperwork that needs to be stored, not to mention that employees like having a place to stow their personal belongings during the workday. Shop for workstations that have drawers or cabinets, and make sure to test them out before buying if you can to ensure that they’re still functioning.
6. Parts: One of the risks of buying used cubicles on sites like Craigslist or via eBay is that when they’re left at your door and you go to assemble them, you’ll find that parts are missing. If possible, visit a showroom to ensure that the pieces can be properly assembled and that you’re going to have to search for missing connectors, cantilevers or rails.
Start shopping for at wide-selection of high quality, name brand used cubicles at Arnolds.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
Charles Pollock, the designer behind one of the most popular office chairs of the 20th century, died last month in a fire in the Queens, New York apartment he used as a studio. He was 83.
He’s best known for the Pollock executive office chair he designed for Knoll Studios in 1963, which features a single aluminum band running around the perimeter that holds the chair together both structurally and aesthetically. Pollock never sought the celebrity status of many of his colleagues and disappeared for decades after the early 80s. He resurfaced just last year when a North Carolina furniture maker tracked him down in hopes that he’d be interested in designing for them.
One of the forefathers of midcentury design, Pollock was known for comparing his pieces to luxury cars and women, according to Fastcodesign.com.
When the New York Times asked about the staying power of his Pollock Chair last year, he responded:
“Call it a personality. It’s like a woman who is beautiful when she’s 19 and beautiful when she’s 45. She might be older, but she’s still beautiful.”
Here we rounded up his best advice:
1. Build to sell: Pollock was pragmatic about his work; his goal for the chairs he created was that people would buy it and it would make a profit. Every designer has to be concerned about business. “Just like if you buy a brand-new Porsche and you just love that car and you get in and you want to drive it, I want people to love to sit in my chairs. You gotta want the people to buy it because they love it,” he told FastCo last year.
2. Keep it simple: Pollock appreciated simple design featuring continuous curved lines, according to Bernhardt Design. He wanted his pieces to be attractive, but also affordable and easy to assemble. While his pieces were technically advanced, they were straightforward enough to manufacture at a reasonable price.
3. Take your time: The famed Pollock chair, the second chair he created for celebrated designer Florence Knoll, took five years to perfect as Pollock tweaked the structure with each new prototype he created. Eventually, the chrome and leather executive chair became a mainstay in offices in the 1960s, according to the New York Times. It is still produced by Knoll today.
4. Design for the soul: Despite the fact that he never really stopped creating, Pollock fell off the radar after 1982 when he released his Penelope chair for Giulio Castelli, one of the first office chairs to include an ergonomic “knee lift,” according to the New York Times. But fame wasn’t a priority for him. He never worked for a major corporation and didn’t seek the same sort of name recognition that other celebrity designers went after. Creating things that were both beautiful and useful gave him a good feeling in his soul. He approached chair design the same way he approached sculpture, and coincidentally, the Pollock Chair has been on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louvre and The Smithsonian Institute
5. Don’t stop creating: After the release of the Penelope chair in 1982, nobody heard much about Pollock. But he was still busy creating, which is not surprising for a self-described workaholic who took his first job at the age of 15, working on the production line at Chrysler. Recently, Jerry Helling, head of North Carolina furniture maker Bernhardt Design, decided to track him down, thinking it would be amazing for the iconic designer to create something for Bernhardt. In 2012, Bernhardt released the CP Lounge Chair, a sleek, contoured design that’s earned favorable reviews and a Red Dot award from the international design competition. “To keep the edge, you just keep doing something new,” he told FastCo.Visit Susan Jennings on Google+
When outfitting your office space, you’ll probably be faced with the question of whether to purchase whiteboards or corkboards. We know your funds are limited, so we created a guide to outline the pros and cons of each as well as the smartest places to hang them. Take a look:
Best spots to hang them:
Conference rooms: Any time employees are gathering to brainstorm, a large writing surface is crucial. Whiteboards allow a notetaker to jot down ideas that are being thrown at him or her quickly and for all to see, which helps spur new ideas, make connections and organize thoughts.
Communal areas: Since more offices are opting to do away with small conference rooms in favor of informal meeting spaces throughout the office, it might be good to invest in some rolling whiteboards that can be wheeled over to where ever people are talking.
Desks: Including a small whiteboard at each workstation might solve your “Post-it Note left on a computer monitor” problem that flares up every time an employee is away from their desk for an extended period of time. Instead of wasting paper, co-workers can jot notes to their colleagues on the whiteboard, just like they did in their college dorm room, although let’s hope their office reminders aren’t about the kegger at Delta Chi.
Hallways: Some businesses, including most famously Facebook, have turned entire hallways and walls into whiteboards so that employees can brainstorm and share ideas and inspiration anywhere. While this look might not fly in more button down fields like law offices or insurance agencies, in offices where creativity is king, they’re a must-have.
Easy to clean: Unlike chalkboards that are perpetually dusty and corkboards that require unpinning and repinning, whiteboards can be cleaned in seconds with just an eraser or a cleaning solution and cloth.
Magnetized: If you’re looking for a whiteboard to pull double-duty, that is for writing on and for posting information, you can find models that are magnetized.
Multi-purpose: With more and more meetings relying on Powerpoint or videoconferencing, whiteboards serve a whole other purpose that doesn’t involve writing; namely, acting as a clean surface for projecting presentations and videos on.
Less permanent: Like we said earlier, whiteboards are easy to clean which is a pro and a con, especially when someone decides to clean the board before you’re done transposing the ideas and notes that came out of that three-hour creative planning meeting you had yesterday or when your shirtsleeve sweeps off portions of your presentation.
Stain easily: If words or drawings have been left on a whiteboard for too long, or if you accidentally use a permanent marker, the board can stain or have ghosted images on it even after you’ve used a dry eraser. To get rid of these shadows or impressions of messages past, you’ll need some sort of cleaning solution (everything from rubbing alcohol to nail polish remover to toothpaste has been suggested) to remove the stain and after that you’ll need to begin cleaning the board at least weekly.
Markers: There are some out there who like the chemical smell and potential contact high of dry erase markers (you know who you are) but plenty of others who are not big fans. The headache-inducing smell, propensity to dry up just when you need them and that goosebump-inducing squeaky noise they make when someone is writing really fast all make for a less-than-ideal experience. Plus, who likes having to clean that black residue off your hands and clothes after using them?
Break rooms: The break room is an ideal spot for a corkboard; employees can use it to store menus from area restaurants as well as hang up announcements that don’t necessarily have to be work-related like flyers for their upcoming garage sale, sign-up sheets for the company 5K or order forms for their kids’ latest school fundraiser. This is also a good spot to hang any signage that employers are legally obligated to display like information on job safety and health, the fair labor standards act and information about equal opportunity employment.
Hallways: Hallways are another smart place to hang corkboards. Heavily used corridors offer a place to showcase company success stories, highlight standout employees and offer insight into the company’s history and vision for the future for both employees and clients to view. They can also be hung in the hallways near different departments and be used to share information and updates about that department. A corkboard outside human resources, for instance, would be ideal for reminding employees about the deadline for insurance forms, sharing healthy living tips and offering updates about the employee picnic.
Desks: Help employees stay organized and on top of projects by including a small corkboard at each workstation. They offer employees easy access to frequently used phone numbers or computer codes, are a good spot for hanging reminders about deadlines or invoices that need to be processed, as well as a nice place to hang something inspirational like a fortune cookie fortune or a drawing their kid made at school.
Customizable: Corkboards come in a variety of sizes (and sheets of corkboard can be cut to any size or shape), so it’s pretty easy to use them for different jobs throughout the office. Aesthetically, they’re a snap to paint, embellish, cover and personalize to reflect your office’s aesthetic and organization needs. Don’t like the boring wood frame? Grab a can of spray paint. Think the cork itself looks a little dull? Cover it with wrapping paper, wallpaper or fabric (an especially good tip for companies who do more creative work). Plus, if you want to assign different duties for each section of the board, you can divide it up using tape, ribbon or paint.
Easy to use: Corkboards inspired a whole website (Pinterest) because they offer a simple, straight-forward way to organize and display things that are inspirational or useful to you. All you need is a tack. Rather than filing things away and forgetting about them, corkboards keep important information at your fingertips.
Soundproof: Cork is a natural sound dampener; it’s often used in recording studios and theaters to help improve the acoustics, and it would definitely be useful in today’s noisy open offices. Covering office walls in cork can help reduce the noise inside a room as well as lower the level of noise going room to room (and it’s a natural insulator so it can help with your energy bills as well).
Less spontaneous: While corkboards are great for displaying information used every day, they’re not ideal for quick brainstorming sessions when you want to be able to post things quickly for all to see. Tacking up Post-its or other pieces of paper just doesn’t have the same affect as writing it down.
Cluttered: For those prone to clutter, corkboards can be a disaster simply transferring messy paperwork from a desk to a wall. They need to be cleaned and organized periodically in order to ensure that they’re not just a clearinghouse for all that uncategorizable stuff that hits your desk every day.
Tacks: If you’ve ever stepped on one you know that tacks aren’t the kindest to the feet or hands they impale from time to time. Plus, they’re small and easy to lose, which means you’ll constantly be stocking them at your office.
Photo courtesy of michelleho/Stock.Xchng