I recently visited the Coalesse showroom, which just opened in Chicago's Merchandise Mart. Coalesse is, among other things, about image and craft, partnering with iconic designers and brands, creating thoughtful pieces that would look appropriate for both office and home. More interestingly however is their approach to what constitutes an office in the first place.
When I first heard about Coalesse, I was under the impression that the target market for their products was the "home office". While the style certainly fits, the price tag is not what most would consider reasonable for their homes.
This was my misunderstanding, really. The brand is more about bringing the nature of the home office, with all of the comfort, accessibility and variation that entails, into the corporate office.
Incorporating home and family dynamics into the way offices are built challenges the traditional approach in a smart way. Executives today do not work in the same fashion that they did 50 years ago, yet many still feel that the corner office with the giant desk is representative of executives. In addition, employees are looking to work for companies that express alternative approaches to productivity.
The layout pictured above brings to mind a meeting with associates at a late-night diner (at the showroom, Denny's was mentioned). These types of meetings are rarely adversarial, are typically inspirational, and invite collaboration and communication. The Wishbone Chairs by Hans Wegner have a residential appeal yet have the fine craft and durability that is needed for commercial applications.
Coalesse has a foot planted in sustainability (who in their right mind doesn't these days?), but the real allure to the consumer is going to be the quality of materials, the attention to detail, and the company's approach to bringing the home into the office.
If you have a chance to visit the showroom, I recommend it. The space is nice, and they've partnered with MFA students from The School at the Art Institute to provide artwork as well.
I'd be interested to know what MoCo readers think of this notion of "home in the office". Have we moved beyond the cubicle, the ego-feeding executive office, and the pointedly elliptical board room table?