“Starting point for future designs”:
Interview with Marcelo Alegre

Marcelo Alegre und Andrés Baldoví of studio Alegre Design Copyright: Alegre Design

At ORGATEC 2016, renowned Spanish designer Marcelo Alegre presented two new office chairs. With his studio Alegre Design, he takes inspiration from the versatility of modern working worlds. We talked with him about the fair and current demands and new developments in the design of office furniture.

Mr. Alegre, how has work life changed, especially in Spain? Do people today ask for different spaces and furniture than some decades ago?
The incorporation of new technologies, cloud storage, the appearance of ‘start-ups’ and new entrepreneurs, and the Generation Y – better known as ‘millennials’ – have powered a great change in workspaces in Spain, generated by the new job market. This requires a different furniture typology, with more dynamic products which help encourage mobility. Workspaces thus become a collaborative space which, along with new electronic devices, creates a dynamic environment.

Office chair „TNK Flex“ by Actiu (design: Alegre Design) Copyright: Actiu
Office chair „TNK Flex“ by Actiu (design: Alegre Design)

What do you think are key components in generating employee satisfaction within the office?
In order to provide user satisfaction, furniture capable of anticipating the user needs is the key in every feature; that is, ergonomics, functionality and requirements. I mean, the chair should be able to self fine-tune if required. For instance, if in a certain occasion we need to have a meeting with a team member, and we want to be standing, the work table should be capable of providing different heights in order to create concentration or collaboration workspaces according to what we need for any given task or situation. Worker satisfaction stems from the idea that the products provide specific answers to what their users expect from them, as long as they integrate in continuous collaborative spaces, as opposed to the restrictions of the individual workstation.

Office chair „eFit“ (design: Alegre Design) by Actiu Copyright: Actiu
Office chair „eFit“ (design: Alegre Design) by Actiu
Copyright: Actiu

Have your office furniture, and its ergonomics, changed over the past years as a result of technological advancements?
Technological advances have been instrumental to the evolution of office furniture, as they have given them a greater degree of mobility, essential after the introduction of electronic devices. In the past, we used to work in front of a desk on top of which there was a massive computer, therefore with no mobility whatsoever. And all the work and the furniture layout was organized around that space. Nowadays the office is more dynamic, more agile, with soft seating and collaborative spaces where more spontaneous and lighter meetings can be held. Moreover, there is no need for the electronic devices to have a specific location, thus layouts can be diverse and therefore furniture must provide new postural functions allowing to use these electronic devices in order to, for instance, take a phone call or write an email.
These new technologies have changed ergonomics in the workplace, providing major improvements, and have also led to new ways of thinking and new ways of using technology and techniques in furniture manufacture.

What are the significant trends you see for the further development of the working world?
The key element of the new trends are the younger generations, who face the job market from a more dynamic standpoint. They are curious and their priority is to learn and create, traits that will shape the way furniture is conceived and designed, providing dynamism and spontaneity. Status at work will not be determined by having a bigger office, or having a view, but by the flexible working hours and mobility.

Office chair „eFit“ (design: Alegre Design) by Actiu at ORGATEC Copyright: Alegre Design
Office chair „eFit“ (design: Alegre Design) by Actiu at ORGATEC
Copyright: Alegre Design

Where do you see your main focus when being at ORGATEC?

At Orgatec, our main goal is to display our newest creations, such as the “eFit” and “TNK Flex” office chairs, and to be able to share them with the market agents. Their feedback will serve as the starting point and inspiration for our future designs.

Valencia-based studio Alegre Design is an award-winning agency specializing in industrial design and product development in Europe. At Orgatec 2016, the Actiu company presents the two new office chairs “eFit” and “TNK Flex” by Alegre Design.


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