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Classics in the Office

What is a classic, and what does it stand for? Can a design that was conceived many years ago truly fulfil today’s requirements?

A designer cannot consciously create a classic piece of furniture. The objects that have achieved the status of classics have remained relevant and popular for decades – including in offices. This is not only due to a timeless appearance but also to their extraordinary quality, which makes them extremely durable and thus more economical than most office furnishings. Such longevity allows Vitra, for example, to offer a 30-year guarantee on the Aluminium Group and Soft Pad Chairs.

In this current period of rapid change, offices are more heterogeneous than ever before, ranging from high-rises filled with shared desks in non-territorial layouts, to spacious open-plan interiors conceived for teamwork, to conventional group or individual offices with fixed desks – and some even suggest that the office has become obsolete. Yet there is one constant in this dynamic environment: the classics of furniture design. To make sure it stays that way, Vitra occasionally adapts its classics to new developments and requirements – always abiding by the dictates of authenticity and in close cooperation with the designer’s heirs.

Consequently, the Eames Tables recently became available with new power and data options, as well as wireless charging capabilities. And in the new Black Version of the Aluminium and Soft Pad Groups, the iconic Eames chairs now appear in a fresh light – ready to serve the next generation of workers in the widest array of office environments.

"A classic is not a classic from the very beginning. It starts by breaking the mould. It doesn’t become a classic by conforming to established norms; instead, it questions these established norms. A classic becomes a classic because it wins the battle: first against the products that already exist and then against all of the new products that it must beat out."

Rolf Fehlbaum

Classics in the Office Newspaper

What are the main drivers behind the ever-changing work landscape? What are the spatial concepts that meet these demands, and which products translate these theories into reality?

Discover more interviews, features and case stories in 'Classics in the Office'.

'Classics in the office' is the first issue of the newspaper about work series– a collection of studies about office culture and the future of the working world.