In follow up to the Vitra Summit, our two-day virtual event of October 2020, this year we’re organising a series of shorter, 90-minute digital sprints for you: the Vitra Sessions. Each sessions will delve into one or more of the pressing questions that have emerged since the pandemic hit the world in the spring of last year, and offer a highly diverse and inspiring mix of design stories, expert keynotes, product news and handy tips for individuals and companies alike.The first Vitra Session took place on 11 March. During this session, we successfully examined the world of ‘Distributed Work’ and its many implications for businesses and organisations. The session proved to be an inspiring conversation starter for what we intend to become a series of thought-provoking virtual exchanges throughout this year – so stay tuned for more news on upcoming sessions.The second session will be held on 22 April 2021, and will focus on the topic of ‘Home Dynamics’. With the pandemic resulting in a huge increase in the number of people working remotely, we have been making all sorts of radical changes to our homes over the last year. This session will examine what the homes of tomorrow can do to respond to these new dynamics and accommodate all aspects of our lives.
Never have our homes undergone such radical changes as in the past year. As we were forced into lockdown, they became our safe havens, and had to function as our offices and schools, playgrounds and gyms, restaurants and cinemas. With more and more companies opting for a distributed operating model, we can expect the share of people working from home – whether full-time or just for part of the week – to drastically increase in the months to come. Our domestic spaces have to respond to these new dynamics and accommodate more aspects of our lives.Any societal shift requires a design response. What can we learn from the past? What have we learned from the remote working experiment of 2020? As designers, architects and manufacturers, our challenge is to maximise the use of limited space, while generating a sense of safety and well-being and making room for more individual choices as we create the dynamic home of tomorrow.
The Vitra Sessions are a series of short digital events to explore how offices, homes and public spaces are evolving. The format will bring together expert keynotes and conversations on design, and feature product news with practical tips for individuals and companies. Short sequences presenting creative insights from within and far beyond the realm of furniture will bring another dimension. During the digital sessions, we will dive into the experiences of the past year and question the nature of our shared spatial environments, which have been put to the test.
For many employees, working from home is fast becoming a way of life, at least for part of the week. But if the past year has made anything clear, it’s that nothing can replace the physical office as the site for meaningful interaction between employees and the central communal space for any company.The office remains the main place in which we can get work done, forge human connections, absorb a company’s unique working culture, and feel a sense of belonging and identity. After a period of isolation, functional workspaces that enable real-life collaboration, productive outcomes, and serendipitous encounters have never been more in demand.However, the offices to which we are beginning to return have to meet fresh demands. They need to encourage collaboration while maintaining safe physical distancing, all while fostering the sense of communal identity and creative support that is essential to our well-being at work.Today, we need to rethink both our offices and the organisations that they house. It’s time to move on from fixed interiors, grids of individual workspaces, and established routines. Instead, we can use agile product typologies to create inclusive, flexible spaces that foster productivity and creativity, both for employees in the office as well as those at home.
How does the shift towards a distributed working model set in motion by the outbreak of the pandemic impact businesses and organisations in the mid to long term? This was the central question we explored during the Vitra Session on ‘Distributed Work’ that took place on 11 March. With contributions by designers, thought-leaders and industry experts, the event proved to be highly successful and managed to set a lively tone for the sessions to follow. For more in-depth analyses and insights on the theme of ‘Distributed Work’, be sure to download the latest issue of our e-paper, which includes in-depth essays, inspiring interviews with thought and business leaders, scientific findings, helpful spatial solutions and much more inspiring content.