Dutch furniture brand Lensvelt’s latest collection is designed to be uninteresting in a bid to help workers concentrate. The furniture is designed to restore the balance between work and play in the workplace
The Boring Collection is pitched as filling the space between ugly contract furniture and the trend for distracting interiors inspired by technology company offices, characterised by objects such as games tables and brightly coloured bean bags.
The exhibition concept was developed by Lensvelt in collaboration with Space Encounters Office for Architecture and students from KABK in The Hague and won the Milano Design Award for its conceptual innovation of transforming a stereotype into a playful experience.
Partially thanks to Google, the modern day office is nothing like it was before, office cubicles have been replaced with open-plan floors, dimly lit meeting rooms turned into cappuccino bars, and damp office buildings abandoned in favour of spacious warehouses.
” When slides, brainstorm mattresses and ping-pong tables started appearing we lost sight of what offices are meant for ” ……. Lensvelt
Dutch brand Lensvelt and Amsterdam architecture studio Space Encounters unveiled ‘ The Boring Collection ‘ – the furniture design equivalent of fashion’s unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, average-
The Boring Collection was conceived and developed by Space Encounters, out of dissatisfaction with the appearance of affordable project furniture.
The looks of contemporary office furniture are pretty much dictated by legislation and therefore often detonate with the rest of the interior and surroundings.
Boring Collection does not pretend to be more beautiful, in fact; Boring collection does not claim any attention.
Looking to dull office equipment and its most archetypal forms, the collection aims to restore the balance between work and play.
Not beautiful, not minimal; just inconspicuous, functional and basic.
The Boring collection’s “discreet appearance allows it to be present in the modern office without distracting from the things that actually matter.”
Artist duo Lernert & Sander were commissioned to create a series of sculptural photographs and a video ( 16,59 min ) of the collection, which was presented as an installation in the Ventura Lambrate exhibition at Milan
To the last detail, the furniture is a modest soft grey, and all shapes are archetypical, straightforward and discrete, with only one goal: to draw the eye to the things that actually matter.
Because its not about the furniture, but about office life itself and this was given the lead in their video and print campaign.
Like the countdown to the last minute before five o’clock, and the paper wad, the universal symbol for boredom on the work floor.
Lensvelt’s Boring collection of everyday office furniture was shown with an unexpected twist—visitors were encouraged to crumple up a paper manifesto of sorts and throw it into the sea of paper balls and chaos that made up the scenography.
The Boring Collection – Products
The collection consists of an EN approved task chair, visitor chair, acoustic panel, low and high cabinet and four types of desks, among which a standing desk.
Furthermore there’s a Boring bin and a clock which, true to office culture,only shows the numbers of the liberating moment.
Each item adopts an archetypal form in order to emphasise its inconspicuousness.
Boring is a simple design conceived by Lensvelt to bring an end to slow delivery times, by making sure that all the components of the collection are always on stock.
Boring Collection is being offered for competitive prices – this great advantage is made possible by a design that is available only in grey.
Project Concept – re THe Boring Collection
This story is not about a chair. It’s not about a four-legged table, a tall closet and a small closet either.
The appearance of our offices has dramatically changed over the years, as well as the way we make use of our workplace.
We used to spend our 8-hour work days surrounded by huge computer screens and sturdy wall panels, but today’s office spaces are far more pleasant.
We no longer have to settle for the bitter, stale coffee from the machine, but we order our lattes in the fancy coffee corner.
We have become used to opening up our laptops whenever and wherever we choose to, instead of having to sit next to the same colleagues and having to tap our pencils against the edge of the same desk until the clock turns five.
But some things have stayed exactly the same. Even though the atmosphere of our workplace has undergone a great deal of change; the desks and chairs that fill our offices remained unaltered.
And the reason for that is quite simple –
Designers are forced to follow the European standards that dictate the form and functionality of office furniture. These regulations have made the design process quite inflexible. And it has made the offer on hand limited.
Of course it’s possible to find more appealing furniture but most companies will have to work around a tight budget and will end up with cheap, wear-resistant furnishings that are rendered in unforgiving colours.
The architects of Space Encounters kept on stumbling upon this same issue.
Each time they were ready to put the final touches on one of their newly designed office spaces, they were confronted with the same office chairs, tables and cubicle walls: stubbornly old-fashioned furniture that was determined to spoil the party.
Add the usual picture frames, plants, folders and coffee mugs, and the original concept behind the interior is completely overshadowed.
The traditional office no longer exists and it’s time to let the furniture catch up. Our workplace deserves affordable solutions that comply with regulations and also manage to let the overall interior design shine.
An attempt to create more aesthetically pleasing furniture is not an option. It will either become unaffordable or will lead to impossible compromises.
That is what made Space Encounters decide to shift the focus away from the furniture and onto other things, resulting in a process where they redefined office furniture by questioning what is truly essential about these designs.
The basic elements were on hand; the task was to choose between the already existing and certified components.
By taking the European standards in consideration while trying to minimize their impact, Space Encounters assembled a line of archetypal furniture.
Shaded in a muted grey tone that gives the designs the unique ability to completely blend in with its surroundings.
That is Boring Collection. Sober gray, no fuzz, no pretensions. The tagline: Because it’s not about furniture.
It’s time to put everything else front and centre: the interior design, the view, that other great chair, the pictures on the wall, the people.
What really stands out about Boring Collection is how the designs manage to be anything but outstanding.
Their true virtue and potential becomes apparent when the different products are arranged in a group. Together they make up a sober and quiet family of furniture that, despite being multiplied still manages to let the interior around them play the lead.
And let’s not forget: Boring is affordable, which means the budget will leave enough room to purchase that one beautiful design chair. You can be sure any iconic design will receive all the attention it deserves as long as it’s surrounded by Boring collection.
Boring is a deceivingly simple design that can inflict great change.
It will bring an end to slow delivery times, because all the components of the collection are always on stock: that’s the great advantage of a design that is available only in grey.
And following a design brief has never been this easy, since Boring furniture meets all of the requirements.
It sounds a little idealistic, but Boring is a way to make the world a better place.
In short, Boring Collection will help create a more pleasant workplace experience.
Our offices will no longer feel like the dreaded place where time has to pass as fast as it possibly can, but can instead turn into a breeding ground where new unexpected things materialize and where everything is possible.
From nine till five, that is.
Winner of Best Concept award at the 2016 Milano Design Awards
Milano Design Award is known as the “Oscar of the international interior world”.
According to the jury Lensvelt and Space Encounters Office for Architecture had the best concept of all 1600 exhibitors.
Other nominees were Tom Dixon and Nike.
The jury not only raved about the clever concept, but also about the courage of Lensvelt to create an anti-design statement on the world’s largest design fair.
The grey furniture pieces from the Boring Collection are not striking. They are more likely to disappear in the interior, so that attention can be on everything else that matters’.
The show was rewarded by the jury ‘for the ability to imagine a new narrative way to the office-product.
The project is a simple but effective conceptual innovation with starts from a stereotype to turn it into a playful and engaging experience’.
The exhibition concept was developed in collaboration with Space Encounters Office for Architecture and students from KABK in The Hague.
Hans Lensvelt …. “ We did it as a team.”
About Space Encounters
Space Encounters liberates itself from the dogma of strict functionalities and researches old and new forms of space and material, free from self inflicted burdens. We do not pretend that architecture provides solutions but acknowledges that good architecture is relevant. Serendipity is crucial in our research.
The constant search for innovation and different perspectives is expressed in both the practice of modern technology and the revaluation of old techniques and analogue methods. Any obtained commission or taken initiative is an inducement to create an applied artwork. All our projects are teamwork.
Space Encounters was formed when ila and MONO joined forces in 2016.
Space Encounters is Joost Baks, Gijs Baks, Remi Versteeg, Stijn de Weerd and an international team of young architects and interns.
About Lernert & Sanders
Ever since they began collaborating in 2007, the artists and filmmakers Lernert & Sander have been known for their high-conceptual art films, eye-catching installations and keen fashion aesthetic.
Driven by their cheeky sense of humour, Lernert & Sander’s simple yet stunning approach has earned the duo numerous awards, international accolades and industry-wide recognition.
They live and work in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.