Modular Furniture for Limitless Configurations: A Collection by OMA for UniFor
For Milano Design Week 2022, UniFor, a company of the Molteni Group specialized in workplace furnishing solutions, will be presenting PRINCIPLES, a new collection developed in collaboration with the international architecture firm, OMA. The unveiling of PRINCIPLES will take place in a new location with a prestigious address, Viale Pasubio, which is also home to the headquarters of Fondazione Feltrinelli and soon to become UniFor’s permanent showroom.
The fundamental concept of PRINCIPLES is to provide furnishings that can be used by anyone, at any time, to best support the flow of operations and communications required by the contemporary workplace.
The collection is composed of more than one hundred elements – in the sizes S, M, L, and XL and organized by families – which can be configured in limitless ways for working in groups or independently.
One of the families, the ‘spines’ of the collection, includes straight and curved partition panels that can be joined to form individual pods for private calls and focused work, or semi-secluded nooks for smaller meetings. Another family comprises ring-shaped sofas and soft islands that allow for more informal interaction.
The elements, which provide for multiple and diversifiable functions and applications, have been designed to give form to every type of space, be it for working, waiting, meeting, relaxing, or any combination of functions. Conceptualized as an interior micro-architecture, each space has its own identity differentiated by forms, colours, and dimensions.
Each piece in the collection has been specifically designed to ensure the flexibility of the workplace and to offer a maximum level of functionality for the convenience of its users. The desks and tables have double-layered surfaces for multiple uses such as eating, working, and organizing. The furnishings are fully wired, giving users the flexibility to work anywhere in the office, while soundproof materials are incorporated into their design for elevated acoustic performance.
Exploration of technology and materiality is integral to the development of the collection. Fabric for high-tech sportswear, extra-thick color core laminates in carefully selected tones, and specially designed microperforated sheet metals for acoustic performing surface have been to create the highly functional furniture.
Unifor and OMA initially collaborated on the design of the furniture for the common and lounge areas of the OMA-designed Axel Springer Campus in Berlin in 2018. The pieces have been reengineered and optimized into a highly modular and customizable collection. The resulting collection combines OMA’s design ideas with the precise application of UniFor’s technical and manufacturing expertise.
In the words of Rem Koolhaas, Partner at OMA, “OMA and UniFor have worked in close collaboration to create a unique furniture line that responds to the needs of workspace culture in the 21st century. This experiment started with the Axel Springer Campus, an office building in the heart of Berlin welcoming about 3,000 employees every day. The result generated successful new ways of interacting and communicating within the office and is now available for a broader audience. We are curious to see how the modules – colors, materials, functions and shapes – of the PRINCIPLES collection will come together and serve different work environments globally.”
From the perspective of UniFor, Carlo Molteni, her Managing Director, says: “Collaborating with OMA has been an important experience because it has allowed us to look beyond the usual ways of perceiving space and to push our manufacturing capacity into a new area of thinking Old taste and business. I have a lot of faith in this collection. Its strong identity is a perfect match for UniFor’s entering personality.”
Lastly, Philippe Braun, Associate at OMA describes that, “In designing this collection, we wanted to offer users flexibility in determining their own place of work. The modular system with a range of adaptable elements allows exploration of different workspace configurations. UniFor’s expertise was instrumental in realizing this collection that suits the office space and beyond.”
Close collaboration between two outstanding enterprises, OMA and UniFor, has resulted in an exciting new collection characterized by simple yet rigorous forms, meticulously designed and well-positioned to open new frontiers of discussion on the future of the workplace.
The cultivation of good design and manufacturing know-how are the founding principles of UniFor’s business strategies.
The company’s main interlocutors have always been the architects who design its products and the buildings and environments that contain them. Since 1969, the profound collaborative relationships that have accompanied every stage of the design and production process, facilitated by constant dialogue, have resulted in series products and custom furnishings of meeting the ever-changing needs of contemporary office environments.
UniFor develops furnishing systems that aim to interpret, through simple solutions, the complexity of the workplace.
About Molteni Group
Molteni is an independent industrial group in the high-end furniture sector with 100% Italian-made production. It encompasses four brands, each a leader in its segment: Molteni&C (residential furnishings), Dada (kitchens), UniFor (workplace solutions), and Citterio (partition walls and office furniture).
The Group combines collaboration with some of the most prestigious international architectural firms and designers with constant investment in research and technological innovation to create products with intrinsic, timeless qualities. Founded in 1934 as an artisan workshop by Angelo and Giuseppina Molteni, by the second half of the 1950s the company had already launched its major role in the historic success of Italian industrial design.
OMA is an international practice operating within the traditional boundaries of architecture and urbanism.
OMA-designed buildings and structures currently under construction are the renovation of Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin, The Factory in Manchester, the Simone-Veil Bridge in Bordeaux and the CMG Qianhai Global Trade Center in Shenzhen.