Along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan there once flourished impenetrable forests. In this verdant state, there also grew three world leaders in office furniture (or “workspace solutions” as they put it). This was no coincidence. Nor were these companies’ environmental concerns an accident; all were building and manufacturing and so doubly affected by sustainability issues.
The three companies each laid out their environmental credentials but one promoted itself less noisily. Typically, this quieter voice belonged to the company which went the extra mile, the only one owned and led by its founding family. Its sustainability commitment came from the very top and was shared by all company members.
Whilst its competitors espoused LEED certification, this was the only one to build its showrooms to LEED gold standards. Whilst others sought to build furniture from recyclable materials, this company actually recycled 99% of its old headquarters in toto when building its new HQ. But its true leadership quality showed in design: from the ground up.
Haworth, the company in question, had long specialised in furniture which integrated, piece by piece, to create holistic interiors. Now it pioneered a new level of adaptability, so that office designs could evolve as companies’ personnel needs changed. To the point where its products could be re-used over 50% more than its own market-leading norms. In a country that had created built-in obsolescence, this was a quiet revolution: this was built-in sustainability.
The time had clearly come to write – and tell the world – the Haworth story. Starting in North America, brandstory identified the company’s consistently organic strengths. True to its roots, caring about succession, a family business to its core, this had always been an organic enterprise. Its design strengths had always been developed within the house to deliver inherent, integral advantages: the true mark of organic architecture, where “form follows function”. Now its commitment to sustainability – built into its designs – meant that Haworth alone could take the high ground of what brandstory defined as the “Organic Workspace”. The world of office interiors had a new leader.
May 21st 2008. The formal opening of Haworth’s uniquely organic headquarters in West Michigan. The organic roof is clad in flora. The offices are designed to adapt as the company evolves, organically. And at its heart stands a wall of timber recovered from the depths of the Great Lakes, symbolising Haworth’s organic commitment. In all, this is truly a world first. Behold the Organic WorkspaceTM.
brandstory is proud to report that the Haworth brand story is now evolving worldwide (see www.organicworkspaces.com). Its new HQ for Asia/Pacific, housed in Asia’s tallest building, is formally known as the Organic Workspace, Shanghai. And it has moved into the future with bluescapeTM, advised by brandstory. It appears that the Organic WorkspaceTM knows no boundaries.