Furniture Systems: Approaching the Bench: Allsteel extends its Stride furniture lineIn 2007 Allsteel began to research a furniture solution that would accommodate the open plan to private office, adapt to changing business needs, support different worker types, and do so with a heavy emphasis on sustainability—and the Stride collection emerged. Building onto this integrated, kit-of-parts, workspace solution, designed by IDa Design and introduced last NeoCon®, Allsteel is now introducing the second phase of Stride at NeoCon® 2010. “The new storage and benching components are the culmination of creating the complete office,” says D.J. Heil, Allsteel’s senior manager, product management. “Our initial research into a complete open office environment yielded this need, and we challenged the designers to come up with new solutions for storage in a bench.”
IDa Design owner Mitch Bakker and his team took a holistic, user-centric approach to designing furniture for the entire office. Researching what benching needs were unmet or under-met, they found that storage was overwhelmingly lacking. “It is crucial to have access to things without impeding egress,” Bakker says. “The solutions we designed work well in a bench and also align with the rest of the Stride line.” The new pieces provide access to power, voice, and data, and offer the capability of long spans of surface (15 ft.) without support and longer expanses with unobtrusive supports.
People turn to benching solutions for space efficiency so IDa maximized space while balancing users’ personal needs with their collaborative needs. One concept is a small storage piece with a sliding top, used as a horizontal surface or seat; the unit slides under the main worksurface and offers easy access to storage. Another shared cantilever unit truly maximizes space by separating workstations and allowing two workers on either side to access the same piece. The storage compartment on one side features a magnetic back, which becomes a tack board for the user on the other side. An additional 3-ft.-high lateral file can be used in between workstations and in collaborative areas.
Bakker calls this collection “simple yet sophisticated and scalable. We were not going for a trading bench, but this product can be built up to have more functionality.” It’s available with an open leg or closed, faceted panels; divider screens come in simple glass or textile panels, and a monitor arm can slide into the tool rail at the center of the bench surface.
Stride offers full flexibility and customization, yet all options are as green as possible. “Our original formal intent was to develop the greenest product we could,” explains Heil, “and we achieved that in terms of finishes, materials, sourcing, how it is manufactured.” This is the first Allsteel product line to utilize the Design for the Environment (DfE) framework, and it earned MBDC Cradle-to-Cradle Silver certification.