Frico is helping to create the office of the future

The Futurum project aims to create smart solutions for the working environments and practices of tomorrow. With temperature playing a vital role in one of the solutions, it was only natural that Frico became involved in the project!

Futurum – the working environments and practices of tomorrow

The Futurum project began life in autumn 2012 as a collaboration between AMF Fastigheter, KTH School of Architecture and Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, as well as the Codesign firm of architects. The aim was to create smart solutions for the working environments and practices of tomorrow. The students gave their interpretations of the office environments of the future in the form of designs, sketches and full-scale models, with eleven different projects being presented in a private exhibition.

The Atmosphere-Based Workplace

One of the projects, The Atmosphere-Based Workplace, focused on the atmosphere, as the name suggests. The idea was to design a workplace that would give workers the freedom to move around and allow them to choose the environment that suits them best at any given time, based on their own personality, feelings and needs.

“We put a lot of thought into how people use spaces and surfaces in social situations. We are increasingly moving away from the idea that the key to wellbeing in the workplace is having modern office furniture. Instead, it is more important to have a healthy atmosphere,” says Joel Englund of Konstfack, one of the designers.

“We wanted to create a workplace where you have freedom to move around in harmony with your feelings and needs”

“We need different environments and feelings to move around in, just as in nature, when we go for a walk or sit among the trees or find a spot next to a lake. There are parallels here with our ancestors’ desire to live near water and the way they looked for certain qualities in their environment. In the same way, we wanted to create a workplace where everyone feels that they have the freedom to move around, depending on how they feel and on their needs,” says Joel.

The project group also wanted to steer clear of the “fabulous caffè latte machine” or “the comfy sofa”. The resulting installation was a bare office with only a suspended ceiling. “We don’t think we really need all this furniture and bric-a-brac – it's how it feels around us, how happy we are in our environment that counts.”

Thermocassette – a heating solution that meets individual needs

The Thermocassette HP from Frico is a radiant heater designed for either surface or recessed mounting in the ceiling. Recessed mounting makes the heater an integral part of the ceiling and offers a discreet design. The product can be used for total heating, as well as for zone or spot heating. By focusing the radiant heater on specific areas, you can concentrate the heating on a particular zone. The radiant heater can therefore create different temperatures in different areas and you avoid having to increase the temperature throughout the entire office.

This solution was perfect for The Atmosphere-Based Workplace project.

“A comfortable temperature is a basic human need”

The project group examined basic human needs. “One of the things we need in order to be happy is a comfortable temperature. Temperature is so fundamental and vital when it comes to feeling comfortable when we are working. I find it a terrible shame that most spaces created for people are not adapted to basic human needs. All too often, offices are too hot in summer and too cold in winter, and we should also consider people’s individual needs.”

“We wanted to create a workplace with different temperature zones”

The project group knew exactly what kind of solution they were looking for, but did not know who could deliver it. “We wanted to have an intravenous hotplate in a suspended ceiling. We wanted to be able to create zones with different temperatures, which you could walk through and stay in. After a bit of research I came across Frico and their products, which were ideally suited to the project,” says Joel.

Frico’s Thermocassette product was perfect for the project in terms of both function and design. “We wanted to use a concealed design, so the ceiling plates were ideal. Their versatility is amazing and you can find these identical white plates everywhere – from the local pizza place to large offices.” The project group was able to use the plate built into a false ceiling to send down heat, moisture, fragrance, sound and light. “The temperature solution worked really well, particularly the dehumidification zone, which had a cooling effect.”

Thanks to Thermocassette, Frico was able to meet the needs of The Atmosphere-Based Workplace for a heating solution with different temperatures in different zones – an exciting project that might just provide the design for the offices of tomorrow! The Atmosphere-Based Workplace is a project by Joel Englund, Hanna Wikström and Astrid Skog.