“O” is for…

“Welcome to the future of the office.” Such is the motto – part invitation, part promise – of Orgatec, the exhibition held every two years at the sprawling Koelnmesse in Cologne. Anyone who has accepted the invitation will tell you the promise is more than fulfilled: Orgatec is unrivalled in the range of comprehensive solutions it presents from all areas relevant to the working space.

Using data from Orgatec 2010, exhibitor count is expected to surpass 600, hailing from 40 or so countries, spread out over a million square feet of space. The breakdown of product is as follows: office furniture, 60 per cent; lounge and design furniture, 20 per cent; with the final 20 per cent coming from segments of lighting, flooring, acoustics and AV technology. High-profile exhibitors include Haworth, Interstuhl, Vitra, Wilkhaun and Walter Knoll. Taking all this in will be 60,000 visitors from all around the world (about 50 per cent of the total from abroad, from 110 countries).

Three “competence centres” cover the areas of lighting, acoustics and AV technology. The Lighting Competence Centre features such exhibitors as Artemide, Belux, Tobias Grau and Waldmann. A special exhibition from Bartenbach LichtLabor, called The Office as a World of Light, highlights innovations in the fields of daylight; LEDs; light and health; and light and materials. The Acoustics Competence Centre is a meeting point for all those who deal with the issue of acoustics in the office. The Competence Centre Architecture & Media Technology includes video conferencing, multimedia systems, large-screen-TV presentations, wireless date transmission, and more.

Three special supporting programs -– Orgatec Boulevard, International Trend Forum and Insight Cologne – are bound to be crowd-pleasers. Orgatec Boulevard, in a “return engagement,” offers an ideal place to network, with its many nature-based lounges and communication zones; the theme of the boulevard in 2012 is Modern Working Spaces. International Trend Forum gathers top-ranking experts around the globe from the fields of architecture, planning, consulting and user companies. to discuss trends and present best-practise examples form the office working world. Insight Cologne – a.k.a Orgatec Night of Office and Architecture – throws open the doors to 15 offices and facilities in the city’s municipal areas to the public; a shuttle bus runs between all the stops. The 15 participants fall under three different categories: new office concepts and architecture trends; sustainably developed offices and buildings; and expertly revitalized buildings.

Part of the pleasure mixed with the business of Orgatec is to be had exploring charming, historical, low-key Cologne in the mild month of October.

Orgatec runs at Cologne’s Koelnmesse from Oct. 23 to 27.  cI