For Walter Knoll, Ben van Berkel / UNStudio designs a series of Seating Stones

Ben van Berkel / UNStudio launched the Seating Stones series for Walter Knoll at Orgatec 2014 in Cologne. The series is designed to encourage active participation and personalization in the space creation of the contemporary office environment.

Offering a variety of workspace types has become imperative in the contemporary work environment. While individual workstations remain essential to concentration and productivity, common office spaces are being employed more creatively in order to provide a variety of areas to meet, confer, brainstorm and socialize. In order to promote the sharing of ideas and increased innovation within less formal atmospheres, engagement, collaboration and communication are taking centre stage in today’s workplace. Today’s workplace is therefore designed to enable and encourage mobility, diversity, flexibility and collaboration as a means of creative knowledge management through the incorporation of formal and informal meeting places.

Within the workplace layout versatile, flexible and dynamic spaces for communication can be configured and reconfigured with ease, creating transitional islands for both work and recreation.

Contrary to fixed furniture configurations in common spaces, the individual elements of the Seating Stones family are designed for ease of placement and reconfiguration, responding to different types of gatherings and spontaneously altering group dynamics. The Seating Stones series therefore does not dictate the spatial configuration of communication, it instead enables the users to determine this according to their needs at any given moment. Collectively the various elements within the series enable the creation of multifunctional spatial environments and tailor made solutions for everyday gatherings.

Communication in the workplace is however not limited to common areas. In addition to the possibilities offered for the activation of communal areas, Seating Stone elements can be employed to activate spaces housing individual work stations where layouts are typically static and fixed, but where communication and impromptu exchange still play a vital role. Operating as “add-on” elements for impromptu communications, Seating Stone elements can be interspersed throughout and easily transported when required. The Seating Stones family can therefore curate an active use of space throughout the working the environment.

While open workplaces can increase the effectivity of communication, it is equally important within these shared spaces to ensure a balance between improved and more open communication and the need for privacy and personal space. The individual elements of the Seating Stones family therefore allow for multiple possible configurations which fulfil these differing requirements: to enhance communication and interaction or to enable concentration and isolation.

The Seating Stones series further presents office furniture with a homely touch: a less formal, softer and more comfortable character which introduces a congenial quality to working, meeting and connecting.


The Seating Stones series currently comprises six individual elements, each designed with specific characteristics for use, but which when grouped enable a wide variety of configurations.

Inspired by the bright and varied natural fabrics produced by the Incas of Latin America, the various elements of the Seating Stones family can be upholstered in a wide variety of colours. The fabrics of the Seating Stones can therefore reference a simple, individual stone, or alternatively can resemble a mixed formation of richly coloured minerals.

• Seating Stone 1 (Lounge) Inspired by the rhythmic smoothness of geological formations, the original sculptural Lounge Seating Stone exhibits a playful take on spatial awareness and versatility, presenting myriad possibilities for placement, colour, texture, arrangement and communication.

• Seating Stone 2 (Side) Easy to swivel and designed to enable communication, this rounded chair can be turned with ease to face other users. There are two versions of Seating Stone 2: one with an armrest on the left and one mirroring this with an arm rest on the right.

• Seating Stone 3 (Tub) As a variation on Seating Stone 2, this chair is similarly easy to turn; however it has a more orthogonal form and armrests on both sides.

• Seating Stone 4 (Silent) Designed to enable privacy during communication, the high back of this tall chair curves at the top to envelop the user, creating a sense of retreat and concealment.

• Seating Stones 5 & 6 (Pouf – small / medium) These poufs, in two sizes, can be casually clustered for brainstorming in teams, or can easily be moved to join other configurations of the Seating Stones family. The Seating Stones poufs can also be interspersed throughout spaces housing individual works stations for use during ad-hoc communications in more concentrated work areas.

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