The Goods: Office Environments pt. 3 — Keep it Green

Intentionality and authenticity are appearing as key factors in designing for the younger generations, especially in the office. The same will hold true for the furniture that will fill those spaces.

With Gen Z projected to make up a third of the workforce by 2025 (Manpower Group, 2023 Workforce Trends Report), and older generations retiring later, designers, facility managers, and other specifiers must cater to an expanding community with diverse needs and expectations. Human connection, well-being, and consistent comfort have emerged as priorities for both younger generations looking to establish smart habits and older generations seeking physical longevity as well as a vibrant and active career. As a result, there is a demand for spaces and products that offer opportunities to connect and collaborate while also allowing users to accommodate their personal wellness goals and feel more balanced.

Any poll of Gen Z’s core concerns will put the environment at or near the top of the list, and they want that reflected in the ethos of the companies they work for. As such, that demographic wants their employers to emphasize sustainability as a value guiding their purchasing choices, even if it means being willing to pay a premium for products that reflect that value.

EarthyPly | Mantra Inspired Furniture

What makes this collection of conference and meeting room tabletops and legs notable is the materials: FSC plywood sandwiched between two layers of recycled paper composite. Good looking and checks a lot of green boxes: contributes to LEED points; FSC, HPD, EPD, GREENGUARD and Declare certifications; and is Living Building Challenge Red List-approved.

Dappled Light | Shaw Contract

Created using bio-based resources such as rapeseed, canola and castor oils, the results are a high-performing, PVC-free resilient flooring. This low-maintenance option doesn’t require waxing and is hand sanitizer, bleach, and peroxide friendly, making it an ideal choice for healthcare settings. Available in two styles – Woodland Veil, a muted nature-inspired pattern; and a subtle mosaic pattern for Forest Mosaic – with an intentional tile size design that reduces waste in installations with a traditional healthcare corridor width.

Mycelium Collection of SRP | HTMX Industries

The company’s SRP TPU is a new non-vinyl, circular multilayer flooring system that upcycles two PET bottles into each square foot of SRP flooring, using PET as the top layer, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) as core layer, and a cross-linked polyurethane foam back layer. SRP flooring can be ground up and transformed into an engineered TPU, making the ability to recycle each plank into new planks, hence the circularity. The connected nature of mycelium is represented in the digital printed patterns (not used as an actual ingredient).

Vale | KFI Studios

Designed by Brit hot-shot, Benjamin Hubert of Layer, the chair shells are created with PET felt made from recycled plastic bottles. “The name ‘Vale’ stems from the unique design feature of the rolled edge that gives it a friendly feel and is both very warm and inviting,” explains Chris Smith, CEO of KFI Studios. “Vale is the Middle English word for ‘valley,’ which is what the rolled edge creates on the chair shell.”