To our readers, customers and design community —
We’re edging towards the end of 2020 and this post will be my farewell before I retire early next year.
Writing this has had a profound impact, full of reflections and wide-ranging emotions. But more than that, 2020 has been an experience like none other for us all. A period of immense challenges worldwide. Changes in our industry and in everyone’s work lives. That’s why nothing short of the future of work has remained a critical question to probe now, near and far, certainly in my own work.
Yet despite the urgencies of this moment, finding perspective is essential. For Coalesse, perspective means that we’ve always explored and sought to advance the future of work. We were founded to respond to the ever-changing workplace — to help create the spaces which allow our social, collaborative and personal work activities to thrive. To make the new life of work both truly new, and better.
Perspective is so often the key to opening ourselves to new possibilities and solutions. It widens the view, the terrain, and includes more people. Years ago, we recognized emergent signals — how the workplace was borrowing from our experiences at home and in public spaces. Today we’re responding to the intersection of our lives and our work at home, across distance, time zones and digital domains. For tomorrow we’ll look past the current barriers to observe what’s on the horizon. We’ll translate insights and prototype the ideas that can bring new life to work.
More directly, perspective helps to build a point of view, which is an integral part of any brand — to hold what we make to a set of beliefs that people can recognize and trust. For this reason, ‘Point of View’ became the name of a series of publications on the perspective we cultivate at Coalesse. And these pieces represent some of the most meaningful and rewarding projects that I’ve had the pleasure of contributing to.
Our Point of View series has explored three foundational themes that inform everything we do as a company: Comfort, Craft and Customization. Simple as each may sound, these are longstanding virtues that we believe people need, want and even love in their workplaces. And without them, work itself suffers.
Several years ago, these themes came into focus — they coalesced, really — based on the feedback, research and insights of my team and talented colleagues. We methodically built a body of content around each theme that gave way to this trilogy.
These dispatches not only share our design perspective with you. They also illuminate how thought-provoking explorations can lead to detailed prescriptions for actual products and applications that make workplaces better. Can good design promote the physical, social, emotional and cognitive comfort that we need to work at our fullest? Can we merge traditional and modern craft to improve the caliber, sustainability and even the performance of furniture? Have we evolved in wiser ways to allow our community greater liberty in the expression and creation of such products, with more options for personalization?
And do these collective forces make work more human, more rewarding, and therefore — better?
I believe they do.
We know from research that people benefit when they can act upon these deep-seated, instinctive needs, especially in the context of working hard. And though change is the only constant, I believe that these themes represent a long view that will remain relevant to Coalesse — even as participating, creating and relating to each other at work will take on new and different meanings over time. These ideas keep us honest, optimistic, and inspire us to make our work matter and last.
And so, with this perspective I wanted to share our Point of View series as a trilogy, to bring the work together and see what it might show us now. You can link to each of the articles below:
Sharing this series is also a chance to share my belief in and love for a brand that I’m proud to have helped seed before its launch and then later lead — as I prepare to retire and roll into what’s next.
In my near 27-year tenure at Steelcase, Coalesse, and before that, at our originating company Metro, I like to think that I’ve been part of a continuum. It’s been the opportunity of a lifetime to learn from the great minds who came before me and enriched my time here. I have equal confidence that those who succeed me will continue to meld the imagination and collaboration that make Coalesse so memorable. They will make this place their own and help make work better. They will find new meaning in the dimensions of comfort we all need today; in the craft of our designers, partners and makers; and, in the boundless creativity of the A&D community, who are envisioning the workplaces of tomorrow with their own well-informed perspectives.
It’s been a gift to foster and guide this point of view at Coalesse. And it’s a gift to know that the next generation of leaders and collaborators will unquestionably add to the story in new ways. That’s a perspective I’ll look forward to.
In the meantime, be well in the new life of work.
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