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Design San Francisco 2023

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

The Future Of Work!


Thanks everyone for joining us on Tuesday March 7th, 2023, and Thursday March 9th, 2023, for our discussion led by Alistair Simpson, at the San Francisco Design Center, 101 Henry Adams Street, in our pop-up exhibit space in Suite 376. You'll find us now at our permanent showroom in Suite 208.


We learned during the pandemic that productive work can occur almost anywhere. We also learned, after working from home for an extended period of time, the enormous value of shared physical spaces to brainstorm with colleagues and the need for interpersonal connection with others.


We may never go back to the workplace as we knew it, but we WILL gather in new ways and in newly repurposed spaces. Flexibility and multi-purpose spaces are the new mandate for commercial space. Firms are choosing to occupy substantially smaller spaces when leases are renewed, but they are demanding more functional, adaptable furnishings, often at a higher cost per square foot.


On March 7th and March 9th, the San Francisco Design Center showcased some award winning, patented breakthrough products from Europe and North America that demonstrate how we can provide flexibility to the spaces where work is conducted, whether it’s at home or in a downtown office. San Francisco remains at the leading edge of new workplace trends, with the lowest return-to-office rate in the nation. This new phenomenon may have an outsized impact on our region.


According to a recent McKinsey study, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle have been the epicenter of our nation’s productivity gains over the past decades, due in part to the alchemy of concentrating our “creatives” together. https://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/our-research/rekindling-us-productivity-for-a-new-era We’re currently engaging in a great experiment; will we continue to lead the nation in productivity gains while working primarily from our dens, bedrooms, and home offices, or will our brilliant workplace designers curate spaces that attract the right mix of associates back to the office, mixing with colleagues, other creatives, and competitors in ways that continue to foster innovation, and produce the nation’s leading productivity gains? If we’re successful in creating those workspaces, how will that reduced real-estate footprint serve large numbers of associates?


Flex space will be a key component. The ability for a space to transform from a formal conference room to classroom to desking to a lounge may be a requirement, and with a few exceptions, manufacturers of commercial workplace furnishings have struggled to answer to this challenge. There are few options for equipping the workplace of the future, even though the needs are immediate. Google just announced that Cloud employees will share desks, and alternate days in office. Countless other companies have announced flexible hybrid working arrangements. Yet our options to support productive work, at home or in the office, remain limited.


At the Design San Francisco 2023 conference and exhibit at the San Francisco Design Center, we hosted a number of patented design innovations for the new world of work. We unveiled award winning designs from European and North American leaders who imbued flexibility in otherwise static products, allowing them to transform space and work, in ways that answer the mandate for flexibility.

If you missed our talks but would like information on new designs, contact Mike@knakgroup.com


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