Furniture designed for task driven activities rather than just personal work settings or formal meeting spaces.


FOCUSED - Thinking Works

Focused is inspired by the intensity of the task driven hospital emergency room where every item has its place and each space can be quickly adapted. The product itself is designed using principles borrowed from the automotive industry. A solid, well-engineered frame is hidden from sight by panels and covers which give the product form and texture. Clip on trays moulded from recycled PET create the soft undercarriage. Interchangeable top trays mean the function of the table can be altered to suit the use.  

The Problem

As we carry out ever more varied tasks in our working day the need to have different work settings has increased. Sat in the intensive care ward of Kings College hospital in London and looking for something to take his mind off a medical emergency, Phidias observed the way the working environment was organised. Everything had its place and was on hand to be used as and when needed, supplies and equipment and even layout could be changed quickly and easily. Could this paradigm be transferred to the workplace?

The Opportunity

The rise of the activity based work as a business practice has increased the need for work settings that can be adapted to suit teams and tasks. The predominant model in the workplace works on individuals moving around to dedicated work settings or furniture being moved and reconfigured. The opportunity was to put a new product type into the market which met a real world need and allowed furniture to be adapted and not moved.

The Process

Taking the emergency ward as inspiration we worked on designing a work table for Australian furniture manufacturer Thinking Works that could be transformed to suit different functions with minimal effort. We reviewed the options for manufacturing materials and processes and settled on developing a series of compression moulded parts for both the accessory trays and the table undercarriage covers. Our selection was based on tooling costs, quality of final finished pieces and the flexibility of finishes available. The table structure, a well detailed and efficiently engineered steel frame.

The Challenges

Trying to bring something new into the market for work tables is quite a challenge. Using techniques more commonly found in the automotive industry we worked with metalworking and compression moulding factories to produce a strong and lightweight structure designed for volume manufacture. Using compression moulded panels on the underside of the table to conceal frame saved time and effort on cleaning up welds which would have typically been on show, as well as producing a table which can be view from below as well as above.

The Outcome

Awarded the Design Guildmark for Furniture in 2014, Focused is at the forefront of a new trend for a softer more domestic looking product targeted at activity based work. Focused is now sold globally. This was our first major development project with Thinking Works and it helped us establish working practices which have been used on subsequent successful projects with the Thinking Works team.

“Thinking Works engaged Jones & Partners to develop a table and chair system that will provide the built environment with a new, unique way to work both in meeting spaces and collaborative working environments. Jones & Partners were chosen as the designers for this project because we could see they have a fresh approach to design, their concepts are visually engaging, they are at the forefront of using new materials and they understand the importance of sustainable design and manufacturing which are key elements of Thinking Works’ ethos.”

Dean Kuch - Managing Director Thinking Works