Furnishing The Future Workplace | An Interview with Barbara Nolan, Nolan Brands

Trends are constantly changing with the influence of social media, but in architecture and design, reputations and success are built over time. In this episode of the Gensler Design Exchange podcast, Gensler’s Director of Product Development Brandon Larcom speaks with Barbara Nolan, founder and principal of the Nolan Brands furniture showroom, about her experiences furnishing the future workplace and turning boutique brands into national names for more than 30 years. From glass walls to tables and chairs, chances are Nolan Brands has influenced your everyday surroundings in some way.

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Great products start with great insights, and great insights are powered by broad perspectives. It may seem simple to select furniture for an office, but today’s showrooms are addressing the unique needs of the offices of the future by representing an array of boutique brands that identify and forecast gaps in the industry and provide practical, quality furniture solutions to these challenges.

With the rise in popularity of the open office, for instance, new challenges have affected employee experience and productivity, calling for a more efficient and flexible design of spaces to accommodate quick access to people and resources, facilitate increased choice in workplace environments, and account for noise management — navigating the fine line between a workspace that is neither too loud nor too quiet.

Case in point:

“There’s architectural interventions we can do, with ceilings and materials and white noise, that may be added to the space… Oftentimes people say, ‘Which is better: private office or open plan?’ We measured all types of individual work environments, and what we’ve found is that if you solve for design, noise, and access to people and resources, they perform equally, and one is essentially not better than the other.”

Janet Pogue McLaurin, Gensler, Freakonomics

Today, trade shows and showrooms around the world are giving brands big and small the ability to showcase their innovations and put them on the market. The need for a range of innovations in furniture solutions is apparent as we trade cubicle farms for brighter, more dynamic workspaces; enclosed conference rooms with transparent glass; cement walls with flexible, sound-proofing fabric; standard desks and chairs with more ergonomic alternatives; and incorporating new materials to address privacy and sound control.

Product development has the unique ability to detect and capitalize on the possibilities of new materials, the latest technologies, and evolving needs, ultimately optimizing end-user experience.

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The Gensler Design Exchange creates a dialogue between design experts, creative trendsetters & thought leaders to discuss how we can shape the future of cities.

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