Bene-GmbH / Andrea Hirsch

PORTS – leading together: the office as a multifunctional hub

Designs by prestigious London design studio Pearson Lloyd win ‘Best of the Best’ category at the Red Dot Design Awards and the 2020 iF Gold Award even before the concepts are launched onto the market. Bene showcases a revolutionary office concept in the form of an innovative furniture collection called PORTS.

The world is changing, and we are changing with it. Stability, flexibility and agility are the key success factors of all dynamic organisations. PORTS is holding up a mirror to this reality within the realm of interior design and furniture design by creating multifunctional and adaptable spaces, which reflect the many and varied ways we carry out our work. PORTS is a furniture collection and office concept in one that brings people, ideas and functions together, as reflected in the concept’s slogan ‘lead together’.

PORTS has been designed by the internationally acclaimed, London-based design studio Pearson Lloyd, who designed the business class cabins for Lufthansa, the WorkLife Rooms for the Intercontinental Hotel Group and the iconic furniture collection PARCS for Bene. In 2009, Bene launched the PARCS furniture range, which allowed completely new office layouts to be created that promote a collaborative style of working. The launch of PORTS sees the office furniture and concepts experts continuing their successful partnership with Pearson Lloyd, which they have cultivated for over 10 years. Even before its official launch, PORTS received the ‘Best of the Best’ category at the Red Dot Design Awards and the 2020 iF Gold Award.

Lead together
“When Bene introduced the PARCS furniture collection in 2009, we elevated office design to a whole new level by creating innovative communication zones in office spaces. We are continuing in the same pioneering spirit with the PORTS collection. PORTS typifies inspirational cooperation and productive collaboration. The three complementing product lines – TABLE, LOUNGE and STORAGE – reflect the high standards of modern-day leadership. The interplay between the different modules creates a highly adaptable furniture system, which can cater for individual needs within modern working environments. This is what we mean by ‘Lead together’”, explains Michael Fried, Director of Sales, Marketing, and Innovation at Bene.

A new leadership environment
There are signs of change everywhere: systems are being re-imagined, established processes called into question, and new leadership styles are also being put into practice. To overcome and capitalise on these challenges together, it is important that organisations focus more closely than ever on collaboration and communication. Organisations should not just allow new types of leadership and routines; they should actively encourage them. As well as creating meeting spaces for lively discussion, it is just as important to create quiet spaces where employees can retreat and work in a more focused way. Multifunctional spaces are needed, which cater for all working styles, and which develop and can be adapted in line with changing requirements. It has become clear that effective leadership in modern companies is dependent on providing open and more informal spaces. And this applies to both modes of thinking and office spaces. Flexibility, multifunctionality and areas in which to retreat are more important than ever.

The PORTS furniture collection
The PORTS concept certainly lives up to its name. Just like a state-of-the-art port, it serves as a multifunctional hub. Work areas that used to be separate now merge into a multifunctional space, which promotes both collaborative and focused, independent ways of working. The private breakout area is a space where people can retreat and work independently, whereas the table serves as the hub of the community where conversations happen and ideas are shared. The semi-transparent room dividers provide structure and functionality both for individuals and the collective.

The three complementing product lines – PORTS TABLE, LOUNGE and STORAGE – can be combined in a large number of ways to meet highly diverse requirements.

Comfortable lounge areas are an integral part of modern-day office environments. Together, the PORTS Sofa and PORTS Lounge Chairs create comfortable seating arrangements. The PORTS Task Lounge comprises a panel, a rotating table and the PORTS Active Chair. The unique seat tilt mechanism on the PORTS Lounge Chair enables you to switch seamlessly between a relaxed and passive seating position to a more upright and active position. The flexibility of the collection is primarily provided through the rotating table module and the functional PORTS Lounge Chair. This is an optimum solution now that our mobile phones have allowed us to break free from our static office desks. The PORTS Task Lounge can be arranged as a type of meeting lounge, which encourages people to meet and interact without the need for conference tables and formal spaces. Several modules arranged together create a completely new type of meeting space.

Innovation, design and functionality are the key features of the PORTS Table, which turns what is on first sight a simple table into much more than a conventional work surface. It can switch in an instant from its standard function to an office table that serves as an anchor point for interaction and a communication hub. The elegant table’s four-legged frame features a modern and discreet electric height adjustment option, which quickly and almost silently transforms the table into the perfect focal point for informal meetings. The PORTS Power Tray provides full electric and network access.

Offices and meeting spaces can merge into one large whole, which is why partitioning elements are needed to give the office structure. PORTS Storage can be used to divide spaces and adapted to suit the needs of both the individual and the collective. Open and private spaces are divided semi-transparently and the modules can be used in numerous ways. PORTS Storage can therefore serve as a storage space, cloakroom, mirror or refrigerator but also as a notice board, shelving unit, whiteboard or screen.

“The office design and furniture market continue to be defined by hierarchical structures and old-fashioned ideas surrounding status, without truly addressing users’ needs; the market hasn’t really changed for over one hundred years. PORTS seeks to redefine what a private work space looks like and how it works,” explains Tom Lloyd.

And according to Luke Pearson, “The private office is slowly dying out. Leaders are becoming more open, collaborative, democratic and younger, and so they need as much time and space as possible to plan, act and think creatively.”