I have gone on at some length in the past about the horrific office cubicle. Lots of furniture manufacturers are getting the hint: we are not a bunch of drones with similar work habits and a decided lack of style. Allsteel, in particular, has seen the light. Stride, their new office system, was designed to fit the way we work today: "In developing Stride, three primary personalization details were factored into the design equation: a worker’s preference based on generational differences (who the person is); worker preference based on the individual (how one works); and, work style based on organizational function (what one does)."
Stride Collection. Manufactured by Allsteel.
By studying the specific traits and styles of a plethora of workers, Allsteel also learned of our storage needs—their drawers now accommodate "pilers" and "filers." Stride is also realizing that the workplace has undergone fundamental geographical changes. Since so many people now telecommute (AKA they stay home in their pajamas and avoid Skype), Allsteel designed Stride for both office and home environments—which basically means that Stride looks good (goodbye bland, fabric-covered panels of uniform rectangularity)! Stride agrees with Acuity, Allsteel's ergonomic office chair—an executive office chair fit for a king (or, in my case, someone with lumbar problems who must visit a chiropractor more often than should be necessary). Acuity works as a team with its surrounding workspace because both never sacrifice form for comfort or purpose.
Stride Collection. Manufactured b Allsteel.
HBF textiles used in Allsteel's Stride Collection.
Much of Stride (and Acuity's) good looks depends on materials. And Allsteel has paid attention to all us working individuals by offering a much wider range of materials—choice, in other words! This "more robust library of color options, textiles, surfaces, and landscape materials" translates into unique, adaptable work spaces. Stride has a whole new palette: Coast, Heirloom, Trace, and Mica serve everyone from the septuagenarian miser to the twenty-something upstart. There are also new paint colors, finishes, and laminates, including Loft, a neutral gray, Bungalow, a warm taupe, and Brownstone, a medium brown. This, in addition to the former Allsteel paradigm: Brilliant White and Muslin. And this doesn't even cover the "new family of Wilsonart laminates," which incorporates three exclusive colors designed solely for Allsteel.
Another interesting twist with Stride is Allsteel's groundbreaking partnership with HBF Textiles. Introduced at NeoCon09, this powerful duo simplifies office design: "This is the first-ever partnership for HBF Textiles with any furniture manufacturer, and, in forging the relationship, Allsteel has crossed a new threshold, significantly increasing its materials portfolio not merely by number but by scope, with an offering that includes styles by acclaimed designers and architects and with a decidedly more residential aesthetic." If you know HBF Textiles, then you recognize the virtually limitless possibilities of this affiliation. I wrote about HBF fabrics just before NeoCon09, when I was dreaming of the Campion Platt Collection of eco-friendly materials (I must have been a gypsy in a former life, since there's nothing I like more than fabric).
D.J. Heil, Allsteel’s Senior Manager, Product Management, explained the perks of Stride for Allsteel's showing at NeoCon09: “Never before has a single solution been so diversely applicable to nearly every type of business function. With an integrated kit of parts, Stride can create open plan or private office, traditional panel-based or light-scale desking. Whether for reception, collaboration center, customer service area or executive suite, Stride works." If only we all worked as creatively and as diligently as Stride, then the world would go round much faster and more smoothly. A final kudos to Allsteel for being environmentally friendly: "A first step was to be sure that 100% of the energy used to produce Stride is fully offset with the purchase of Green-e Energy certified wind renewable energy certificates (REC) from the Midwest region and also to localize as much production as possible, with more than 90 percent of the components and inputs on the series produced within a 500-mile radius." Add to that smarter packaging and the possibility for LEED points, and Stride is making strides in lots of departments!