Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably noticed the resurgence in mid-century modern style office furniture. It’s everywhere you turn now: offices, storefronts, on TV shows and commercials. blog2It might be that white leather chair with the sleek, chrome armrests or that Eames-style sofa with the tufted buttons. Seemingly overnight, everyone’s office has visually transformed into a 1960’s New York ad agency. “But why?”, you might ask yourself. Well, there a few factors that are contributing to this latest trend.

First, let’s define what “modern” style furniture really means. Post World War II era America begins the mid century time period for our country. The trimming down of materials, a practice during the war in an effort to conserve, continued in factories. Designers were doing more with less. Combined with the invention of chrome plating, the outcome was bright, polished-looking furniture with minimalistic designs. blog3Modern style furniture was born. In addition to chrome metal and simplistic designs, modern office furniture tends to look more linear, featuring sharp angles, squared off corners and boxy profiles. Modern furniture colors are a bi-polar mix of subtle and bright. While white seems to be common, bright reds are starting to appear. Where you see tobacco browns you will also see midnight blacks.

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This style furniture also boasts low-back and mid-back design lounge chairs and sofas, sticking to that open, minimalistic aesthetic. Desks tend to feature cherry and walnut veneers with warm stains and little to no modesty panels. blog5It should be noted that mid-century style furniture has never, truly gone out of style. The angular and sometimes psychedelic designs of this time period have managed to linger in offices decades after their inception. Designs have been tweaked over the years but the ideas have remained. There is a familiarity with modern furniture for most people and a nostalgia for some, which plays into the popularity of this style of office furniture.

Another one of the factors of today’s insatiable craving for modern classic furniture are TV shows based around the 1960’s time period. Mad Men, a show about a Madison Avenue advertising agency during the ’60’s, ingrains mid century styling into the head of their viewers. blog6Just sitting through a single episode will expose you to numerous camera shots of tufted reception seating, brightly colored guest chairs, sleek steel desks and walnut conference tables.

With all of the demand for clean lines and chrome, plus the longevity of the mid century design, it would be safe to say that the ribbed leather chair you purchased will be in style for years to come.

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Americans are getting taller and heavier as the years go by. According to the CDC, Americans are on average 25 lbs heavier and 1 inch taller than in 1960. This can create issues in the workplace when it comes to employee seating. What happens when a person is too large for their office chair?

The new demand for larger chairs with higher weight capacities has changed the way we look at office seating. The average commercially rated office chair is designed for users under 250 lbs. Seat cushions are usually no wider than 19” and no deeper than 20”. Backrest heights can vary when you factor in low back and mid back chairs, but even high back chairs are usually no taller than 27”. These chairs are fine for the average person, but a larger person may feel the seat isn’t deep enough or that the arms are too close together, causing discomfort.

Our Y11075, Leather Big & Tall Chair with 500 lb weight capacity.

Our Y11075, Leather Big & Tall Chair with 500 lb weight capacity.

“Big & Tall” chairs as they are called, are made to have wider and deeper proportions with more heavy duty components to withstand higher weight capacities. Many feature extra tall backrests for taller people. Other chairs focus more on larger seat cushions with ample room between armrests. With either one, look for the following features before deciding on your Big and Tall Chair:

-Extra heavy duty base, gas lift and mechanism that are tested to hold more weight.

-Firmer foam in the seat cushions, to keep cushion from flattening out.

-Thicker seat cushions.

-Taller backrests.

-Chair bases with larger diameters, compared to standard chairs.

-ANSI/BIFMA commercial use ratings for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

-Weight capacity of at least 300 lbs.

Designs of Big and Tall chairs have come a long way, some now featuring mesh backrests, headrests or multiple ergonomic adjustments:

Y9489, Ergoflex Chair with headrest, shown in Neutral Latte. 350 lb cap.

Y9489, Ergoflex Chair with headrest, shown in Neutral Latte. 350 lb cap.

The seat slide adjustment has been a game changer. seatsliderWith the ability to adjust the depth of the seat cushion to adapt to different thigh lengths, some Big and Tall chairs fit average sized people as well! Many business look to these types of chairs in order to give all employees the same chair, avoiding “chair envy” from other employees and awkwardness for the person with the different chair.

Guest and reception seating designers have also taken notice of this trend and now are starting to make chairs with extra heavy duty weight capacities as part of the standard design:

The Siena Series. 400 lb weight cap. standard on each seat.

The Siena Series. 400 lb weight cap. standard on each seat.

We can expect that Big and Tall chairs will increase in demand over time. New styles, colors, features and functions continue to grow with this type of office seating.

Questions? We are well trained on the subject of office seating. Feel free to call us at 1-800-443-5117 to speak with any of our knowledgeable sales staff.

See our entire selection of Big & Tall Chairs at the link below:

http://modernoffice.stores.yahoo.net/bigtallchairs.html

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Reclining office chairs are popular, but many customers are confused by the terminology of “recline” versus “tilt”.

A tilting office chair is common and is considered to be a standard. The tilt refers to the action of the swivel/tilt mechanism on the bottom side of the seat. When you lean back in the chair the rear of the seat will drop slightly, resulting in a tilt motion. The swivel/tilt mechanism will also have a tilt tension knob so that you can adjust the tension of the tilt. There may also be a lock lever so that you can lock the tilt angle in a certain position. The tilt motion provides some comfort and acts as a shock absorber so that you aren’t sitting on a stiff flat chair seat.

On the other hand, the movement in a reclining office chair is in the backrest. The arc of movement is much greater than the relatively small degree of tilt in a tilting chair. The backrest of a reclining office chair will recline at least 45 degrees. This is enough to allow most users to fully relax or nap. Some reclining office chairs will even recline nearly flat, allowing anyone to fall asleep while in the chair. Reclining office chairs can be used as a desk chair when in the upright position, so they are an office chair and recliner in one.

If you have any questions about reclining office chairs please call us at 1-800-443-5117. We stock a few types of reclining office chairs. We will be happy to answer your questions and give our suggestions.

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Adjustable Height Desk - NEOCON 2014

Adjustable Height Desk – NEOCON 2014


NEOCON 2014

The Modern Office staff once again attended the annual NEOCON design exposition and conference in Chicago from June 9th to June 11th, 2014.

Our main interest was in office furniture, but everything from fabrics to flooring to interior building products and more were on display in over 1 million square feet of showroom space.

What were some of the trends for 2014?

Adjustable height tables and desks powered by push-button motors were prominent. This allows the user to stand and move while working. Many studies published recently tout the health advantages of standing instead of sitting. Unlike office chairs, humans don’t have pneumatic cylinders to adjust their height, so if they stand while they work then the table must adjust to be at the proper height.

Some desks even featured built-in treadmills, so the worker can walk while working in order to exercise and burn calories. These slow-moving treadmills don’t make you gasp for air or drench your clothes with sweat, but they do keep you moving and active at a slow to moderate walking pace.

With so many standing height desks, tables and other counter height surfaces it was no surprise that drafting stools and bar stools were found everywhere.

Pods and alcoves for privacy were a trend that built upon itself from last year. The open office encourages collaboration, but any open office needs areas for privacy. Many showrooms were turning back to the idea of privacy and individual offices again.

The idea of breaking up and adding privacy to open office plans was evidenced in several new architectural partitions. These architectural partitions are several steps beyond the typical 60″ x 60″ fabric office panel. Instead, they are works of art in every material, shape, and color possible.

Reception seating had the collaborative theme too, with back-to-back and side-to-side units promoting interaction and built-in electrical and electronic features adding convenience.

A honeycomb paper pulp flexible panel system was an interesting introduction in the office panel category. Its accordion-like cells expand and contract to allow the partition to change lengths and shapes. It absorbs sound and transmits light in different ways depending on which version is used.

Casual meeting and breakout areas emphasized kits and modules that could be reconfigured not just in terms of floor plan, but also in “building block” type ways that were reminiscent of preschool seating.

Colors this year were again bold, with saturated hues. Gold and metallic highlights were seen in wall and floor coverings. Rough hewn and reclaimed woods were popular.

What’s predicted for 2015? Many believe we will see a continued progression toward individualized work areas or offices for certain workers. Privacy in the open office plan will be emphasized. More people will stand during much of their workday. We will start to see a shift away from vivid colors and saturated hues. Modern Office will of course be there to again see the latest trends. Please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-443-5117 with any of your office furniture questions.

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Customers are buying lateral files in quantities similar to ten, twenty and thirty years ago. The “paperless office” was something we first heard about in the 1980’s. The development of digital documents suggested that file cabinets would go the way of typewriters and adding machines. But many believe that there is nearly as much paper in use in offices than ever before.

Some speculate that because computers and email have made it possible to exchange a greater amount of information almost instantly that there is more information for us to potentially put on paper. The dramatic drop in price and increase in speed and quality of printers makes it tempting to print that information.

So if your office staff is still filing and storing

Steel Lateral Files Photo

Steel Lateral Files

paperwork you are not alone. Lateral files are a good solution because they are wide and don’t protrude from the wall as much as vertical files. They store more paperwork per cubic foot of floor space. Lateral files are usually made of steel, but laminate and wood lateral files are also common and can match or coordinate with wood furniture. Call Modern Office at 1-800-443-5117 with any of your paper storage and filing questions.

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Have you noticed how swivel chairs on TV news or talk shows don’t have casters? The reason is to keep the chairs from rolling so that the interviewer and guests can’t move out of the view of the camera. This also keeps the set looking neat and balanced.

Instead of casters, the chairs have stationary glides to keep them in place.

Office Chair Glide

Office Chair Glide

The same idea also applies to offices. You can use stationary glides to keep your conference room looking organized and reduce the disarray of chairs haphazardly rolling around the room. Or, you can form a small meeting area in a corner of your reception room or office with a pair of stationary swivel chairs on each side of an end table. A stationary swivel chair stays in place, yet it allows you to turn and converse.

There are many additional reasons why users may need a stationary office chair without casters or wheels. Factory and production workers performing detailed tasks need to remain steady while they work. Employees at counter height benches and drafting tables want drafting stools that will stay in place. Older people may prefer the steadiness of a stationary chair when sitting down or exiting the chair.

Modern Office now has stationary chair glides to convert most of our office chairs into stationary chairs. Call us at 1-800-443-5117 for more information.

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Saturated hues have been popular in office furniture for the past couple of years. Hues that are saturated are seen as vivid or pure colors. They contrast with wood tones and neutral or subdued colors to give emphasis and “pop”.

Orange Office Chair

Orange Office Chair

Orange is predicted by some to be a hot color in 2014. Orange office chairs give a bold and colorful contrast to an existing but drab office. Orange is a nice accent to some of the current darker exotic wood tones such as mocha and wenge. Many customers are finding that using an orange conference chair instead of a standard black conference chair around a conference table can dramatically change the look of their conference room.

Color experts say that orange promotes optimism and extroversion. Orange encourages creativity and enthusiasm. It’s a power color. Based on those qualities, the color orange has its place in many offices.

As always, call Modern Office at 1-800-443-5117 with any of your office chair and office furniture questions.

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Portable Folding Coat Rack

Portable Folding Coat Rack

Office furniture is not usually considered seasonal, but one exception is coat racks. With the change in the weather some people are already wearing coats to the office and wondering where to put them.

Wall-mount coat racks and costumers are useful for single coats or a small number of coats, but what is a cost-effective way to handle large numbers of coats, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, and backpacks in a church, school, or auditorium, especially when you don’t want to invest in a dedicated coat room? A portable folding coat rack is the answer. Portable folding coat racks can store several dozen coats and more in a minimum of space. Their best feature is that they are hinged in the middle so that they can collapse to a very small footprint and store away in a closet or another room when not in use. They can roll where needed and set up in seconds for events or when the seasons change.

Do you have questions about coat racks or other office furniture? Call Modern Office at 1-800-443-5117.

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Does Modern Office Have a Showroom?

Yes, we do. Even though Modern Office’s customers are located throughout the U.S. and beyond, we have an office furniture showroom for our Minneapolis, Minnesota and Twin Cities customers located at 6900 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie, MN (Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM).

We display over 100 different office chairs and stock 1,000’s of chairs here in our own warehouse, so customers with an urgent need for chairs can look, try, buy, and pick up all at the same time — even large quantities.

We also display and stock several series of office desks:

Mocha Laminate Desks
Cherry Laminate Desks
Maple Laminate Desks
Cherry Veneer Desks
Mahogany Veneer Desks
Traditional Dark Cherry Veneer Desks
Roll Top Desks

Many of these office desk series have dozens of components and can be configured in multiple configurations including L-shaped desks and U-shaped desks. Most also have matching bookcases, cabinets, and files in stock too.

Modern Office displays and stocks many series of conference tables in several sizes:

Mocha Laminate Conference Table
Cherry Laminate Conference Tables
Maple Laminate Conference Tables
Cherry Veneer Conference Tables
Mahogany Veneer Conference Tables
Traditional Dark Cherry Conference Tables
Glass Top Conference Tables

We also display and stock several series of reception desks:

Mocha Laminate Reception Desks
Cherry Laminate Reception Desks
Maple Laminate Reception Desks
Cherry Veneer Reception Desks
Mahogany Veneer Reception Desks
Curved Glass Top Reception Desks
Modular Component Reception Desks

Businesses, institutions, churches, schools, and salons in the Minneapolis area have completely furnished their reception areas with our reception desks and seating within a day or even hours!

All of the office furniture above is available for immediate pick-up. There is no need to wait days for the furniture to “come in from the warehouse”. We have it right here. Many customers are surprised at how much office furniture we have in stock for their immediate requirements.

Visit Modern Office at 6900 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 M-F 9AM to 5PM. We will be happy to show you our furniture and answer your questions.

Eden Prairie, MN Office Furniture Showroom

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Glass Top Conference Table

Glass Top Conference Table

Another popular trend at the 2013 NeoCon convention was glass furniture. Glass or Lucite was used in conference tables, reception desks, office desks, accent tables, marker boards, and even chairs.

Glass top conference tables have always been popular and were exhibited extensively this year. Some of the newly introduced designs will reinforce that popularity. Glass top conference tables are the ultimate in contemporary elegance and provide a feeling of open space, plus they coordinate with any furniture. A small glass top conference table is also ideal for use as a simple writing desk.

“Floating glass” (also known as “elevated glass”) was used on many reception desk counters to create a distinctive airy look. Glass is a perfect writing surface for use on a counter.

Glass coffee and end tables were popular at this year‘s convention. They solve a problem for those who have difficulty finding accent tables that coordinate with their reception chairs. They work with just about any style or color.

Glass dry-erase boards are the new contemporary alternative to melamine or porcelain marker boards, and this year they were everywhere. Their clean frameless design improves the look of any conference room. Their surfaces don’t smudge and are easy to clean.

Lucite or acrylic chairs and other “ghost furniture” can help to make a space feel more spacious. Their transparency allows you to emphasize other pieces of furniture in the room. They were seen this year more than any other year.

Glass has joined other materials such as wood, laminate, and steel to create some interesting office furniture designs. Modern Office is always here to answer any of your office furniture questions at 1-800-443-5117

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