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Built-in features allow cabinet to be transformed into ergonomic work table

According to a report from Novus (September 2020), to study what office workers think about the working environment at home, nearly 30 percent of the respondents have had problems with back, shoulder, and neck pain – problems they had not previously experienced. On the other hand, 70% of the respondents say that they have enjoyed working from home and 90% say that they want to continue with it at least one day a week. 

Finnish furniture manufacturer Adea’s response to this is with the launch of the first two products in the new business line Smartwork. One of them, Kabinett (pictured), is a completely new invention designed by Alexander Lervik, where a dresser easily transforms into an ergonomic workspace.

— At first glance, it looks like a regular cabinet but it has built-in features that allow it to be transformed into an entirely different piece of furniture. The innovation lies in its function. You get a work table that can be raised and lowered from a piece of furniture that doesn’t look like a table. I’ve placed great emphasis on making it both aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic. Your body shouldn’t be in pain because you’re working from home, says Lervik.

It comes in three different formats which each have an adjustable tabletop that can be raised and lowered. The functionality allows you to close the work down at the end of the working day by hiding the computer, screen, and other work tools. The table height is lower, so shorter people can also work in a comfortable position. The piece is designed to take up as little space as possible in a room while maintaining work comfort.

— Working from home is not just a temporary solution and therefore the goal has been to develop a piece of furniture that blends in with the rest of the room. You should be able to sit and work in the most attractive place in the home, in front of a window or in the middle of the living room, adds Lervik.

For Adea Smartwork, in addition to ergonomic requirements, the company also focuses how to distinguish between home life and work life. The second new product, Fokus, is designed by Mikko Laakonen and pays special attention to storing away the work tools when the work is finished. 

This, too, looks like a traditional cabinet but contains a height-adjustable work surface and has storage space for one computer or two computer screens, printer, and other materials needed for work. The doors are divided into several leaves that can be folded completely onto the sides of the cabinet to allow unobstructed passage around the cabinet.

— When the job is done, its doors can be easily closed, to hide everything away. This makes it easier to focus on the essentials and draw the line between work and leisure, says Laakkonen.

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Elevated living

Lervik is a designer with a wide range of work, drawing everything from chairs, carpets, glass art, lamps, barbecue grills, door handles, sculptures… And elevators.

— I am passionate about innovations, he says, so the products I’ve designed often have smart solutions and new areas of use.

He’s been working with Aritco — a Swedish company that produces the elevators in Stockholm, which is unique — since 2013. Throughout the years, he’s been deeply involved in the process of taking them from an industrial company to a modern design company. The first Lervik-designed elevator for Aritco, HomeLift, was presented in 2016 is now being followed up by the new HomeLift Access. As the name suggests, accessibility has been considered in every aspect of the functionality. It has an adjustable size for different types of wheelchairs, a safety system with an emergency lowering mechanism and battery in case of breakdown, and automatic door openers to avoid accidents. Lervik tells that the goal was to make it so aesthetically beautiful so the architect really wants to draw them into their environment, and not just because certain regulations force them to draw them in. 

— When I designed HomeLift in 2016, we started with a blank sheet of paper and developed a completely new elevator. This time we have updated an existing elevator, so the frames have been much tighter, which has made the work more difficult to achieve a good end result. I have worked with the aesthetics of Scandinavian simplicity in combination with technology, and brought in light as much as I could.

Has the pandemic changed the home lift market, with people staying more at home? 

— I don’t think we have seen the real effect yet, but I’m convinced that people around the world will put more focus on their homes. With the digital technique where we suddenly have started to have meetings from home, I believe that more people will leave the cities for a better life in the countryside. So, that will affect the lift market when people make such priorities.