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From Korea to the work floor: the rise of privacy as wellness

With many of us returning to the workplace after a long period of enforced isolation, it's inevitable that our ways of working having changed significantly in the interim. While some people desperately missed the hustle and bustle of office life, others actually thrived in the quieter, less distracting surroundings of home.

As employers seek to provide adequate 'workspace wellness' for their returning staff, we're seeing this reflected in exciting innovations in office design.

Inspired by traditional Korean 'hanok' houses, which feature low partition walls, designers have developed soundproof pods and grid-like partitions that can be brought into an open plan office to create pockets of privacy.

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Image from a hanok in Gahoe-dong, Seoul, Korea. These buildings have been constructed in Korea since the 14th century and are present in almost every city in the country.

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3D-printed room dividers and partition screens are a clever solution to privacy issues - like these window screens from design company Aectual.


FibreGuard's easy clean fabrics are a familiar sight in offices around the world thanks to their high performance properties and durability. But a newcomer to large, open-plan offices are soundproof 'focus pods' that aim to ease the transition back into a large, noisy office.

While collaboration is still a vital part of productive working practices, an element of purposeful isolation has been shown to be beneficial for focused tasks. This has been particularly useful for employees who found they were actually more productive while working from home because of the lack of distractions.

"While workplace design before Covid stressed the facilitation of collaboration, the future will need more emphasis on 'focus spaces' for the large percentage of the employee base that’s thrived in the pandemic’s quieter surroundings." – Jeffrey Steele, writing in Forbes

Qworkntine is an office pod system for post-quarantine workplaces which provides Covid security along with a private working space. Designed by architect Mohamed M Radwan, the innovative pods fit together in a variety of configurations thanks to their intriguing hexagonal shape.

Another office pod designed to encourage productivity in an enclosed workspace is the soundproof Focus Room which can be equipped with a desk, chair and power sockets to allow employees to work in peace.


Once a familiar sight in offices in the 70s, partitions are making a comeback as a way of creating private workspaces within a larger, open-plan office. Dutch Design Week saw the launch of 3D-printed room dividers and partition screens from Amsterdam-based design company Aectual.

Reimagined for the 21st Century, these grid-like screens are both beautiful and functional, and come in a range of colours and patterns. They also bring with them impressive eco credentials, because once they are no longer in use, they can be returned to the manufacturer for shredding and recycling.

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Designing for workstyles isn’t all about productivity: it also affects employee wellbeing, something that we put front and central in our overhaul plans. Read more: How to revive your corporate offices with oodles of style

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The Focus Room: a personal space in an open office: booth by Room

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Swedish company Zilenzio brings a light touch to the world of partitions with its gently curving Focus Floor collection. Focus Floor is marketed as providing 'textile privacy', with a 'feather light' design to adapt to the needs of the flexible office.

Swedish company Zilenzio brings a light touch to the world of partitions with its gently curving Focus Floor collection.

Echoing the work from home environment, these elegant, wool-clad screens come in a range of soft, muted colours and are available in both full-length and tabletop versions. Offering excellent sound absorption qualities, these partitions work equally well in a hospitality or office setting.

Office-ready high performance furnishing fabrics

Of course, contemporary office partitions are the perfect accompaniment for our stain-resistant fabrics - especially our anti-microbial FibreGuard Pro fabrics, which offer a unique moisture barrier. This makes them ideal for the demands of the modern office environment, as they are resistant to water, dirt and other liquids, ensuring their longevity.

Our FibreGuard Pro high performance fabrics are also treated with an anti-microbial agent to protect against the growth of bacteria, making them an even better choice for those looking for a fabric that is both durable and hygienic.

Interested in upgrading office spaces? Contact us directly today to set up a FibreGuard fabrics presentation or find your nearest stockist.

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