12/01/2011

Nestle In

Designed by Todd Bracher, the Nest Collection from HBF brings an organic and refined sense of style to collaborative work spaces everywhere.

By Janet Wiens

 
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    HBF has a reputation for skillful woodwork that has been fully leveraged in the design of the Nest lounge chair, resulting in an elegant shape and look. View larger

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    The design from Nest is both modern and classic, simple yet substantial. View larger

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    The combination of mesh on the sides and back, a wood frame and metal base presents a clean image, and invites the user to come and sit. View larger

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    The combination of mesh on the sides and back, a wood frame and metal base presents a clean image, and invites the user to come and sit. View larger

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    Sketches from Bracher show how the chairs and tables from the collection can work together to facilitate both individual and group work. View larger

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    Sketches from Bracher show how the chairs and tables from the collection can work together to facilitate both individual and group work. View larger

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    View larger

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In much the same way that a nest provides a place of rest and safety for birds, the Todd Bracher-designed Nest Collection from HBF can be used to create secure and restful environments for its users. Imbued with a sleek, airy sense of style, the collection’s lounge and side chairs, mobile side table and multiple height occasional tables work in a variety of settings and feel at home wherever users may want to make their own nest, whether at the office or in a quiet lounge.

Nest was born after HBF’s research revealed an opportunity in the marketplace. “We have experienced great success with our existing lounge furniture, but we also believed that our current and potential customers wanted something new,” says Kevin Stark, HBF’s vice president for design.

In response, Stark, Bracher and other HBF employees talked extensively with architects, interior designers and facility managers to gather their thoughts regarding collaborative furniture—both what was available and what they would like to see.

“It became clear that collaborative furniture can be overly technical in some cases, with numerous provisions for cabling, data ports and other features to accommodate technology,” Stark says. “These features are obviously often required, but we also had many individuals say that simpler could be better.”

The resulting mandate was to design a collection that would serve a variety of spaces, would be functional and would feature HBF’s high-quality craftsmanship. Stark says that the design team developed a brief with 15 bullet points detailing attributes for the collection. These addressed features, weight, flexibility, construction and aesthetics, among other factors.

Bracher believes that developing the goals for this collection in association with HBF and participating in the company’s research was the perfect way to work. “HBF has a very serious approach to meeting customer needs, which is also the way that I like to work,” he says. “Being involved during the research phase helps me as a designer.”

The resulting collection is focused on facilitating a fundamental aspect of collaboration: face-to-face interaction. The light weight of each of Nest’s pieces enables them to be easily moved or rearranged to accommodate individual, semi-private or semi-interactive uses.

The lounge and side chairs in particular are a striking combination of mesh for the back and sides, and steam-bent maple for the frame. The mesh, which comes in seven colors, provides a sense of semi-privacy; constructed of polyester, it is also easy to clean, lightweight and very cost effective. The seat is available in mesh, any of the company’s textiles or leathers, as well as COM and COL options. Best of all, the chair feels as though it is fully upholstered, which is a win-win situation according to Bracher.

The lounge chair is available with a polished stainless steel four-star tubular elliptical base, while the side chair is offered with a wood or polished stainless steel base option. An optional swivel mechanism returns the chair to its original position when the user leaves.

“The design of the seating provides a beautiful contrast of light and shadow,” Stark says.” As far as we can determine, there is no other combination like this available. The design is modern yet classical, light yet substantial.”

The satellite table is designed to pull into the chair or lounge and can be used to hold a cup of coffee, a laptop or other materials. The tables have wood or polished metal bases and a maple, laminate or Corian top. The work tables come in two heights and two diameters. The top may be specified in one of HBF’s standard 18 maple finishes, alabaster white Corian or carnation white laminate. The work tables feature metal bases and may be ordered with power as an option.

“The chairs and tables work together very well,” says Bracher. “The chair’s design provides the feel of a private space but is large enough for a side table to be pulled in.”

“HBF is known for their wood craftsmanship, so using the in-house capabilities that the company has in this area and combining wood with the mesh for the chairs and lounge was a logical choice,” he adds. “Wood is American, elegant and refreshing, and combining this element with the mesh is an unusual combination. I believe that we have provided a crossover product that fits naturally in many areas.”

It is fitting that a collection named after part of the natural environment was designed with the environment in mind. The seating and satellite tables with metal bases and solid surface tops are GREENGUARD Indoor Air Certified. The stainless steel bases on the lounge chairs, side chairs and tables are made from 7 percent pre-consumer and 26 percent post-consumer recycled content, and are 100 percent recyclable. The seat cushions are made from a hybrid bio-based foam, while the table top core materials are made from 87 percent pre-consumer recycled wood content.

In the end, Nest is a prime example of design that facilitates technology and communication without getting in the way. It creates a private, safe atmosphere for conversation without dictating it, and allows collaboration to unfold organically.

“The fundamentals of human interaction do not change, technology does,” Bracher says. “Nest focuses on supporting those fundamental human traits, while allowing technology to facilitate this process.”

You can learn more about the Nest Collection at www.hbf.com.

 

 

 
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