Dressing Room: Slashing the Stress of Sourcing

Workwell Partners tours our managing editor through the Haworth showroom in NYC

Located in the heart of Midtown just across from Grand Central Station, the Haworth showroom aims to be an equally iconic and majestic testament to design. The company’s frequently refreshed space showcases the changing needs and styles of today’s workforce, as it aims to provide a welcoming and energizing atmosphere to stir and stimulate the interior design industry.

Two representatives from WorkWell Partners, a distributor of Haworth offerings, recently toured Managing Editor Chris Curtland around the showroom, and he discovered that the space delivers on its goal to offer a relaxing, endearing sourcing experience—and not only because the Smurfs movie was filmed there (his mom is an avid collector of the little blue figurines).

On entering the space, I’m greeted with gourmet coffee and an array of Cappellini lounge settings, as are all guests.

“Our philosophy is to make this all a little less intimidating. We want to make it warm and fuzzy for our clients,” said Scott Lesizza, principal with WorkWell Partners. “We used to bring them into a conference room, close the door, they’re on one side of the table and we’re on the other, and it creates this tension. People are grappling with or anxious about the idea of changing an entire office, so we want everyone to relax a little bit.”

I skipped the coffee to avoid afternoon apprehensions, but there were no shortage of amenities offered. “This is my personal favorite spot,” said Kristine Scotto, director of strategic planning for WorkWell. “If you want fresh-baked cookies, we’ve got a go-to caterer who’s like the mom here.”

That bit only added to the interior's overall hospitable effect. “The amenities are almost becoming more important than the workspaces,” added Lesizza. “You get up, grab a coffee, and bump into people, but it’s also about giving back and making people feel valued.”

Directly behind the java bar is a massive Bluescape screen used for events, presentations, and everyday displays. It’s interactive and writable with special pens.

“The way furniture is used now is so influenced by the technology in that space,” said Lesizza. “So here we want to have that wow factor.” The furniture in front of the screen was a traditional conference setting from the Cappellini line, but this area is very flexible. It can be cleared out for parties, or rearranged to include more collaborate zones.

“We always refresh this setup. What’s really great about this space is we have freedom in terms of creating vignettes throughout,” said Scotto. “Depending on the situation, it can be dressed up or comfortable and cozy.”

Just around the corner are a variety of workspaces to match any style or setting. “The showroom is meant not only to be a showcase of furniture, but a showcase of everything people can do and every way they can work,” said Lesizza.

The sit-to-stand desks can/are used outside, and to offer respite, are paired with perch-height stools, which come classic or contemporary. “The cushion makes it a little funkier,” Scotto said. “Also, if you’re standing constantly, it’s like the diagram of a monkey to a man, but in reverse.”
The various combos of the Openest, Planes, Zody, and Harbor collections are perfect for collaborative work areas, as are the interactive, mounted TVs. “The idea is in an open plan, you don’t have as many conference rooms, but you have these hubs for people to connect in a
different way,” said Lesizza.

But amidst all the cutting-edge, there’s still a need to address the conventional. “At the end of the day, people want to see what a traditional workspace might look like, and that’s the eye test,” said Lesizza.

Although the space is a showroom first, it functions as a workspace for staff and clients. There is no assigned seating in the space, but almost every setting is occupied. “This is actually where we work,” said Scotto. “They really put their money where their mouth is.”

However, it’s not all work and no play at Haworth. The Kennedee line of lounge furniture offers visitors a chance to chill and chat in front of the q-bic conference table. And that’s not the only fun thing about it.

“Brad Pitt actually has this,” Scotto said. “Supposedly he walked into the SoHo store and had to have it. I’m not sure if he went with this white though.”

I cracked a joke about that being unlikely, given that his clan of kids would probably color all over it. “Well, now that you mention it, this is actually one of the most amazing leathers in the world,” Scotto countered.

“It goes through a 21-step curing process, and because of that, it comes with a kit that allows you to just rub off any marks.”

In every corner and expanse of the space, there were fun seating options like the Windowseat and Capo. Several had high arms or roof-like canopies, and although those are primarily included to provide sound mitigation, I more appreciated them for the snuggled, nestled feeling.

“It’s still open enough that you’re not in a cocoon,” Scotto said. “But you can turn around and you’re closed off enough to make a call or open your laptop. We see these a lot in public or open spaces.”

Capellini's Wanders' Tulip also appeared in a hospitality setting because the designer appreciated that its base can be mounted directly into the floor. “Then it looks like you’ve got rows of them literally blooming right out of the ground,” said Scotto.

As we circled back to the opening of the space, we came to the mockup area featuring long tables, conference space, and a design library complete with samples and 3-D-printed pieces.

“At this point, clients start envisioning what they want to do, and they start modeling ideas,” Lesizza said. “We’re here to help throw ideas around, differentiate things, and really make it personable.”

Isn’t there an old adage about business being done best while breaking bread? I could have that wrong, but if you ask me (and the Haworth and WorkWell teams), it’s cooler with cookies and coffee.