Where furnishings are concerned, simply displaying individual items fails to render the idea of the whole layouts that can be created. Take office design: only direct experience of spatial set-ups can guide the customer to what his own work calls for. This principle inspired Bene to lay on a new showroom in Vienna, right in the city centre. Occupying three floors, the showroom begins with a purely exhibition space on the ground floor, already glimpsed from the street through an 80-metre-long plate glass window. On the two upper floors is their so-called Living Showroom which extends over 1700 sq m and consists of offices for 90 Bene employees. Within this area visitors are free to range and experience directly the many spatial concepts that can be achieved with Bene products. The ground floor approach is almost museum-like. In a 960 sq m room visitors can admire chairs and desks galore, from basic lines to top-value pieces like Toguna, designed by PearsonLloyd, or Johannes Scherr’s RM room module. Moving up to the floors above, one gets a direct idea in the Living Showroom of Bene’s variety of services: almost 30 different office layouts and numerous applied scenarios, from open space to face-to-face, from classical to trendy, from basic version to high-end implementation for bosses. Bene’s great flexibility of solutions builds variety into these indoor scenarios; the level of privacy also varies as need dictates by simply using mobile dividing panels across the glass partitions which both separate yet allow visual communication among workers. As one strolls through the Living Showroom one can peek into real offices, sit at workstations, talk to employees, get a first-hand sense of the atmosphere, comfort, versatility and practicality of these furnishings. Importantly, one can test out the differing acoustic standards achievable by surface components, floor coverings and sound-absorbent ceiling panels. Lastly, the Living Showroom gives concrete proof of the latest advances in domotics. Telephone in hand, workers can control the room climate, heating, lighting and shade, while sensors on windows automatically cut the air conditioning when the windows are open. Such applied technology saves on energy and augments comfort inside the office.
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