The open office — what a concept. Touted as the destroyer of traditional workplace hierarchies and the harbinger of a new era of productivity, the lived reality is something a little less than ideal for most office workers. While it’s true that the open layout encourages more collaboration and a sense of community within an office, the noise that is generated from all this communing can negatively affect workers. This has given rise to a whole host of acoustical architectural products specifically designed to abate the din and restore the promise of productivity.
The open office has also lead to a new paradigm in contract specification. The oft-uttered phrase “ancillary is the new primary” describes the rise in the number of specialized sofas, benches, chairs, side tables, and conference tables that populate the myriad break out/flex spaces open offices necessitate. Together these two influences have presented some interesting challenges for manufacturers.
One brand that has been particularly adept at adapting to this new reality is Peter Pepper Products, a 67-year-old company that got its start in the eponymous founder’s home. Based in the Los Angeles area, Peter Pepper Products was founded on an early recognition that taking the long view with regard to what people need in their workplaces would be a better strategy than merely responding to trends. Their rich portfolio of ancillary pieces have seen a boom in specification and appreciation from designers contending with the rise of open offices.
“As a start up in 1952, Peter Pepper’s legacy of design innovation is focused on the accessory products,” says Kip Pepper, vice president of sales and marketing at Peter Pepper Products. “And as accessories have now evolved into the ancillary product category with the change from system furniture to the open plan workplace, Peter Pepper in essence has evolved with the space planning trends to continually develop ancillary solutions for all commercial environments.”
At NeoCon, Peter Pepper Products will unveil their Slalom acoustical panels, demonstrating to the design industry that the brand is addressing the open office problem from all angles. Slalom features a light, thin, and frameless profile rendered in 100% recycled polyester fiber. For this reason they are certified GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD GOLD. The brand also offers the panels in a wide variety of colorful finishes that can pair with any interior palette.
“Our aim with Slalom is to improve the acoustic comfort and therefore the quality of the work environment,” says Pepper. “We strive for better communication and therefore better collaboration, improved concentration with an increase in productivity, and a decrease of annoyance to elevate the working spirit, comfort and enhanced overall performance.”