The digital transformation in commercial interiors
We recently chatted with Michael Kanoza, a product graphics analyst in the special visual collaboration department (how’s that for a job title!) about how Steelcase stays ahead of workplace trends to create spaces that help people work, learn, and heal.
Steelcase was established in 1912. Their first patent was for a metal wastebasket; replacing wicker with steel was a lifesaving innovation at that time in crowded cities where fires spread quickly. Since then, the company established roots as a top office furniture manufacturer. Though, they aren’t just any furniture manufacturer. Steelcase differentiates itself with its deep knowledge in the commercial interiors industry as well as its special visual collaboration department. This department helps communicate bespoke products before they are manufactured. Over the years, Steelcase has been at the forefront in commercial interiors transformation. Between the digital transformation and changing regulatory requirements, Kanoza has seen the industry grow and transform. These changes have driven product design as well as the way Steelcase works with its clients. Instead of only manufacturing one-size-fits-all workplace furniture, they’ve had to adapt to custom requirements and consultation needs. In the office furniture business, there has always been a need to produce what’s known as a ‘special’. Producing ideas and communicating them in a quick, visual format for space planning software is key.
Trends, trends, and more trends
So, what attracts employees to “third places”?
Connecting design to customer values
Using technology to innovate
A SketchUp workflow
Design validation and application studies
This function helps clients and furniture dealers visualize what a new (special) product will look like when it’s manufactured. To help with visualization, they use 3D models of a special product and place them into the floor plan. This design validation and study establishes the clients’ needs before requesting a mock-up or prototype of the product.
Special design visual communication
Sharing SketchUp knowledge around the globe
The use of SketchUp at Steelcase is not just limited to the United States. They use it across the globe at other business centers. Kanoza even hosts a global meeting where each region of the world shares SketchUp best practices.
“The benefits I see are the interoperability of the platform, ease of use, and a fast learning curve. It allows all of our departments to collaborate on special product design quotes, fast and effectively.”
Learn more about Steelcase.