Form Meets Function: Our Design Process For Collaborative Office Furniture

TOP-TEC is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of collaborative office furniture. However there are many stages prior to the manufacturing of the collaborative equipment. In the world of design, there have always been differing schools of thought. Some focused on the idea that functionality is the most important aspect of design and that if the product performs its function correctly, then it can be considered a success. Others believe that form or “aesthetics” are the be all and end all. They believe that how good a product looks determines if it will be a success.

However, most products today will be designed out of the need for a balance between two principals. Where Form Meets Function, creating something that not only fulfils its purpose, but looks great doing it.

Designing for Consumers

To most people designing a piece of furniture is simple because all it needs to do is sit there, fit in with its surroundings and look appealing. So, all any designer has to do is look at what is trendy at any particular time and roll with it… Right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Yes, trends are a fantastic way to keep your product feeling current and lots of products take advantage of that. However, products that endure the ravages of time, and never seem to go out of fashion, are those that go beyond what is popular now. They seek to establish an aesthetic of their own. Designers go to great lengths trying to achieve this. It can take years to establish a style that becomes synonymous with their brand. They’ll then apply it to precisely manufactured products that have all the functionality that their customers desire.

Meeting expectations

When it comes to collaborative office furniture, the expectations of customers become quite varied. Of course, from a functionality perspective, you may ask how much functionality can a table have? In example, important considerations to a customer could include accessibility, manoeuvrability and connectivity. The designer will need to decide what functionality they can implement into the design to meet these expectations. They must also consider how the product can solve the customers problems. They then determine how best to wrap all this up, in an aesthetically pleasing package.

We spend a great deal of time talking with people that use our products the most. This allows us to determine what functionality we need to include. Due to the fact we offer in-house design and manufacturing services, we can implement most requirements. For example, our Synergy Table has been developed over the years into a premium range of collaborative tables. While the style has changed very little, the functionality built into the table has been adjusted to suit trends in the way people communicate and collaborate. Functionality that was not there before has been added to solve problems for AV integrators and end users. For example, extra connectivity options and a wider mast to facilitate extra cables and storage. By engaging with our customers, we are able to ensure that Form Meets Function in our products.

Designing for Manufacture

When our products are first designed, they will usually go through a great deal of iterative change. The designer will look at what they want to achieve, and how they can solve problems that the customer is experiencing. Once the designer has implemented the desired functionality, the design process will turn to refining the look and feel of the collaborative office furniture, before its release to market. During a products lifecycle, our designers will revisit the process.

During this time, they’ll work out how they can improve and resolve any issues within the manufacturing process. Adjusting cuts and folds in the products structure, while maintaining a consistent style, is key to maintaining the products identity. Striking a balance between how easily the product can be manufactured, and how it will look, is another example of how Form Meets Function. It shows it’s importance in the process, that goes on throughout a products life-cycle.

Style and Identity

If you design your product to have a trendy aesthetic, it will usually have periodic style updates. This helps to ensure it remains fresh and appealing to consumers. At TOP-TEC, we are keen to look beyond trends and fads. Instead, we prefer to opt for a lasting style that can be associated with the brand. This means that year-on-year, our products aesthetics remain consistent across each range. This means that products, such as the Synergy, Gemini & Contour, are recognisable as TOP-TEC products. This doesn’t mean that the design remains static. On the contrary, improving the look and feel of our products is extremely important to us. The process is about refining the details that make our products stand out from the competition. Things such as reliability, security and the ability to customise our products are what the brand is built on.

If you love the look and functionality of our collaborative office furniture, we have a range that we are confident will meet your requirements. This can be found on our website. If you need a bespoke solution with customised functionality get in touch by speaking to a member of our team today on 0121 783 3838. Alternatively, you can get in touch via

You may also be interested in our previous article on Utilising Space Saving Technical Lecterns