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The Power of the Experiential Showroom

Haworth is applying a new vision for its Asia Pacific showrooms, and in the process, providing a physical representation of its ‘organic workspaces’ strategy.

  • Haworth, Japan

  • Haworth, Japan

  • Haworth, Hong Kong

  • Haworth, Hong Kong

  • Haworth, Hong Kong

  • Haworth, Shanghai



BY Narelle Yabuka

12 January, 2017


In the Asia Pacific region, the conception of the furniture or product showroom as a static container for display has been increasingly challenged and overcome in recent years. Today’s most progressive showrooms are locations as desirable as those where a brand’s products will end up after a sale. The region’s best showroom spaces are experiential centres for learning rather than mere backdrops for transaction – places with their own identifiable presence.

Haworth is unveiling a holistic new vision in its Asia Pacific showrooms that not only supports its product offering, but that provides a physical representation of its ‘organic workspaces’ strategy for workplace design. More than demonstrating Haworth’s principles to its customer base, the showrooms also support Haworth team members in their own day-to-day work, thus serving as workplace testing grounds as much as showcases of the Haworth product portfolio.

“The vision for Haworth showrooms in Asia Pacific is to have a platform for us to create a consistent brand experience. Through the physical demonstration of organic workspace strategy, we want to achieve a strong local presence and an inspiring space,” says Liz Teh, Haworth’s Head of Design in Asia Pacific.

She continues, “We use these spaces to show our design point of view, our place research, and our knowledge. By understanding work styles, workspaces and culture, we are able to take a perspective on shaping the work environments we are in. And in turn, we can share this learning on space, products and wellness with our customers.”

There are a number of core foundation elements considered when Haworth creates a showroom experience. The first of these is the spatial experience. The showroom is thought of as a seamless experiential space with a variety of zones where customers can encounter products in different settings and where team members can move around throughout the day to suit their work activities. Spaces in which to think (for concentrated work), see (for showcasing products), do (for heads-down work on tasks) and connect (for interactions) are defined in accordance with Haworth’s ‘Competing Values Framework’.

A layer of local specificity is applied to provide inspiration and a means of connection. Says Teh, “It’s important for us to reflect the local culture and history with artefacts that are locally sourced.” Traditional craftsmanship, local painting and photography styles, and locally sourced curios are part of the showroom experience.

The second foundation element that determines the showroom experience is consideration of trends. The drivers of design innovation in today’s workplaces are taken into account for the development of each showroom.

Thirdly, wellness is given due consideration. “Where we work plays an important role in how well we perform.” Teh adds, “Our work environment is a major influencer of human behaviour, so when we design Haworth offices, we consider designing for wellness in a holistic way. This means considering all aspects that a human needs to do meaningful and productive work.”

The fourth foundation element is technology, and in Haworth’s view there are three main categories of technology to be considered for the company’s own showrooms and for workplaces in general: collaborative technologies (that support communication between multiple people), informative technologies (that collect and track data – including Haworth Analytics), and mobilisation technologies (that increase and support the mobilisation of a workforce). These technologies are applied as needed to suit the Haworth teams in each location.

But the core approach to planning the Haworth showroom spaces, suggests Teh, is to recognise the need for consistent change. “The future of the workspace is in its flexibility to adapt to evolving work styles, cultures and innovation in products.” And in that regard, Haworth’s APAC showrooms are an avenue for constant learning as much as a demonstration of the latest products and thinking.


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