Paul Dingley of JEB Group and Sally Tam of Lexta shed light on workplace trends that are shaping their product offerings and how sustainability is becoming an integral part of their business strategies.
20 October, 2023
Since 1991, JEB Group (JEB) has supplied high quality acoustic partitions, furniture solutions, architectural finishes and bespoke architectural solutions to offices, airports, retail spaces and education centres all over Asia. It represents brands such as Walter Knoll, Vitra, se:dus, 9am, Koplus and Lexta Furniture (Lexta).
Lexta, JEB’s latest addition to its portfolio, was incepted in 2018 and based in Guangzhou, China. The partnership emerged organically, with JEB discovering Lexta through recommendations from designers. IndesignliveAsia caught up with Sally Tam, Founder and Managing Director of Lexta; and Paul Dingley, Managing Director of JEB at the recent FIND Design Fair Asia, to learn more about this unique partnership and their solutions for adaptable workplace.
How have you observed workplace trends in Asia, and how do these trends impact your product offerings?
Paul Dingley: Workplace trends are in constant flux, primarily driven by evolving market demands, shifting mindsets, and the unique expectations of different generations. These shifts influence not only the way businesses operate but also the expectations of clients and designers. Our role is to maintain a balance between these factors, gather insights from various stakeholders, and provide solutions that help business owners maximise their strategies.
How do your current product offerings support market demand?
Sally Tam: At Lexta, we prioritise listening to our clients, designers, and dealers to create furniture collections that align with current trends and market demand. The feedback loop involves understanding consumer behaviour, the need for collaboration and employee wellness, and then working collaboratively to design and manufacture furniture that meets those needs. We ensure short lead times for locally made, high-quality products through partnerships with JEB, which strengthens our supply chain and ensures products are in demand.
How do your furniture products support resimercial design, and can you highlight specific product lines that cater to this trend?
Sally Tam: Resimercial design, which blends residential and commercial aesthetics, has gained popularity. To cater to this trend, we’ve introduced collections like Parc and Lodge. Parc focuses on modular seating that promotes collaboration, while Lodge offers privacy solutions with movable screens and modular systems. These products align with the new workplace trend where people want to collaborate in flexible and comfortable settings.
Have you noticed any significant shifts in product demand post-COVID, particularly in the context of the hybrid work model?
Paul Dingley: Post-COVID, we observed a shift from hesitation about in-person interactions to a strong desire for collaboration and strategic discussions within the office. Companies also placed a higher emphasis on upgrading partitioning systems to enhance acoustic performance and reduce echo during virtual meetings. Additionally, there has been a notable increase in demand for phone booths to facilitate impromptu meetings and phone calls, supporting the hybrid work model.
With the downsizing of office spaces due to hybrid work, how do your product offerings address the need for modularity and wellness aspects in interior fit-outs?
Sally Tam: Downsizing offices led to a focus on flexibility and customisation. We address this by offering modular furniture that can be tailored to the available space and customised to match a company’s brand colours and identity. Additionally, we empower designers to create unique designs and work closely with JEB for rapid customisation and delivery, ensuring clients have the flexibility they need.
Are your products built to order, and what advantages does this approach offer?
Sally Tam: Yes, all our products are made to order. This approach significantly reduces waste, aligns with our sustainability goals, and ensures that we produce only what clients require. It allows us to customise furniture according to specific size, colour, and material preferences, providing clients with precisely what they need.
What sustainability initiatives do your companies undertake to reduce environmental impact?
Paul Dingley: We are focused on preventing furniture from ending up in landfills and have launched initiatives such as Sustainable Office Solutions (SOS) in 2021. This business arm works with companies to provide a sustainable inventory management program that facilitates responsible reuse and distribution of unwanted office furniture and equipment, through client reuse and staff take home programs, donations to charities or schools, and responsible recycling responsibly when necessary. Our efforts have resulted in over 95 per cent of office equipment being diverted from landfills.
What future plans and initiatives can we expect from Lexta and JEB?
Sally Tam: For Lexta, our sustainability efforts will continue to evolve. We are ISO certified, which ensures our commitment to quality, environmental responsibility, and employee safety. Additionally, we plan to focus on the Asia-Pacific region, with a goal to reduce shipping costs for clients and minimise our carbon footprint through local production.
Paul Dingley: Our future plans involve integrating our social and environmental values throughout our business operation, expanding our global capabilities and strengthening our partnerships with clients to deliver innovative, curated solutions, and a seamless customer experience. We aim to provide consistent quality, product delivery, and support to global firms with a clear focus on sustainability. Our commitment towards sustainable and responsible product design includes working closely with our supply chain, brand partners, and globally recognised certification bodies to help us learn, develop, and deliver solutions which minimise the impact our business has on the environment.
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