Longhouse has been a popular workplace solution and won the “Kapok Product Design Award” since it was launched in 2019. Recently, Alibaba becomes the first to experience this amazing product. Let’s take a look at the design story of Longhouse.
Once we mention Longhouse, we have to give tremendous credits to its designer – Mr. Marc Fong. In an interview with INTERNI, Mr. Marc Fong, the Design Director of Lamex, discuss how office furniture can satisfy the physical and emotional needs of human, and how Longhouse adapts over times.
Q: As a product designer, how are your dynamic work and life background affecting your designs?
A: Design is more than just creating beautiful things, but also about solving problems and capturing the pulse of the modern community. While I was travelling, I purchased and used many different things. All the things I used seemed to be my eyes to see the world from different angles. Because I speak different languages, I am able to get in touch with those details and cultural clues that are always forgotten by people. When I was young, I experienced an emotional dilemma. I felt thankful to get sympathy and encouragement from peers. It taught me the importance of kindness and sincerity. Kindness and sincerity are guiding me for the creative works. As a designer, I always ask “how can I make it better for you?” As a corporate, we have to ask “how can we make the product reasonably priced so that everyone can afford it? This is what Lamex is always chasing for.
Q: The unique shape of Longhouse is inspired by architecture. From the perspective of product design, Lamex products are very unique in terms of shape, materials and colors. Does it mean that the rationality and functionality are now compromised for being fashionable, trendy and modern?
A: We treat users as a human with physical and emotional needs. Longhouse is inspired by the sustainable development of people for more than thousands years old. The development of Longhouse symbolizes our respect for humanity and our advice for making our lives better. Not only our physical needs, it also satisfies our emotional needs while it helps people relax from pressure, sharing and collaborating. The modular ability of Longhouse enables users to form different configurations for different communities, adapting to all dimensional changes in the workplace community in a flexible manner. We wonder how product will shift and adapt for the future work. But I believe that it is always important to shape up a design that is able to capture the pulse of the modern community to create a trend that everyone follows.
Q: How would you advise to play with office furniture, space planning, lighting and other elements to create a workplace that has stories and is able to foster creativity and enthusiasm for people and the company?
A: Maybe there is no one best solution to directly improve people productivity and creativity. But we know that people active engagement is one of the critical factors. Furniture is like a vessel for socializing. Longhouse can satisfy the needs for focus works, collaboration and rest, aiming to create a dynamic workplace that human truly need and want.
Longhouse is the community with warmth. Alibaba is the first to experience Longhouse community. Longhouse is comprised of 3 constituents: Bench, Social Table and Pavilion. It creates a community where we can focus on work, collaborate efficiently, relax and recharge quickly.
The Bench allows us to have personal time and space to concentrate and focus on work. The Bench comes with End Extension and Shared Surface that allow quick discussion and collaborative with people. It saves times from moving to a conference area for discussion or meeting. The Social Table makes it easy for 4-6 people meeting and collaboration in a causal environment. It will be a good fit for creative meeting, sharing, learning and video conferencing.
We work, collaborate, communicate, meet and rest in Longhouse, making it an ideal community for individual and group work. It results in greater work engagement and satisfaction among members, fostering high efficiency and close relationship among and within teams.
Technology has transformed the way we work today. With the rise of automation, our unique human traits such as creative problem-solving, reasoning, negotiation and empathy will become more important than ever. Individual work on the other hand will diminish. Collaboration, and works involving more than one person, will become more important than ever and the dominant way of working in the future. Let’s have a look on the project image of Longhouse.