2022 Next Work Environment Competition: Honorable Mentions

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Chair of the Month

Michelle Weiss
Michelle Weiss
Michelle Weiss is our Publisher. She came to us fresh from earning her small business MBA helping to start Make It Better Media, a philanthropy-based digital and print media company in Chicago’s North Shore. Prior to that, she cut her chops in the old Chicago Sun-Times Building back when you would know you’d missed your deadline when the building started shaking each evening as they fired up the presses. She’s based in a suburb of Chicago.

Honoring some of the very best submissions to our 2022 Next Work Environment Competition.


This year’s submissions brought a superior level of ideas which led to hours of discussion for our jury. Congratulations to everyone and enjoy this closer look at some of the strongest contenders in the categories of: Sustainability, Wellbeing, New to the World Solutions, Return to Office, Furniture and Work from Home. 


Honorable Mention for Sustainability & Wellbeing Categories: Turf Showroom

By Turf/HDR/Ames Design Collective/Athletics

Team Includes: Faraz Shah (Turf), Elizabeth Von Lehe (HDR), Carolyn Ames Noble (Ames Design Collective), Katherine (Athletics Team)

Submitted by: Majesty Henry

Submission Summary:

Chicago acoustics solutions company Turf opened the doors to its first showroom at theMART (Showroom 1042) in June 2022. Highlighting their place at the intersection of art, architecture, and technology, the showroom – designed by renowned global firm HDR – spotlights Turf’s ability to reshape the future of acoustic design in commercial spaces including the workplace. The approximately 4,000 square-foot space shows off Turf’s wide array of acoustic solutions and demonstrates how specifiers can use each to design welcoming spaces.  Turf’s brand relaunch, done in partnership with New York creative studio Athletics, exhibits its identity as a modular and playful brand with the new logos and branding around the showroom. The space is divided into themed rooms that guide the visitor through a sensory experience to help them understand the connections between sight, sound, smell, and proprioception (perception of body movement and position). Each room offers an in-depth look at the functionality and impact of its purposeful acoustic solutions. The showroom gives the first look at the Hues palette in action, a project the brand invested in with over two years of development alongside CMF expert Carolyn Ames Noble, ASID, WELL Faculty, USGBC Member. Each room and product showcases one of the 32 brand-exclusive colors. From outside of the showroom, visitors are greeted with a product showcase lined with Turf’s Grasshopper and Topo Green before walking through colorful rooms of varying tones including Cyan, Blush, and Rob’s Merlot. These products, as all of Turf’s solutions, are made with 60% recycled PET felt in varying thicknesses; by leveraging post-industrial waste, Turf works to minimize waste with recycled and recyclable materials.

Honorable Mention for New To World Solutions Category: Elevated Employee Experience

By JLL Experience/Spaces and FOX Architects

Team Includes: Lori Louis (JLL), Christine Hong (JLL), Lindsey Walker (JLL),  Christina McEnroe (FOX Architects), Madeline Frost (FOX Architects)

Submission Summary:

The future of work is a hospitality experience offering high-quality space, user-friendly technology, and integrated high-touch customer services. Employees look to their workspaces to connect with peers, experiences, and company culture. The Elevate concept, a collection of pre-designed and flexible workspace solutions, does just that but differently – this destination setting connects employees with the unique ethos of their organization, empowered by technology and supported by cultivated programs to enhance their experience in the workplace or remotely. This packaged approach of workspace solutions allows for expedited piloting of the future of work while supporting employees’ professional and personal growth, strengthening company culture, and improving human performance.

Elevate is a packaged design concept that can be quickly and efficiently implemented – helping reconnect the workforce to the workplace by providing an attractive destination away from an employee’s home. Additionally, through this process, an organization receives an elevated solution for piloting and implementing the future of work. Compared to the bespoke process, this approach reduces the typical design process from 6 months to 6 weeks.

Honorable Mention for Return to Office Category: Touchless Bathroom


Team Includes: Soonjae Kwon and Kibok Song

Submitted by: Matt Lapolla

Submission Summary:

With more employees returning to the office, organizations need to prioritize sanitation and hygiene in their office design – especially in common areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Touchless products help reduce the spread of germs in high-contact areas, and this fully touchless bathroom takes health and hygiene to that next level. Employees will have real peace of mind when they realize they don’t have to physically touch any of the available fixtures.

From entry, to use, to exit, each touchpoint within this bathroom has been totally eliminated. Stall doors are opened and closed using a motion sensor: simply wave your hand in front of the sensor on the outside to open the door. No more worrying about spreading germs by touching a door handle! In addition, each toilet, urinal, sink, soap dispenser and paper towel dispenser is equipped with the latest updates in touchless technology.

Honorable Mention for Return to Office Category: Salesforce: Chicago Tower

By: IA Interior Architects

Team Includes: Pietro Silva, Richelle Allen, Lee Moulton, Elizabeth Heroux, Tiffany Scharpf

Submitted by: Ashley Woo

Submission Summary:

We have defined our strategy for and design of the Chicago Tower in Four Big Moves:

FLEXIBILITY. It was important to provide a variety of activity-based spaces, including areas for focus, gathering, and movement, enabling everyone at Salesforce’s Chicago Tower to find the best space to work. For example, soft seating along the window offers heads-down space; the nook at the corner for some quick informal catch-up with a colleague; or focus booths for telephone calls. These options, in addition to desks, provide those that might be neurodivergent the ability to manage their own needs autonomously. Versatile environments that offer a range of preferences make differences less apparent, fostering equality and integration.

FOCUS AS DESTINATION. With focus being a key component of a typical Salesforce workers’ day, defined quiet spaces allow for individual heads down and focus work. The main destination space is The Library, an enclosed room with an individual seating layout, as well as one- and two-person focus booths.

COLLABORATION AS CULTURE. With employees often traveling to other floors for large meetings, the tower features conference rooms grouped in the same location on each floor for intuitive navigation. Outside of each meeting, area is a gathering and support space for visitors. Whether an employee is in the office or calling in from home, all meeting rooms are technology-enabled with different furniture options to provide an equal experience. Grouping the large meeting elements together, versus dispersed on each floor, is also cost-efficient from a mechanical and construction standpoint.

GETTING TOGETHER. The Social Lounge is the most active area of the tower with activity, buzz, and flexibility as the key ingredients. The view of the pantry area is seen upon entry, accompanied by the smell of freshly ground coffee. The furniture is flexible to support several different uses and functions. Along the South core wall of the social lounge, an area subdivided by a sliding curtain creates a separate zone for active work or an “alone together” option. With furniture changes, this area is also used for town hall events.

Honorable Mention for Furniture Category: Vaask

By: Jon Olsen

Submission Summary:

The pandemic exposed the design failure of traditional hand sanitizer options, such as always-empty automatic dispensers, inaccurate sensors that create constant messes and drips, and foul-smelling gels that dry out hands. With so many issues, it’s no surprise that many people avoid hand sanitizer, even though our hands transmit 80% of illnesses.

Introducing Vaask, the touchless hand sanitizing fixture that is the superior solution for hand hygiene. Vaask’s elegant design invites users as well as complements the most sophisticated spaces. The fixture features a PalmPilot® sensor to accurately detect hands, and its precision pump control delivers the right amount of gel every time. The refillable tank holds twice the sanitizer of typical dispensers, and an attractive array of easily customizable LEDs both remind people to clean their hands and alert personnel when it’s time to refill. Vaask keeps customers and staff healthier and demonstrates a facility’s commitment to cleanliness.

Honorable Mention for Furniture Category: MyZone® Desk Console Management System

Team Includes: Nicholas Sobotka, Atul Swamy

Submission Summary:

Ensuring employees are comfortable is a proven way to optimize productivity in a workplace. Reducing distractions and discomfort enables workers to focus on their tasks, which improves output. However, this can be difficult to accomplish with an office’s standard central HVAC system. Every workplace is filled with unique employees all with different climate preferences. There is no perfect temperature setting that can please everyone in the office all the time. The MyZone® desk console management system allows a user to personalize their workstation’s climate to a temperature that is most comfortable to them. The system attaches to a personal work surface to provide heating and cooling fans to control the temperature of the workstation to the user’s liking. These environmental preferences are controlled by a touchscreen controller that can be placed anywhere on or under the desk. This controller can also be conveniently integrated to the desk’s integral lighting and leg lift system for complete control of the workstation.

Honorable Mention for Furniture Category: ZigZag Multifunctional Bench & Table

Formaspace Team Includes: Claire Redsun, Aaron Stoneburner

Submission Summary:

The ZigZag table is a multipurpose bench seating design that includes a planter, seating, and table for standing or seated work, informal meetings, or rest space. The use and applications are widely varied from outdoor retail and hospitality spaces to commercial or office indoor/outdoor workstations. The display shown is 5’ wide with a steel frame and wood seating but other sizes and material customizations are available upon request.

The unique environmental solution that the ZigZag table provides is a versatile and multidisciplinary use for all types of commercial spaces. This table can work inside an office, outdoor, flex space, commercial or hospitality space. Due to the customization and form of the table, it can fit inside different size areas bringing a multidimensional focal point. The blending of a seated bench area with an ergonomic standing media surface is unlike many other furnishing solutions which might just provide one or the other. The ZigZag design allows for workplace flow while also providing two distinct spaces for cross functionality which benefits all different forms workforce compatibility and recreation.

Honorable Mention for Work From Home Category: Active Sitting: A cure for passive slumping in your “ergonomic” chair

Submitted by: Turner Osler, MD

Submission Summary:

We all sit, and we sit a lot, over 8 hours each day on average. But, because we still have the bodies of our hunter gatherer ancestors sitting is not only an unnatural posture, it is a profoundly unhealthy posture. The epidemiology is clear: passive sitting robs us of as much as two life years, caused by increased rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. We are unlikely to stop sitting, however, so we must find an entirely different way to sit, one that allows us to stay active while sitting. We have developed a chair that allows, actually requires, subtle, continuous movement while sitting that improves posture, strengthens core muscles, and increases metabolic rate. In short, we’ve found a way to make sitting healthy.

Coming Soon!

Other Honorable Mentions go to the following projects that won in other categories and will receive separate articles this month:

  • Community Design Laboratory by Hanbury
  • CollaborEATs: A Recipe to Move the Workplace Forward by Taking a Step Back by The S/L/A/M Collaborative
  • Work from the Cloud by KKT Architects
  • CONNECT, A Universal Co-Create Space by Design+Build Workspace

Special thanks to our 2022 Innovative Brand Partners:


Special thanks to our NEW 2022 Scholarship Sponsor:

Thank you to our 2022 Market Partners:

Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) • Allwork.Space • IFMA Foundation • ASID • ACT • CIDQ • BIFMA • GCUC

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