Meet ‘Co-comori’ – a Japanese modular work pod that answers the call for a flexible environment which favours both social distancing and collaborative working in one system

Okamura, Japan’s foremost office furniture maker, has collaborated with tangerine to create Co-comori, an innovative modular work pod that can be rapidly deployed and arranged in a number of different orientations, to provide compact, affordable work pods within a larger open-plan environment.

The name Co-comori is inspired from the Japanese verb ‘comoru’ whose translation means ‘staying in a (secure) space’.  ‘Co’ as a prefix refers to the furniture’s ‘co-working’ capability offering an adaptable design for both individual and paired working.

Tangerine’s design concept came from research that explored the interplay between “we work” and “me work”.   Insight analysis highlighted people’s desire to use their workspace for both light concentration and deep focus – sometimes alone but at other times communicating and connecting with colleagues. These differing demands are accommodated through the design of a modular pod that be deployed in as little as 15 minutes with a transformable layout that can built to different scales and orientations. 

Each Co-comori pod has a signature angled panel wall that is higher on one side than the other. The gradation in the panel design offers people the choice of higher privacy or a more open environment depending on which direction they choose to sit within the pod. When multiple Co-comori modular pods are joined together within a space it creates a dynamic undulating visual impression.

“The distinctive design provides a single elegant solution that supports a range of different ways in which people want to work,” says Yuichi Ishihara, the Creative Director who headed up the team at tangerine.

“People’s job-demands and their mindset are not static.  So, we saw an opportunity to create a flexible space with interchangeable furniture items that can be quickly deployed and orientated to suit different situations and behavioural needs for working space. People desire flexibility throughout the day and I believe that, while the character of a work space should reflect functionality and efficiency, it should also be capable of changing mode to suit your mood as you progress throughout the day – whether you are in a relaxed or studious frame of mind or require somewhere private for introspection or socialisation with a colleague.  By thinking about both the emotional and rational needs for workspace, Okamura and Tangerine created the Co-comori concept.  The result is both unique and distinctive.”

Okamura’s product development and engineering experts have achieved a super-lightweight modular system that is easy to assemble and disassemble enabling users to change space and build their bespoke environment at will. 

Covid-19 is drastically changing work behaviour and patterns the world over, with many employees either choosing or needing to work from home. The Co-comori system offers an affordable, adaptable workspace solution for companies seeking to increase hot-desking environments that can be readily deployed or easily removed to enable them to adjust to the shifting demand from their employees.  The walled booths, with their signature sloped shape, provide effective privacy and division between workers who are seeking to socially distance and minimise contact during the pandemic.

Co-comori furniture is not designed to be confined to the office, its smart, friendly aesthetic and different expressions of texture and finish helps to bridge the gap between office and home, making it suitable for public spaces such as hotel lobbies, concourses, cafes, libraries, airports, stations – the list is endless.

DESIGN IMMERSION PROGRAMME

Co-comori is the product of a 6-month collaboration between Okamura’s design team and tangerine’s as part of the studio’s Design Immersion Programme.  Tangerine has successfully run Design Immersion for over a decade with clients including Nikon, Toto and Seiko. Design Immersion involves a period of co-creation based in Tangerine’s London studio, whereby the client is exposed to new ways of working.  Not restricted to their design departments the programme has also mentored members of the Client’s procurement, R&D and engineering departments.  All of whom have taken part in learning about tangerine’s creative culture through side-by-side working, attending workshops and cultural safaris, all delivered to inspire fresh ways of thinking and identify new market opportunities for the company. Through Design Immersion, tangerine and Okamuras’ designers created new value for the business by creating a new category of office furniture and taking it from ideation right through to manufacture.

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