Designing for ‘the environment of conversation’ – the Bayou collection

Jul 24, 2019
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Created with human interaction and collaboration in mind, the Bayou collection forges moments for working, gathering and relaxation.

It wasn’t so long ago that offices revolved mostly around our desks. But as our attitudes to work and workplace culture evolve, the idea of ‘work soft’ environments is gaining momentum. And it was through this future-focused lens that designer Frag Woodall of eponymous studio Mr.Fräg set out creating the Bayou collection.

Meaning a slow-moving stream or body of water, Bayou, which was designed for Swiss Design and is exclusive to Zenith, is a modular system inspired by conversation, the way we meet and greet, and the sociology of interaction. As its name suggests, this collection of furniture pieces come together creating a contemplative environment of seating, tables, ottomans and screens.

Speaking to ADR, Woodall explains the design thinking behind the collection.“There is always an environment or context in mind and this speaks directly to the design typology and resolution,” he says.

Mr.Fräg design bayou collection

“So with Bayou, the environment is that slightly undefined space between arriving and doing, it’s that incidental space where chat is convivial and pleasant, and not so task orientated. Integrating softer elements like planters, angled modules and the diffused screening all play a part in setting the tone for this ‘work soft’ environment.

“However, my design thinking process really focused in on the ‘environment of conversation’ and the way we do business. This is at the heart of Bayou’s DNA. It is a modular seating system that is designed with human interaction and conversation in mind.”

The design went through a number of iterations along with much experimentation and testing of ideas before arriving at the final product, explains Woodall.

Mr.Fräg design bayou

“Some of these [initial] ideas go nowhere, however, it is this accumulative dialogue that enables us to arrive at a design language that is both coherent and clear,” he says. “For mine, the final design does convey a soft openness where intimacy and curiosity both live.”

System elements for Bayou include both short and long segments and 120-degree angled modules. Metal features are powder coated with a warm textured tone and a suggestion of privacy and seclusion is further defined by the soft diffused screening that is freestanding.

This modular system balances coffee tables, side tables and planters as they work alongside casual sofas creating areas for waiting, resting and meeting.

Find out more about the collection here.

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