Bringing home the home office

Most furniture is designed for either the home or the office. Denizen is designed for both. Coalesse, a Steelcase division, launched Denizen at NeoCon 2009, and the collection proved to be an attention getter at the annual exhibition of office and contract furniture.

Denizen has function of office furniture but the appearance of casegoods that could be at home in a living room.

Designed by Otto Williams and Jess Sorel of WilliamsSorel, Denizen is intended to be adaptable to the way people live and work. A home office can be used as a guest room, or a student or high-rise worker could combine his or her office and living room in one space.

According to Coalesse, the collection can fit in the living room, dining room and second bedroom. The pieces can be used interchangeably to create a media center and bookshelf in the family room, a computer space in the second bedroom, or as the focus of activity in the dining room.

It has features seen in contract furniture such as a cable management system that hides wires and allows for multiple points of access and a lateral files system to handle hanging files. It also includes self-closing drawers, auto-open shutters and hidden hinges.

Varied components 

Denizen is comprised of components in different sizes and surfaces, including secretaries, credenzas, towers, overhead storage, wardrobes, cube storage, work tables, benches and display boards. It also includes corkboard, keyboard support shelves and shallow bento boxes.

The pieces can be reconfigured and designed with what Coalesse calls slip-fit, which is a method of adjusting the furniture to the demands of different room sizes. (Although most components require little setup, this is not an RTA product, the company points out.)

Denizen uses MDF construction and veneers finished with low VOC coatings. Rift-cut oak, quarter-cut teak and quarter-cut gray ash are the veneer designs. No particleboard or laminates are used. The company requires that wood harvested outside North America and not from approved European suppliers be FSC certified.

Steel and cast parts used for bases and legs and are mostly powder coated. Coalesse also looked at environmentally better ways or plating metal components and is working with a domestic supplier that is using a trivalent chromium process.

In addition, Denizen is SCS indoor advantage certified and can reportedly contribute to LEED certification points in several categories.

Denizen is manufactured in New York, and is all made to order in six to eight weeks. There are no off-the-shelf components.

For residential, Coalesse describes the customer as a “professional-grade consumer . . . much like the buyer who seeks out the perfect stove that you can’t find in the normal stores.”

In the office contract world, it is intended for executives that want an alternative to the traditional private office and who want more contemporary casegoods that feel more comfortable to work in.

One such executive is Jim Hackett, CEO of Steelcase, Coalesse’s parent company. He has Denizen in his office.

With more workers moving their offices home, Denizen hopes to find a comfortably niche.

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About the author
Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected].