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A walk through the aisles of Orgatec, the world’s largest office furniture trade show, hints at a shift for the traditional work environment. The more forward-thinking of the 601 exhibitors have replaced veneered fibreboard with solid woods, squeaking filing cabinets with subtle personal storage units and – where appropriate – neutral washes with striking colour. In countries such as Germany and Sweden, the gap between design for home and office is narrowing.

The event was also challenging the open-plan office. Stopping short of reintroducing the…

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