Designed with circularity in mind, Koru by Studio Elk is a new modular home office furniture system available via a subscription model.
With an estimated 1.2 million office desks and 1.8 million office chairs ending up in UK landfill every year (according to WRAP), the need for an industry shift towards circular and closed-loop alternatives is critical. Determined to be a part of the solution to this ever-growing issue, London-based industrial designers Studio Elk have launched a work-from-home furniture subscription concept which, as pressure upon employers to provide equipment for those working from home increases, is a timely release.
The system, titled Koru and comprising of a desk, chair and accessories such as a desk tray, laptop stand and light, is centred around modularity with it designed to be easily reconfigured as and when needs and spaces change. And rather than buying the system outright, businesses will pay a monthly subscription fee which covers delivery, assembly, repairs and returns – a welcome alternative to the high-value office furniture that often goes to waste as business requirements change. With a range of flexible packages to choose from, this practical solution not only removes the hassle for employers but simultaneously provides a customised, design-led home office set-up for employees without any compromise on their interior design style.
Rethinking ownership is the key to a circular economy, especially as our lives have become increasingly nomadic and transient following the rise of remote working post-Covid. In providing such flexibility it also enhances employee fulfilment with the offer of a personalised workspace often seen as a favourable choice by many when selecting jobs, especially for those with accessibility needs. Koru also allows brands to expand and diversify with a future-focussed mindset, helping to reframe sustainability as a corporate advantage and not just a box-ticking exercise. Added to that, the commercial benefits also stand out in avoiding the huge overhead of a permanent space fully fitted with office equipment. As the scheme expands and reduces according to the demands of the business at any given time, it allows for an efficient and lean business model to thrive.
Focused on creating products that can make a difference, especially with an environmental awareness, Studio Elk has worked with a variety of clients such as Panasonic, IKEA and JosephJoseph. This latest venture exemplifies its user-centred approach to design with the variety of customisation options available within the furniture system. The desk can be altered through its aluminium extrusions and die cast corners, while the attachment system allows for a variety of accessory add-ons. Its aesthetic offers a warm contrast to the often stark and clinical appearance of corporate office furniture, with the plywood surfaces and recycled aluminium frames bringing a softer touch to the office environment.
By designing with the next life of each product in mind, as each component can be easily replaced, it showcases the accountable mindset the studio is taking for the designs it produces. And, in offering this Product-as-a-Service business model, the studio is responding to the shifts and demands of businesses today, but with future generations in mind. As its Founder and Creative Director Tony Elkington states, “Koru is designed for People, Planet and Profit. It demonstrates that businesses can deliver greater value to their customers and unlock tangible commercial benefits, while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint and waste. This shift in business mindset is crucial for turning sustainability from an obligation into a strategic advantage.”
Images courtesy of Studio Elk.