\ Creative Spaces: Tangram Teams with Microsoft and Steelcase to Perform the Ultimate Physical and Digital Balancing Act
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Creative Spaces: Tangram Teams with Microsoft and Steelcase to Perform the Ultimate Physical and Digital Balancing Act

By Paul Smith, Chief Marketing Officer of Tangram


There's no doubt about it: modern workplaces can't function properly without their tech. Whether it's desktop computers or mobile devices, professionals in all industries need to stay connected to be productive. From tablets to drawing pads, the move toward an all-digital work environment means that analog elements are fully on their way out. As Millennials continue to join the workforce, we're moving further and further away from office environments stocked with people who prefer to use analog means to take notes in meetings, write messages to colleagues, share ideas or just post reminders to themselves on their desks.




The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming a major force in the workplace, and that means the physical environment of an office space needs to adapt accordingly. Technology touches all facets of the ideal contemporary work environment, and everything, from whiteboards to notepads, needs to be plugged in and versatile to stay relevant. Simply shoehorning new tech into an old office isn't going to work. There has to be a revolution in the way we approach the integration of digital solutions into physical spaces.

Image courtesy Microsoft

This is the concept at the heart of the Creative Spaces initiative launched by Steelcase and Microsoft, two titans in the office furniture and technology industries. Tangram Interiors is one of just 12 Steelcase dealers nationwide selected to participate in this initiative. As the average office environment becomes increasingly digitized, the lines between technology and furniture gets increasingly blurred. Workers need furniture that supports digital collaboration and fosters creativity. The Creative Spaces initiative is wholly focused on supporting those efforts through the development of flexible, collaborative workspaces that enhance both individual focus and cooperative teamwork through the use of smart tech and innovative furniture. 

A collaboration between companies like Steelcase, which has been a leader in office furniture design for more than a century, and Microsoft, signals the increasing intersection of the digital and the physical in the workplace. Mundane tasks like data collection and tracking are increasingly automated, which is causing professionals to dig deep and access their creative skills as part of their changing job roles. This change is borne out in research performed jointly by Microsoft and Steelcase as part of their Creative Spaces efforts. The way we work is changing, and our physical environment has to evolve to keep up with that shift.

Microsoft and Steelcase found that 76% of workers across a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing believe their creativity is more important than ever as technology continues to change the way they do their jobs. 

Tangram Interiors President and CEO Joe Lozowski is enthusiastic about the marriage between new technology and leading-edge workplace planning. "The Steelcase and Microsoft collaboration will bring a new level of integration to thoughtfully created spaces that offer the optimum mix of architecture, furniture and technology all working in sync. We're very excited to be part of this effort."

As a participant in the Microsoft Partner Network, Tangram Interiors now has the ability to include Microsoft Surface products as part of their office furniture offerings. This includes the Surface Hub, a next-generation collaboration tool that replaces static whiteboards and slideshow screens with a multitouch-enabled screen on which workers can draw, swipe, sketch and display their work for greater creative collaboration. The idea of using markers to draw on a board and then erasing all that work is a thing of the past, and companies like Tangram want to help their clients step forward into a more efficient future with superior tech solutions. The Creative Spaces initiative is the ideal platform to make that forward movement possible.

Tangram Interiors is a particularly good fit for the partnership between Microsoft and Steelcase. Tangram has been a major Steelcase dealer since the mid-20th century, but the company has evolved with the needs of its customers, resulting in a versatile approach to workspace innovation that combines initiatives like tech integration, which is handled through the Tangram Technology division, and custom workspace design, which is the purview of Tangram Studio. This multifaceted approach to office environment creation is perfect for a modern professional landscape that sees employees moving from individual focus to tech-enabled collaboration throughout the day. 

Office workers no longer sit still at their desks all day pushing papers. They shift their posture, stand up, walk to colleagues' workstations, move to collaborative workspaces or conference rooms, and even take their work into their office's lounge area to settle in and generate their best ideas. The Creative Spaces initiative embraces this new reality, allowing innovative companies like Tangram Interiors to continue offering the kind of solutions that keep their clients competitive and agile in an environment that drives change and success with creativity. 

Paul Smith is Chief Marketing Officer of Tangram, an interior and workplace solutions company focusing on furniture, flooring and technology based in Southern California. He launched his career in Portland, specializing in user experience and marketing within shared spaces. His work with hospitality leaders, including Bruce Carey Restaurants, led to developing locations in Los Angeles. 

Soon afterward, Paul was recruited by Tangram to develop and implement a progressive marketing department and strategic direction. Additional positions include Director of Marketing for Sunset Mortgage Company in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Paul earned his undergraduate degree in Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master's degree in Business Administration from George Fox University.


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