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My Turnstone is Your Turnstone

Chuck Anderson writes on the table he designed for Turnstone.

Chuck Anderson writes on the table he designed for Turnstone.

Chuck Anderson writes on the table he designed for Turnstone.

Chuck Anderson writes on the table he designed for Turnstone.

Chuck Anderson with the table he designed for Turnstone.

The table Chuck Anderson designed for Turnstone.

Chuck Anderson with the table he designed for Turnstone.

“Somewhere, someone decided couches at work should be hard and uncomfortable,” jokes Kevin Kuske, general manager of Turnstone. “Somewhere, a paradigm occurred where space didn’t matter at work.”
 
Small companies hinge on productivity. Many eschew workspace design, cutting costs for skinnier budgets and lower startup costs. Instead, interior design is focused on front offices and boardrooms while daily operations are stuffed behind the glitz and glamour wherever a desk or cubicle can fit as business expands. Turnstone, a two-year-old Steelcase brand, addresses these concerns for small businesses.
 
“We spent days with 18 of the most publicly acclaimed great places to work, studying,” states Kuske. “One idea, which was consistent, was having a strong culture that expresses who they are and letting individuals be themselves. You can’t argue that space doesn’t matter. When we go on vacation, we know space matters. When we go home, we know space matters.”
 
Studies reveal aesthetically enhanced environments stimulate critical thinking and problem solving skills. Artistic office space is no longer a luxury for executives. With the cubicle in decline, as stodgy isolated plots are replaced with open-air workrooms, enhancing the natural tendencies of parallel play and communication. Also, more inviting and invigorating workspaces tend to retain top talent.
 
Emphasizing that aesthetics reinforce productivity and employee well being, Turnstone teamed up with NoPattern’s Chuck Anderson for a colorful, one-of-a-kind functional office furniture piece that emphasizes outside-the-box thinking. The Campfire Paper Table captures Anderson’s frenetic style.
 
“I think the Campfire Paper Table was the right size. It seemed like a natural choice given the format,” states Anderson, who has collaborated with such high profile clients as Nike, Microsoft, and ESPN. “I love to draw. For me, it was a natural choice. We’re so used to drawing on a normal sheet of paper -- and with this piece, I worked in a complete circle.”
 
Turnstone gave Anderson free reign over the design, which took him about a week to line and color in marker. The exclusive piece is reproduced and available in limited quantities of 30 tabletop prints and 20 glass fractures.
 
“Artists are small business owners,” explains Kuske.
 
This isn’t the first time Turnstone has reached beyond the architects and traditional designers for artists. This past October saw Turnstone’s new online office design tool, Design My Space 3D, at the center of a weekly contest that tapped the inner-interior designer of small businesses throughout the country. Those that posted their designs using the free online tool had a chance at having their designs chosen and winning office furniture. 
 
Design My Space 3D utilizes the Unity video game engine to create an immersive 3D rendering of an office interior. Picking from streamlined menus, small businesses are able to dodge meddlesome middlemen and costly design firms for an office interior that is affordable, matches, and can be purchased with one click.   
 
“A little over three years ago, we were asked to reinvent the business around do-it-yourself small business owners,” Kuske says. “No one focused on them. We were challenged to reinvent how we would solve their problems. A small company that knows they want to do something, but needs help.”
 
Influenced by lovemyhome.net, which harnessed gaming technology for 3D residential spaces, Turnstone formed a unique partnership that presented the first version of the digital mapping sketch after six months. It forced Turnstone to demystify space planning.
 
“[Small business owners] don’t know about hallway widths, building codes, where electrical wiring needs to be,” says Kuske. “That’s where our digital mapping sketch came from. And now it’s simple.”
 
Perhaps someday we’ll be able to design a Chuck Anderson-inspired office using the Design My Space 3D tool. No doubt, chairs and conference tables containing the chaos of Anderson’s inks would be brilliant -- and it may not be farfetched.
 
“You know, I’d love to do something with fabric. Maybe if my art was printed onto a chair or couch,” muses Anderson, his voice growing distant in thought.   
 
Turnstone is always looking for new artists to profile and possibly collaborate with on something new. Aside from profiling Anderson, past projects include partnering with sustainable skills building company 2Fysh, utilizing Kenyan artisans and weavers. Visit MyTurnstone to design your own workspace, stay informed of upcoming contests, and see more of Chuck Anderson’s Campfire Paper table.
 
Anderson’s extensive and impressive online portfolio can be viewed at NoPattern.com.
 
Matt Simpson Siegel is a Michigan-based writer whose work has appeared in print, film, radio, and television. He is also a contributing writer for REVUE Magazine, and has covered NoPattern and Chuck Anderson for Rapid Growth Media before here
 
Photography by Adam Bird
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