Making Connections with Expansion Cityline


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Expansion Cityline’s neighborhoods were shaped by the market
it serves

By Diana Mosher


The workplace conditions that make one employee happy and productive might make another colleague miserable enough to find a new job. As workplace strategists continue to grapple with this dilemma they also have to contend with shrinking floorplans, shorter leases and how to engage Millennials without alienating Baby Boomer employees.

So when Teknion launched the Expansion Cityline furniture system at NeoCon 2017 with a variety of features designed to please a range of users, it was an instant hit. The new product line won Best of NeoCon Silver in the Furniture Systems category and also took home an Interior Design Magazine HiP Award in the Workplace: Systems category.

Based on the concept of a workplace that’s as diverse as a modern city, Expansion Cityline's beam framework “acts as a highway linking different zones of social interaction, fostering exchanges and collaboration,” says Martin Geoffroy, Director, Product Management – Expansion at Teknion. “The structural beam is the backbone, providing unlimited configurations. It can be dressed up or down as needed while seamlessly linking standing-height workspaces, casual lounge seating and task-chair activity.”

"...versatility and flexibility are among the biggest features of this product line. There’s a solution for everybody"

Expansion Cityline can also be configured as a distribution fence for power and data. “In my mind, versatility and flexibility are among the biggest features of this product line. There’s a solution for everybody,” says industrial designer Martin Chenette, who led Teknion’s Expansion Cityline product design team in Quebec City.

Despite the popularity of benching systems over the past five years, many companies continue to buy panel systems. Making the transition to an open work space is not always an easy sell to the workforce.

“We also observed that a benching product can be planned only in a linear way. You can’t do a 90-degree configuration with a benching product. We thought that for some customers, benching was too much of a leap because of this limitation,” says Chenette. “It was with this semi-conservative customer in mind that we set out to design a new desk-based system. Even before we drew the first line or sketched any visual concepts, we identified key design statements.”

Guidelines for the new product included: planning flexibility with 90-degree configurations as a panel system and not another linear benching product; a pleasing and refined aesthetic (but not too edgy or “niche”) that would be accessible to a range of customers; widespread application for private workstations but also for open space with integration of collaborative space within the workstation; lots of options for acoustical and visual privacy; a good price point comparable to panel systems; and a very comprehensive storage solution.

“That was an exciting exercise,” says Chenette. “It inspired 10 strong concepts that were later narrowed down to six by the portfolio committee, and ultimately one market winner emerged. One of the secrets of our success is market validation, which leads to further adaptation and validation,” says Chenette. “We met with more than 100 A&D people who
we visited or who came here to Quebec City. We also validated with the Teknion sales force in all of North America. This lets us really design [products] that will talk to the market. It’s our way to work.” 

Cityline Image

Cityline Image