Business / product design
Mobile and ergonomic work solutions
Innovative furniture that supports a full-flex working mode. movo is a mobile office unit, taking up minimum surface area whilst simultaneously facilitating comfort and functionality.
Last year was a pivotal one for the whole world. The events of 2020 prompted people and businesses to find new ways of communicating, working and connecting. Work from home, which was, until last year, reserved for freelancers and a small number of professionals, suddenly became a must for everyone who does their job sitting in front of a computer. One of the responses was – movo.
movo is a collection of mobile office units designed to fit every home or office space. Every unit can be moved, folded, and locked while fully equipped with outlets and charging stations.
The brand was first introduced at the Zagreb Design Week 2020, responding to the given theme of the festival – ‘New Normal’. The company behind the brand is Sobočan, a family-owned manufacturer of furniture and equipment with over 20 years of industry experience.
We asked them a few questions about the challenges they needed to overcome to launch the brand and how customers accepted this new concept.
You introduced movo at Zagreb Design Week 2020. Why did you decide to present a new concept to designers first?
Zagreb Design Week is a central place for the design industry in Croatia. We somehow considered it logical to present our new product first to our colleagues and present it on our domestic market before going abroad.
In addition, the theme of Design Week, where we showed the movo for the first time, was ‘New Normal’, so almost all the design solutions presented in some way offered an answer to the changing way of life and work due to the pandemic.
It was essential for us to hear our design experts’ opinion and feel the reaction of the visitors. We were delighted that our movo managed to thrill them and prove that Croatian design can be innovative and edgy.
After 20 years of design and production of office and retail elements, what was it like to design a ‘compressed’ variant, in which you had to put all the office elements in ½ square meters?
The big challenge was to compress all the office characteristics into one functional unit whose main features are movable, lockable and equipped with a power and USB box. movo is more than a functional work unit; it is a designer piece of furniture.
It was really exciting to create a product like this. Working on the solution, we exceeded our expectations with the functionality we managed to achieve. At the same time, we created an attractive design element that fits perfectly into any space, at the office or home.
What was the main challenge? Was it technical or functional? What were the challenges in the process of design and production?
The main challenge was the lockdown. Because of that, we could not have the whole team together during the process, so we needed to be creative in overcoming that obstacle. The design challenge has been to keep the product clean and straightforward and, at the same time, to satisfy all the goals of office space.
How much time did you need to develop and produce a new movo line? How many people worked on the project?
We did the first sketches in a couple of days, while the prototype was finished in four months. After that, we fine-tuned the technical details, but the general design remained similar to the first sketches. We are a team of three designers, two technologists and a whole enthusiastic production and quality control team.
Did you have a chance to try your products? If yes, what are your impressions and would you do something different today?
At Sobočan, we use them in our everyday work, and we are highly satisfied with all movo models. Since we have eight different models, everyone can easily find the model that best suits their needs and work habits and fits into the available space.
movo models give us a chance to redesign our office spaces. If we need more space for a big meeting, we close them and move them to another room. The common feature of all movo models is exceptional functionality, mobility and adaptability to any space and working conditions.
These are mobile work units that take up minimal space and, at the same time, provide maximum functionality and comfort.
Since work-from-home is here to stay, do you intend to make additions to your collection?
Yes, as time goes and the home office concept is here to stay, we are looking for new innovative ways to improve and create new movo models.
We recently introduced the eighth model to the market – THE STARLIGHT, created on the occasion of the first birthday of the movo brand. It is a lighter and more affordable version of THE STAR model. It consists of an upper part almost identical to its related model and a lower metal base made of black steel pipes of elegant design. It fits easily and quickly into a work unit, and when assembled, it takes up minimal space. The upper part is made of plywood coated with HPL laminate, which is highly resistant and pleasant to the touch. Unlike other models, it does not contain wheels, and due to its light construction, it is easily positioned within the selected space.
Which module is your bestseller or most attractive to the market?
Our customers’ comments are excellent, and in just one year since it was introduced, movo has been recognised in the domestic and foreign markets as the optimal solution for a functional workplace in any space. THE STAR model is our bestseller, THE FREE SPIRIT is the most interesting together with THE STARLIGHT.
In addition, movo has won three prestigious international design and innovation awards: the German Innovation Award winner 2021, the Iconic Awards – Innovative interior 2021 and the BIGSEE Wood design award 2021.
What is the profile of your customers?
We live in a dynamic and challenging time that requires quick adjustments to change. The coronavirus pandemic has also spurred new reflections on work and living space. As working from home became a necessity, it quickly replaced office work and imposed itself as an acceptable and effective work model.
On the other hand, it is being questioned how much isolation is affecting the well-being of employees and how to create an optimal balance of work from home and office work. It all resulted in the different organisation of office space where more and more attention is on creating a flexible workspace.
movo gave the right answer to all these challenges. Hence, our customers have chosen to work from home as their primary way of working, students with part-time jobs, CEOs, hotels, co-working hubs, interior designers and similar.
The pop-up store in Berlin closes in a few days. What are your impressions?
We are satisfied with the pop-up store’s attendance in Berlin and the feedback from our customers and visitors.
The German market is critical to us, and in this way, we’ve received feedback first-hand and learned that customers are ready to accept a new and different product.
Indeed, this kind of presence is also helpful in our further strategic thinking, primarily about product promotion. The positive feedback from the German market is also a tailwind for us to open pop-up stores in other European cities.