Summit by Snøhetta for Hightower’s +Halle brand embodies all that the workplace is striving for today: flexibility, connection and most importantly fun. The brainchild of one of +Halle’s Annual Briefings—when architects, urban planners, behavioral scientists, cultural entrepreneurs and more are invited to gather and create based off relevant discussion themes—Summit is a modular benching system of five base pieces (Curve Small, Curve Medium, Curve Large, Straight and Wave) and so so many possibilities for their configuration (over 50 mini fixed “shapes” they can be built into to be exact, that can then be connected magnetically by the user to make even larger formations.)
“This is very much a social tool,” explained Marius Myking, director of product design for Snøhetta, where a big driver for his team was the realization that they were developing something others can be creative with. “And being social, being with people, is such an important part of our DNA.”
At the +Halle Annual Briefing, they came together with philosophers and anthropologists to discuss what “sharing” truly means and determined that what proper sharing requires is intimacy—whether that’s between just two people or many. So, at the core of their mission with Summit was to find different ways to create intimacy in a space that didn’t involve fixed built-ins, settling instead on the idea of movable landscapes.
“The end user can really customize it to their needs,” said Jessica Ahlering, director of revenue operations for Hightower, who is the process of “localizing” Summit for production in the U.S., giving them better quality control and options. Power capabilities will be available and there are lots of graded-in upholstery partners to choose from as well, including Kvadrat featured on our cover and on the Summit installation that will be in the Hightower showroom during NeoCon. Staff will rearrange it into a new configuration around mid-day each day of the show, volleying between two different arrangements and showing the product’s abilities in real time.
“It’s a very special project for us,” said Myking, as the team began conceptualization prior to the pandemic and it is now being launched after it when so many of us are trying to find new ways to bring people together in person. Facilitating a great office culture is one step toward doing so, and great design and products help achieve it. Myking explained that at the Snøhetta offices in Oslo, Norway, seating arrangements are done by lottery, making room for the “unplannable circumstances” to actually happen, something impossible to do digitally. It looks like with Summit they’ve found a way to transfer that vital spontaneous energy to others.