This week we spend time with Serge Plasschaert, who has over 20 years of industry experience. We get an insight into his role in the company, his story of how he came to TA and what he would personally choose as his favourite Herman Miller chair.
1. What is your job role within TA?
I was hired on to lead the market development in Luxembourg and Belgium. We’ve recently kicked off in Luxembourg with a team of two highly experienced people. Our commitment to providing great furniture solutions paired with excellent customer service will help us grow quickly in this market and propel us to create momentum in the neighbouring Belgium as well.
2. What trends in interiors are arising in Belgium and Luxembourg currently/in the future?
With the pandemic, companies have had to be more supportive of their people working from home, much more so than in the past. I still see companies investing heavily in office environments but from a more creative, inviting and interesting way to entice workers. The office now has to compete against the home office. Given the many mandates over the past years from the government in Belgium for people to work from home almost entirely, I do sense that people want to spend more time in the office to reconnect socially with their co-workers. Working in the office five days a week is probably a thing of the past though.
3. How does the industry differ in Europe to California?
Having just recently moved here from California, it’s difficult for me to say what the differences are. While in California, I was fortunate to experience the forward workplace design thinking of leading global tech firms like Google, Facebook, Adobe etc.. who have lead the US office environment’s evolution from a highly individually focused, private environment supported by high cubicle walls to a much more open, purpose built environment that supports many different individual and team work styles. My initial impression of Europe is that this part of the world has been ahead of the States in terms of creating spaces that are supportive of team work and that provide everyone in the office with access to daylight. Culturally, Europeans seem to be much more comfortable with smaller personal spaces as compared to California.
From a buildings perspective, one big difference is that the vast majority of buildings in the US do not have raised floors, which affects how power and data are handled in the building and furniture.
4. How has the industry developed over the past 25 years?
The industry has definitely globalised a lot more and organisations are creating more interesting, purpose built environments for their people globally. It was all about maximizing planning density for the US, now it is much more about the experience and truly supporting all the different types of work people do at the office. As a result, the industry has developed into a more creative and interesting one.
5. Do we go over and beyond environmentally with anything?
We represent Herman Miller, and they have always been a leader in being environmentally conscious so this has pushed us too. For more and more customers, being environmentally conscious is non-negotiable when selecting products and brands, so through the influence of leading manufacturers – we definitely are more environmentally conscious. Key aspects are durability, safety of materials used, and ease of disassembly and repurposing. It sounds easier than it is and requires the buy-in and collaboration of the entire supply chain, including the customer.
6. Are you working on any projects with any new and exciting high technology?
Of course video conferencing is becoming more and more important which affects our spaces. But as technology constantly changes, I am of the belief that furniture needs to be flexible and technology-agnostic so it can better support the ever and fast changing technology tools.
7. Do you believe the industry is diverse enough?
More diversity is definitely a key topic to talk about and explore, it’s very important to at least take the time to seriously think about it and ask the question. Don’t think I can give you a simple, one sentence, ‘yes/no’ answer.
8. What’s your favourite Herman Miller chair?
They’re all really good! But the Mirra Chair is very comfortable AND a fun looking chair, I like all the different colours and designs that you can choose, while at the same time being comfortable. It has functionality and aesthetics.
That’s a wrap!
A very big thank you to Serge for sitting down with us this week and giving us such a detailed and informed insight into the industry and his experiences within it. Don’t forget to keep up to date on our Linkedin for everything Tsunami Axis and to follow us on our social media platforms:
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