“Inspiring, enjoyable, and a bit dreamy.” These are the words Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola uses to describe House of Haworth, a virtual home showcasing products by the American furniture brand Haworth Inc. and collaborating brands including KOHLER. With its large pool and outdoor terrace, the elegant two-bedroom home is a cross between a domestic space and a retreat. The carefully curated interior features a soothing color palette and luxury furnishings by the likes of Cassina, Poltrona Frau, and Luminaire. “In our imagination, this is a place with a new relationship to its surroundings, expressing a closer contact with nature,” explains Urquiola, who designed the home with a calming, comfortable aesthetic.
At the heart of the project is the fact that our idea of home has transformed completely. In the wake of the pandemic, our homes are no longer just places where we reside, they have now also become hybrid spaces for work. In her own personal experience of lockdown in her home in Milan, Urquiola found solace and inspiration in spending time with her team outdoors on her terrace garden and courtyard patio. With this in mind, she created an expansive terrace in the House of Haworth, one she describes as an “oasis of tranquility.” On the terrace, a lush vine-clad pergola provides a cozy seating area, and a white daybed and teak lanterns add to the relaxing ambience. Designed as more than a place to entertain and unwind, the terrace also features practical spaces to work, such as the large, shaded dining table. “We want to transmit the idea that working in the open air increases concentration and enhances creativity,” Urquiola says.
Outdoor spaces and access to nature have also become increasingly important from a health perspective, adds Jenna Ter Horst, Field Marketing and Events Manager at Haworth. “In the last year, a lot of people realized how much nature helps calm and restore us, so we wanted to be sure that those biophilic elements are brought into the home,” she says.
While the pandemic was the impetus for the project, Ter Horst explains that Haworth has been exploring the “work from anywhere” concept for years. They have discovered that creating a variety of work areas instead of confining people to a single desk space can foster increased productivity.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the House of Haworth sports a dream home office. Ter Horst notes that access to natural daylight and views in the workplace can reduce employees’ stress levels and increase their focus, so the team applied a similar principle to this room. Natural light filters into the stylish space through large windows, while a green bookshelf and coral-toned sofa add a sense of vibrancy. In the corner sits a minimalist white desk that can transform from a seated version to a standing desk at the touch of a button, and a side table designed to accommodate power outlets offers the flexibility to work from the sofa for a change.
Beyond catering to work-from-home needs, the House of Haworth was also designed as a haven and an escape from the stresses of the outside world. “The design concept truly reflects our new reality and provides a calming environment,” says Jennifer Kading, Channel Manager-- Architects, Designers, Projects, and Specifications at Kohler Co. “The kitchen and bathroom feature earthy tones, beautiful finishes, and the latest technology that all make both spaces feel like a retreat. The products turn mundane routines into special experiences in a space designed for relaxation.” The marble-clad main bathroom, for instance, has a spa-like environment with a generously proportioned shower and freestanding bathtub next to floor-to-ceiling windows.
The kitchen, which also boasts expansive views of the lush outdoor space, isn’t just a beautiful space, it also performs extremely well. Highlights include a sleek KOHLER® touchless faucet, which has a smart motion sensor that turns it on or off with a wave of a hand (or pan), and is also voice-activated, so users are able to speak instructions to turn it on or pour specific amounts of water.
Tall, glass sliding doors in the kitchen open to the timber-lined dining room, from which French doors lead onto the green terrace. A small robot vacuum potters around the space while a butterfly flies above the marble dining table. Similarly, the cozy den is animated with a cat lounging on a sofa beside the fireplace with flickering flames, and the television is on in the airy living room that overlooks the pool. “Even though it's a virtual experience, we tried to add emotion into it by making it look like maybe somebody had just left the space,” Urquiola says. These small touches bring the virtual rooms to life and set Haworth apart from an ordinary online shopping experience. As the designer explains, “Usually what’s missing in the virtual experiences is the human touch and the everyday features, yet in this case we tried to subtly make the user feel at home.”