Coming soon: Spectrum99, the last of the furnishing fairs worth a scout for a while. The code for inclusion in the show is “practical, hard-headed, user-friendly, thoroughly thought through, cost-conscious, durable and mature design”. No mean list of prerequisites. The words compact, mobile, versatile and adaptable (again) might also summarise the best work.

Bene, the Austrian office furniture manufacturer, will launch Compact Office, arguably the most stylish new office system in a while. Because “today’s office is no longer primarily an administrative site, but a centre of communicative and creative work”, Compact Office has core pieces supplemented by a system of modules, like mobile drawers and clip on filing units, to form individual zones for sitting or standing.

Interconnection and mobility were also key words at Herman Miller, which will launch its Kiva collection, designed by Eric Chan. It consists of six multi-functional freestanding pieces, from screens to storage shells. Layout changes for both schemes are easily implemented.

Wilkhahn breaks the boundaries between contract and home furnishing with Avera, a range of gently rounded upholstered armchairs, settees, benches and tables with a retro touch. Excellence through simplicity promises to be the name of the game on the Zoeftig stand. Zulu is its new café/restaurant chair. Likewise at Hands of Wycombe, which launches the sculptural Rapport family of seating. Other “don’t miss” stands are Byproduct, which continues to refine its Comb collection; The Maine Group for simple storage; Forza for Freeway, an economical office from Castiglia Associates; and Lamb Macintosh for chic screen and desk accessories.

If the furniture doesn’t get you, the Hellride, a virtual reality helicopter trip, will a little light relief for when the work’s all done. n

Spectrum is on from 17-20 May at the Commonwealth Institute, Kensington High Street, London W8. Opening hours 11-9pm (Thursday 11-6pm)

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