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Casual Conference Chairs That Prevent Nosey Spies From Overhearing You

Just because something isn’t technically a secret doesn’t mean the whole office needs to hear.

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“Behind closed doors.” The connotation is incredibly negative, implying that a manager needs to keep secrets from their own employees. Yet at the same time, there’s value to privacy in the corporate world. Earnest managerial discussions can bruise egos, and objective bean counting can make someone’s daily efforts feel commoditized.

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Talk is a new set of furniture by Keilhauer and design firm EOOS, and rather than pitching ergonomics, the entire focus is that of privacy. The seats feature high backs and V designs, focusing conversational acoustics to peers rather than, well, nosy peers. They’re billed as “privacy screens and sound barriers,” a means to have a private meeting in a public place.

The company tells us that “Talk defines a place in any space and encourages the ‘verbal sharing’ in our digital times.” It’s marketing-speak, but they’re right, the complementary furniture, consisting of chairs, loveseats, and tables creates a quasi-portable conference room, a designated area for conversation with a bit less formality than a closed-door meeting but more personal presence than a BCCd email.

Whether or not you personally like Talk’s V aesthetic, there is one brilliant design decision in the furniture that may go unnoticed: The corners of the chairs are rounded, shaving away the severity of high-backed seats that very easily would have otherwise resembled plush thrones more than friendly loungers.

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That won’t cushion the blow as your boss tells you that your holiday bonus was splurged on new privacy furniture this year, but as you lift a Talk chair above your head in protestation, at least you won’t have to worry about cutting your hand on thrown office furniture. Again.

[Hat tip: otto]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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