Meet Richard Sanderson, head of furniture at Peldon Rose

Abbi Brooks, Associate Furniture PM Culture

We caught up with Richard Sanderson, Head of Furniture, to discuss how furniture is a major enabler supporting change from a traditional way of working.

Tell us about your career journey?

I’m an old man… I started working in office furniture 33 years ago, I spent 10 years within manufacturing and then moved into consultancy and set up a furniture team for a leading Design and Build company.

When did you join Peldon Rose, and why?

I joined Peldon Rose in November 2010. Back then, we were a smaller business and the potential to develop a professional furniture consultancy was obvious. The culture of the business was in line with my own values, of both quality and value. Plus, Peldon Rose is design-led, which I love.

What do enjoy most about your role?

I work with amazing people. It doesn’t matter which part of the design team needs my help, we all have the same goal in mind; to design and present an outstanding scheme for the client. We work with the best suppliers in the industry and affect how they develop their products.

How does design influence furniture?

Our workplace designs are always influencing furniture selection and pushing the boundaries of what would be a “normal” office layout, to be a beautifully designed workspace tailored to the client’s vision and objectives, enabling them to be productive for the activities their employees need to carry out.

Getting under the skin of the clients needs makes us challenge product design and figure out how we can adapt it to better suit the design and perform to its maximum ability. It’s about developing a round peg for a round hole… rather than just hitting a square peg with a hammer until it goes in.

How can furniture transform a workplace?

Furniture is a major enabler; it is a key element that supports change from a traditional way of working ‘here’s your desk and chair – sit at it and be productive’ to a more collaborative working practice. Furniture also works with technology to enable people to have different working environments for different tasks.

How does furniture impact a workforce?

Furniture is one of the key elements that people engage within their environment. They look at it, touch it, sit on it… After their phone/tablet/PC, it’s the item people interact with the most and is critical to wellbeing as it supports the body and provides the correct way to sit to carry out activity-based-working.

What are the benefits of an in-house furniture team?

There are many benefits of working with an in-house furniture team:

  • Expertise on hand
  • The team have the same goal as the wider project team – there are no clashes of agenda
  • Full understanding of the workspace design
  • Communication is faster and of higher quality
  • One company for the client to work with
  • Consistent process throughout
  • One team on site
  • Coordination of delivery

What’s your favourite project / piece of furniture?

Favourite project – Budweiser
Favourite piece of furniture - Vitra lobby chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames - originally conceived to for New York's Time Life Building. It is super exceptional comfort and has an amazing look… and it’s horrendously expensive!

How has furniture evolved in the workplace?

Wow…. Long story. In the 20’s, offices started to develop as the new factories and office furniture was made from banks of steel desks and back breaking chairs. Through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s accommodating computers drove furniture development.

Today desks are almost a thing of the past, it’s about agility, working within an area of the office that suits the activity a person needs to carry out, and vitally employee wellbeing. Furniture ranges from sit stand desks, collaborative benches, quiet contemplative areas and of course, spaces and furniture to facilitate fun!

Detail shot of brown terazzo worktop with brown leather seating

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