Published April 19, 2011
Volume 19, Number 4

Pivot Interiors Has Inside View of Latest Office Trends   

Pivot co-owner Barbara Carlyle says new workplace designs
emphasize collaboration. (Photo courtesy of Pivot Interiors.)

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

Pivot Interiors is a full-service contract office furniture dealership, dedicated to creating workspace solutions for local, national, and global companies operating across the full spectrum of business sectors. In addition to representing literally hundreds of manufacturers, Pivot carries Herman Miller furniture as its flagship line.

“We work with many of the Fortune 500 firms, as well as companies in education, healthcare, government, software, gaming, biotech, finance—you name it,” says co-owner Barbara Carlyle. “Large, complex projects are our specialty, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do start-ups. We have been with many clients since their inception. We also have a division, Pivot Pronto, that is devoted specifically to start-up and  mid-market companies.”

In many respects, Pivot's growth has paralleled the rise of Silicon Valley. Founded in 1973 in San Jose, the location of its corporate headquarters and 30,000-square-foot showroom, Pivot opened a sales office in Hacienda 15 years ago. A series of expansions culminated in its current location, a 5,000-square-foot suite in the Taylor Building on Chabot Drive. It also has an office in San Francisco and a 50,000-square foot warehouse in Milpitas.

Over the years Carlyle has seen a multitude of changes in the office landscape, primarily the result of technology advances, shifts in workforce demographics, and emerging business disciplines.

“Just when you think there will be a general trend, things change,” she comments. Of course, every client’s profile is different, she points out, but today cubicles and heavy desks are on their way out, especially in the gaming and social media companies staffed by high-energy 20-somethings.

“We are seeing a lot of benching applications,” Carlyle says, referring to a new style of European-influenced, lightweight table desk with storage on the side. “Everyone relies so much on the laptop, so the need for storage is a lot less than it was five years ago.”

Another workplace trend Carlyle highlights is the increasing emphasis on collaboration, frequently expressed in updated versions of the old water-cooler gathering space. The latest renditions are designed to promote the casual exchange of ideas, inviting workers to sit and interact instead of rushing back to their desks. The areas are flexible and comfortable, with moveable furniture that is easy to rearrange. White boards on the walls are handy to jot down ideas. In many cases, chairs have tablet arms, also facilitating writing. Filing spaces have tops on them “so people can use them like a café table while they stand around and talk,” Carlyle notes.

Other workplaces, like hospitals, for example, are completely different, which is why Pivot has a variety of sales teams and service groups focused on designated vertical markets with expertise in their specialty needs.

Almost across the board, Carlyle has observed signs of an economic rebound, with hiring happening in many different sectors, including her own firm. “We are working on a lot of large office campuses,” she says, noting that Pivot’s business last year was “great.” “With all the global forces currently at work, we can’t look a decade out like we did before, but this year looks like it will be excellent,” she comments.

For more information, visit www.pivotinteriors.com.


Also in this issue ...