Danish proptech scaleup NORNORM announces their latest partnership with SaaS company Miro. NORNORM has furnished the Miro offices in Amsterdam, Berlin and later this year in Austin, making it their first steps into the US. But the goal of the partnership is more extensive than that: to transform the way offices work.
Furniture as a Service
Nordic scaleup NORNORM offers scaleups, tenants and co-working spaces the opportunity to have a fully furnished office on subscription. For €3 a month per square metre, NORNORM will fully equip any office with all needed functions, chairs, desks, tables, couches and phone pods..
But NORNORM is more than just a furniture subscription. The scaleup includes a custom design based on the floorplan, available within 48 hours after requesting it. It will also replace broken or obsolete furniture. In addition, through its app, it is always available when the needs of an office change. So for rapidly growing companies, they can furnish their brand new offices without any hassle, adapt it when their needs change and – most importantly – doing so without any significant investment upfront.
NORNORM partners with Miro
One of those rapidly growing companies is Miro, which offers online collaboration tools for teams. After announcing they would hire 500 people in Amsterdam ánd raising over €353 million in funding, they opened their vast new headquarters in Amsterdam. It will get the stylish, Nordic interior provided by NORNORM. The Nordic scaleup also provides all the furniture for the Miro offices in Berlin and Austin, Texas. For NORNORM, that means entering the US market for the first time.
The collaboration entails more than just shipping furniture. ‘Both teams will engage in an innovation stream to create collaboration spaces that pair the flexible, circular and carefully designed furniture solutions from NORNORM, with Miro’s knowledge and expertise of how, why and where people do their best collaborative work’, according to the press release. It might mean some new office furniture tailored to a new way of working.
COVID changed the office
Because in case you haven’t noticed: things changed in the office. Herman Knevel is VP Global Partnerships at NORNORM. He has been working for companies involved in managing office spaces for over twenty years now. “It’s been stagnant for a long time. There was a low level of innovation, and offices tended to be pretty traditional.”
However, COVID changed everything and accelerated the change in the workplace. Companies no longer need to have employees in the office five days a week. The way they design their offices needs to reflect that. “There is a tremendous movement now with regards to flexibility and circularity. That means a lot of room for innovation.”
‘Invest in the company, not in furniture’
In other words: in a rapidly moving and fundamentally changing market for office space, NORNORM offers a solution. There is no hassle for companies that need flexibility, as many startups and scaleups do. “Honestly, who knows what their companies will need in terms of workplace functions in three, five years from now? Why would you buy furniture?That’s why we suggest founders invest in their company, not in their furniture.”
Turning furniture into service is not the only disruption NORNORM is aiming for. It also turns a linear business model into a circular one. “The environmental, social and governance criteria will determine how companies handle their workplace design. And we have an answer to that.”
That answer means NORNORM produces as little waste as possible by reusing as much as possible. According to Knevel, around 19 million tonnes of furniture from the US and Europe alone end up in landfills. The aim is that NORNORM contributes nothing to it.
Furniture that is broken or not necessary anymore gets picked up by NORNORM and taken to a local circularity hub. There, it gets cleaned and prepared for the next office. In case of too much wear and tear in the long run, they can change fabrics or use spare parts, and make sure to reuse as much of the material as possible.
Timeless design, different aesthetics
“We want to grow fast, as we’re on a mission”, says Knevel about minimising the company’s footprint. That mission translates into the styles the company offers. With NORNORM, you can deck your office in timeless, functional Nordic design. The scaleup offers its designs in three different aesthetics, ranging from bright and light to stylish dark.
However, ‘timeless’ is the keyword. Nordic design is hardly subject to trends, making an interior built to last. That decreases the chances of items being discarded for their outdated looks. For the designs, NORNORM has partnered with known designers like Martela, Hay and HermanMiller.
Backed by funding from no other than IKEA, NORNORM has furnished offices all over Europe. They range from Stockholm’s Epicenter to CupolaXS, which is housed in an old prison in Haarlem, The Netherlands. Several offices in Amsterdam carry the distinctive NORNORM style, like that of Klarna, Brain Corp and now Miro. The concept is also made especially suitable for flexible and co-working spaces like YourDesq, Stayaround and the The Next Web.
‘Meaningful ways of production’
“These are the most exciting years for workplace concepts. It’s fascinating to see that the innovation rate skyrockets.” Knevel is determined to make NORNORM a lasting part of that revolution.
However, Knevel admits there are more important things than becoming the biggest. “There will be winners and losers, but if the entire office industry can shift to more circular business models, that’s great. We don’t have a ‘winner takes all mentality. It’s more important that we, as an industry, make the shift to more meaningful ways of utilising workplaces. At NORNORM, we can play a huge role in that.”