This post was written by Liane Ackermann, an interior architect with Die Planstelle in Germany, who attended a Coalesse-sponsored trip to learn more about the brand’s unique workplace solutions.

Patricia Urquiola, Toan Nguyen, Scott Wilson, Jean-Marie Massaud. These names alone are the ingredients of a recipe for success. The idea of referencing prominent designers is not a new one, and critical types might see it as lacking in inspiration, even playing it safe.

Then you walk into the Coalesse showroom and are filled with pure ecstasy. This is what happened to me in February in Chicago.

Chicago River in February

I was invited to join a handful of Coalesse architects and designers from Amsterdam, Istanbul, Paris and Munich for a short but intensive voyage to Chicago and Grand Rapids. The packed program had been perfectly put together by Coalesse staff from Amsterdam, with the help of their colleagues from Chicago and Grand Rapids, and we were warmly welcomed wherever we went.

Everything, from the meal on our first evening at Chicago’s fantastic Girl and the Goat to the minibus chauffeur service, allowed our hand-picked group to bond unbelievably quickly and get down to some serious discussions.

The program was very well chosen. On the morning of the first day, we went straight to the Coalesse showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, where there were so many fascinating things to draw the eye that it was hard to keep us all together! 

Serena Borghero’s presentation of the Coalesse brand, which has not been known in the European market for very long, was highly enlightening. In the office, we have been aware of the brand for quite a while, but getting to know about all the themes and how it came into being, brought me much closer to the products and individual scenarios. 

Coalesse is a “daughter” company of Steelcase, and anybody who is familiar with Steelcase will have no problem understanding what Coalesse could be in the future. Whenever we have to improvise our new and improved worlds of work with Steelcase or other suppliers, as part of the development process, Coalesse will add a more residential feeling to the portfolio. What this means to me from a professional point of view is that we can map out situations which offer a different viewpoint of everyday life. Steelcase is the business, Coalesse the pleasure. 

Bob Lounge Chair and Sebastopol tables create a comfortable setting for social or collaborative work.

The brand our office initially saw as a breath of fresh air with a Scandinavian feel to it has its roots in America, and is therefore yet more evidence that working spaces need to be planned globally. With the immense experience of the Steelcase research team (which instigated the famous “Culture Code”) and the company’s many years of production expertise, Coalesse has a visibly strong partner, bringing an unbeatable coalition of research, production and finesse to the European market.

To conclude my travel report with another big name, I’ll let Frank Lloyd Wright have the last word: “Make the human relationship to building not only convenient, but charming.” And that’s exactly what Coalesse does.Find out more at:

P.S. How does a ten-hour flight for a stay of a day and a half make any sense?

The opportunity to get to know this exciting brand inside-out was almost worth the ten-hour flight on its own, but even better than that was the intensive exchange with other planning partners from other cultures, which I would heartily recommend to anybody who might be interested. The experiences are sometimes very similar and the ways of looking at the core theme of work-life worlds are sometimes very different. We should make use of these opportunities more often.

The Chicago Merchandise Mart was of course a fabulous part of this because it brings together under one gigantic roof everything to do with building, living and working. An amazing idea.

Visiting Renzo Piano’s Chicago Art Institute was another incredible experience, and not just because of the works of art. Here, you can sense that someone really has a feel for light and proportions in museum spaces.

Frank Gehry’s Bean in the Millenium Park provided a small indication that Chicago is worth a much longer stay.

Frank Gehry’s Bean, Millenium Park, Chicago

Getting to fly in the Steelcase company jet felt inexpressibly laid-back.

And getting to spend an evening in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a guided tour and lively discussions before a roaring fire, was an absolute privilege.

Guests enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright's Meyer May house.