Pair collaborated with Gensler, serving as a product design consultant, for their adaptable workplace system, Gradient

Office furniture brand Pair’s newly launched workplace system was designed in collaboration with Gensler, serving as a product design consultant. They started working on Gradient in the middle of the pandemic to address companies’ real fears about making big investments into new fixed office settings that might become outdated in a few years (as we saw with the big transition to WFH and accommodating the rise of digital nomads). A big question that Gradient addresses is how to plan for a work-scape that’s still evolving.

Pair and Gensler’s goal for Gradient was to find a way to build the office, one time, so it can accommodate new future needs without:
1) knowing what those needs are, and
2) replacing all the old furniture with new pieces for the next “workplace of the future” which can be expensive and time consuming

With Gradient, there is no need to commit to a specific plan, the office can be open, closed, or many gradients in between.

The Pair team believes that the office needs to be a destination, a place for things employees can’t do at home such as connect, collaborate and socialize with other people. Those spaces can be created with Gradient.

The Gradient Beam

At the center of the Gradient system is Beam – a power and data exoskeleton that allows Gradient to be both customizable and flexible. Unlike other beams, Gradient’s is design-driven and meant to be exposed.


Some of the spaces that can be built off the Beam are: heads down work areas, living room style lounge nooks, collaborative workspaces and cafe style seating. The space can begin as an open plan and panels of different heights can be added to create privacy when there’s an influx of staff, meetings or new projects. Any in-house facilities personnel or office manager can hand-twist the chunky button-style Pucks to remove and re-install panels in new arrangements. No furniture experts or installers are needed.

Another example of how Gradient transforms is: a neighborhood is designed for and assigned to deep thinking heads down work and they need a lot of closed spaces. In a couple of months that area gets reassigned to the remote workers who are coming in and need collaborative working areas. Panels can be removed from the Beam and the space can be reorganized.

Most offices are based on linear six packs of desks and that’s not the case with Gradient. The Beam allows design teams to build interesting serpentine structures to create escape zones, meeting tables and traditional desk spaces. This allows for floorplate evolution from day one through year five and beyond.

Gradients’ other parts and pieces:

Gradient’s inventory of essential building blocks includes multipurpose acoustic panels, work surfaces—adjustable-height desking, tables for drop-in work, huddles or collaboration—storage, biophilia, and enclosed cubbies.

Gradient’s desks were designed to effectively use space with two cylindrical support legs from the front with the Beam locking into place in the back. Clients can also use their own desks with Gradient as the Pair team understands that desks are a bulk investment they may not want to make twice!

Gradient’s storage units are important because their optional colored frames help with wayfinding and they can easily incorporate biophilia. Employees have said it is an important element that they want to see in their workplace.