Episode 2: Manuela Millan of Elenberg Fraser
The Working From Home Series
South Yarra, VIC, Australia

Words Rose Onans

“I think now more than ever I appreciate what we do as interior designers, now that we’re working from home,” says Manuela Millan, interior designer at Elenberg Fraser. As well as experiencing first-hand the benefit of flexible spaces within the home that allow for different working arrangements, Manuela has also increasingly appreciated the role that ergonomic design has to play in productivity.

A significant adjustment that has come with working from home instead of the office is the lack of colleagues sharing ideas and inspiring design content they find throughout the day. “Now, you have to make sure you develop that creative world in your home,” Manuela reflects.

In her apartment in South Yarra, in Melbourne’s inner south-east, Manuela has set up two areas for work. One is a desk for computer-focused tasks using Revit or CAD. The other is her dining room table, which is used as a more relaxed, creative sketch table that also offers the most natural light, “which really helps to keep you motivated and inspired,” she says.

Identifying spaces that lend themselves to different activities is one element of successfully working from home, the other is physical comfort and support. “Ergonomics have a huge impact on how productive you actually are throughout your workday,” Manuela says. “The thing I love about my Herman Miller chair is definitely how comfortable it is; there’s no doubt the ergonomics are amazing. Tilted up, down, shifted, it just models it to your needs and your body.”

The fact that it is an iconic design is also important to Manuela. “It’s currently part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York!” she explains. The other aspect that she appreciates is the fact that Herman Miller not only places an emphasis on using recycled materials but also on product end-of-life recycling.

Just as how one sits today has a long-lasting impact on one’s body over a lifetime, the current shift in working practices will undoubtedly be felt for years to come – it is “how we are adapting ourselves to work in the future,” Manuela says.

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