Q&A: Creating Collaborative Spaces with Motif Writable Wall Panels


The importance of collaboration continues to grow as workplace dynamics face a global revolution. Dedicated to providing effective solutions for this shift, PolyVision remains hard at work creating innovative products to meet an entirely new need. Kim Allen, architectural product manager for PolyVision, sat down with us to discuss the launch of a new writable wall surface, Motif. Previewed at NeoCon and AIA, Motif’s unique design and application is expected to meet the demand for aesthetically appealing collaborative surfaces.

First, let’s start with what Motif is. Can you explain the product to me?

Motif is a collaborative panel system that allow designers to customize or personalize their collaborative products in a variety of ways. The product line includes three panel sizes and a variety of colors, allowing designers to customize their writing experience and complement the design of their space. Plus, it’s made with our high-performance CeramicSteel.

How did your team come up with the idea behind Motif?

We saw a gap in the market where functional writing surfaces also served as design expressions when not in use. Filling that gap, Motif allows for the transition of an unused vertical space to a productive work center for any collaboration space. We also noticed a need to bring in color. Traditional whiteboards are typically designed with a white surface and metal frame and those work well for their intended use. But Motif allows designers and users to think outside the frame while integrating color and themes with the furniture around it.

We all know that collaboration is important in any working environment. Can you tell me how you see Motif supporting collaboration in a different ways?

Motif is unique in that it allows you to segment your content and ideas by using different panels. For instance, keep your to-do list on one panel, and save a larger panel for brainstorming and ideation. Collaborating with different layouts and color themes can support organization and teamwork. Motif is designed to support user needs for collaboration as well as the character and tone of the space.

Different example diagrams of how PolyVision’s Motif panel system can be arranged on walls

CeramicSteel is the premier writing surface for collaborative systems. How does Motif take CeramicSteel to a new level of form and function?

First of all, Motif is extremely lightweight when compared to a traditional whiteboard. The modular panels provides a versatile collaborative surface that features the unmatched durability of CeramicSteel. Second, we’ve simplified the mounting system to allow customers to easily arrange or replace panels for an entirely different look. Anyone looking for a modern take on a premium, synergistic work space can benefit from Motif’s creative use of CeramicSteel.

Close up view of panel spacers for mounting a square Motif panel system to the wall

We talked about CeramicSteel as the surface used in the production of Motif. Tell me more about the properties of CeramicSteel and its superiority to an alternative surface like glass.

Durability is often a priority when customers are considering a premium writing surface for their space. Not only do users want their writing surface to look good, they want it to perform. CeramicSteel is extremely durable and will not shatter like glass. CeramicSteel also offers a smooth friction-free surface when writing, eliminating ghosting and improving erasability. While glare is inevitable with any glossed writing surface, CeramicSteel produces far less glare than glass surfaces. Unlike glass and laminate writing surfaces, CeramicSteel also has strong magnetic capabilities.

What spaces are best suited to this kind of vertical feature?

Because of its versatility, Motif can be used anywhere active collaboration takes place. Whether the space is a large, open wall or a smaller space in need of functionality.

Two groups of collaborative desks face the Motif panel system displayed on the wall with writing

You mentioned personalization earlier on, can you talk to me about how you can personalize and customize Motif with color and patterns?

We have developed a standard set of colors and patterns that can be used to design a Motif panel system. Outside of these standard offerings, we have the ability to offer a broad range of custom colors and imagery with the same long-lasting durability. Whether it is a logo, custom artwork or other design, Motif can be fully customized with PolyVision’s state-of-the-art Surface Imaging processes.

Can you tell me more about the standard patterns that are available and how you came up with the design?

The accent patterns that we developed feature specially-designed grid patterns. These patterns were selected to add a degree of energy and stimulus to collaborative sessions, further asserting the marriage of design and function Motif provides.

A close up view of three collaborative wall panels fastened together

How can I purchase Motif?

Motif will be available for purchase Fall 2018 through our parent company Steelcase, and we will expand availability into Asia and Europe later in the year following the US release. The small square panel will also be offered online at Steelcase Store for direct consumers. This size is perfect for small business and personal home offices. Motif with custom colors or surface imaging will be sold through Designtex.

What does the future hold for collaboration in the workplace?

Workplace collaboration is more important than ever, and we see the trend continuing in favor of open dialogue, brainstorming sessions and collaborative projects. Motif is part of this evolution. The ability to compartmentalize ideas and tasks allows for maximum thought organization, while stimulating design options cultivate inspiration and aesthetic appeal.

Learn more about how Motif can help foster collaboration in your space here: https://polyvision.com/architectural-products/collaborative-products/motif/.

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