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Meet the team: Nicola Citarella, Framery

Framery Acoustics has landed at The Gallery Clerkenwell, so we thought what better way to introduce its acoustic pods than to chat with Nicola Citarella, Area Sales Manager UK & Italy, to find out more about the brand’s versatile and innovative range. 

Nicola Citarella

Firstly, welcome to The Gallery Clerkenwell. We’ve got several examples of your office booths and meeting pods in situ for visitors to try out. Have you a favourite, and why? 

It’s quite difficult to pick a favourite as each one has features that suit a variety of environments. Such as our one-person pod, like Framery One, which is perfect for creating a space for a confidential call, a place to focus, or short video conferencing session, that would be my favourite from that perspective.

Having said that, if I had really to pick a favourite it would be Framery Q. A new focus on the hybrid model office, especially after the pandemic, has made acoustic pods even more in demand, as they support a more sociable meeting culture of today. Yes, the one-person pod satisfies the needs of the individual, but if you have a meeting with other people, Framery Q gives the opportunity to have a more sociable experience that’s supportive of brain-storming.

How long have you been part of the Framery team and what are the best aspects of your role? 

It’s been just over three years and a couple of months and I’ve always loved it from day one, especially with the focus on teamwork and a co-operative environment. We all have our own tasks as individuals, but we always cooperate with the rest of the team, whether that’s sales, tech, partner support, design, and marketing. We all collaborate and bounce ideas with each other and this makes my role exciting and enjoyable every single day, as you know you’re not alone.

You’ve spent over nine years within the A+D sector, what do you see as the biggest challenge facing the industry?  

Being a market leader in the pod and booth industry, the biggest challenge we’ve seen is satisfying the demand for sustainability. In our regular conversations with the A&D sector we see more and more that sustainability is becoming a regular requirement and stipulated in every tender for larger projects. It’s already expected you can provide LEED, BREAM, and WELL sustainability certification, and protecting the environment is becoming more and more challenging, especially from a pollution perspective. Here at Framery, we’re committed to ensuring a circular economy around everything we do, starting from the product design, all the way through to the logistics, delivery, and installation. I can see the effort and work that our dedicated sustainability team in Finland undertake each day, to ensure that everyone is meeting the demand of sustainability, now and for the future.

Acoustics, of course, play an important role in discussions with interior designers and architects. In my personal opinion, pods work acoustically with end-users to solve the problem of noise and distraction issues which is common to open plan office design. The acoustic levels required by clients or by industry regulators will evolve, and will be stricter than ever, so Framery continues to ensure that improving and developing new acoustic solutions is part of our continued process.

You cover both the UK and Italy, so is there a marked difference in customer requirements between UK customers and our Italian neighbours?

Yes, there are some massive differences. The main one would be the that the UK market is generally a more a mature market, so it seems like there is a good awareness of these type of products and how they benefit the office or public space environment. Italy’s market is a lot younger, and needed more education on awareness and education, but the last couple of years have seen a huge acceleration, partly due to a post COVID and hybrid workforce. As a whole, we never stop proactively educating and promoting our products to both markets, so there is always a lot to do in nurturing both UK and Italy markets.

What’s the latest product to join the Framery collection and what are its key features? 

Our latest product is our Framery One pod.It has been designed specifically for one person use, but compared to the previous version it replaces, it's much more advanced technologically. So, the main features are related to the tech that’s been added, which we call Framery Connect. Now users are able to book the pod via the Framery Connect feature or app. In the pod there is an inbuilt SIM card that connects with a secure 4G connection and by doing that it will sync with the calendar the company uses while allowing users to book the pod with their own calendar. Air flow circulation is available in all our pods, but Framery One has the option for an active carbon filter which purifies the air. It also features height adjustable work spaces and seating, so the user can sit and stand making it more comfortable and ergonomic.

How does Framery keep up with an ever-changing technology market and demands for sustainable design?

As a company, we’re constantly researching and developing our products. Our main objective has always been to provide the best design and acousticsfor the office environment. With Framery One we were keen to include dynamic technology. As part of this process, we grew our technology trainees team based in our Finland headquarters, allowing us to benefit from a fresh set of eyes, while also investing in growing a large team to research and develop new solutions for the coming years.

How can customers adapt your products to suit branding and design schemes? 

First of all, we offer a variety of exterior and interior finishes that clients can adapt to suit their branding and or other palettes they may use in the office. For example, we have ten options for the exterior casing and ten fabric options for upholstery seating. Framery One also provides four options for interior panels and four stylish carpet choices.

So, what’s next for Framery?

Our aim has always been to be pioneering and use the latest technology within our pods. So, we’ll be continuing to understand how users are interacting with technology to create the best pod experience, as well as developing acoustics to cope with unique environments. We’ve also responded to a request for more built-in technology in our meeting solutions, so we’ve partnered with Logitec. Thanks to this partnership,monitors will also have a camera and hub to allow plug-in devices and easy-start video conferencing. Digital and technology features will continue to evolve as our clients see the exciting opportunities that meeting pods provide.

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