Providing an end-to-end design and construction framework for creating low-carbon workplaces, Canoa is a design tool with an embedded marketplace that aims to reduce the environmental impact of commercial interiors. Operating under the circular economy principles, Canoa seeks to keep goods in use for as long as possible, design out waste, and help preserve natural resources while supporting businesses, designers, and suppliers in carrying out commercial retrofits.
Selected as one of Archdaily's Best New Practices of 2021, Canoa is a New-York based start-up founded in 2019 by designer and entrepreneur Federico Negro, with the purpose of delivering environmentally conscious working environments for a wide range of businesses. Canoa is a business-to-business marketplace for low-carbon office products, ranging from furniture to lighting and accessories. The company focuses on providing conscious, durable furniture and prefabricated units with traceable materials and manufacturing that can be easily moved and reused.
Canoa allows designers to rapidly test and iterate workplace layouts and get a live overview of costs, efficiency, and environmental metrics, while also helping property managers with keeping track of their inventory. The firm addresses the need for comprehensive information regarding the environmental impact of furniture products, while also embracing the contemporary ethos of reuse. Canoa capitalizes on post-occupancy support and fosters a business model that incentives the reduction of waste, by deploying as less material as possible into workplace designs.
Unlike previous generations, consumers today […] are demanding more information about the products they use. We are already seeing this in the food industry, in fashion, in textiles, in consumer goods and more. The world is changing, and transparency is quickly becoming a requirement for businesses. Society will soon expect as much of our furniture, reading nooks, buildings, neighbourhoods, transit and cities as we do of our coffee and sneakers.
Canoa provides a design platform for space planning and inventory management in the form of a subscription-based in-browser app that allows multiple team members to plan and share ideas for their workplace layout. All 2D blocks placed within the floorplan layout are real-life, purchasable furniture objects and accessories, faithful to the item's measurements and specifications. Canoa contains a product catalog featuring items with a low-carbon footprint from various manufacturers that provide detailed information about their products. The products are also featured in curated collections, speeding up the design process.
Another essential feature is the schedule of occupancy that gives the possibility of tracking occupancy goals, as well as costs per workstation unit. This allows designers to measure at a glance the efficiency of the floorplan layout and evaluate the spatial and programmatic configuration of the design. In addition, the layouts created in Canoa can be exported as CAD drawings to be included in the projects' documentation.
Canoa's most innovative aspect is probably the seamless transition from design to real-world deployment. The platform simplifies the procurement processes, as it generates updated bills of quantities and costs while providing the opportunity to place and track orders from multiple vendors. While the order placement feature is only available in the United States, for now, Canoa can still be used as a collaborative design tool worldwide.
Canoa's design tool also allows companies to integrate their own office standards into the design and helps property managers with their inventory management, with easy access to the specifications, repair information, and cost of the product through its use. In keeping with its goal of reducing waste and keeping items in the economy for longer, Canoa also offers a marketplace for used items, acting as a mediator between companies changing offices.
We believe then that new, transparent and efficient business models for delivering new and rehabilitated buildings across both private and public sectors are pivotal if we are to rise to the challenge of providing healthy work and living environments to the billions that still don't have them, without the irresponsible depletion of natural resources. - Canoa
Designer Federico Negro started Canoa as a response to the AEC sector’s failure in addressing current environmental issues. Technology and design have been an early interest of Negro, and getting involved with disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina shifted his outlook on architecture’s contribution to climate change. His first start-up, CASE, focused on developing design technologies for built environment businesses and was acquired by WeWork in 2015. During his time as Head of Design for WeWork, Federico Negro observed the traceability challenges within the FF&E industry while also gaining a post-occupancy perspective on the workplaces designed by the company. Canoa was born from the desire to contribute to the decarbonization of office buildings, bringing transparency to the furniture, lighting, and interior prefab systems industry. The company just launched its private beta for workplace designers and is constantly expanding its catalog and features.
We invite you to check out ArchDaily's comprehensive coverage of the curated selection of 2021 New Practices. As always, at ArchDaily, we highly appreciate the input of our readers. If you want to nominate a certain studio, firm, or architect, for the 2022 New Practices please submit your suggestions.
This feature is part of ArchDaily's series where we share a general overview of a firm or an architect's career and present some of their iconic projects. Every month, we explore new names, highlighting their story and their architectural expression. As always, at ArchDaily, we highly appreciate the input of our readers. If you think we should feature a certain unfamiliar studio, firm, or architect, please submit your suggestions.