Offices that Inspire at Home and Work
I've always thought of the office as a place where creativity goes to die, CEOs and directors ironically conspiring to make you want to go back home to bed as soon as you walk into the reception area, but that's more of a reflection of the places I've worked than what is possible. I once went for an interview for a project managment job at a software company in Toronto and walked into the office equivalent of Xanadu. I swear I saw monkeys glide by on rollerskates smiling and waving, it just looked like so much fun. It was a massive open-plan, two-level space with high ceilings, lots of windows, natural wood, probably exposed brick as was the trend at the time, and colour. And faces that looked energised and engaged intead of 'over it', on bodies kitted out in cool clothes, not that soul-sucking business casual. (Don't tell anyone but sometimes I slept at my desk while at the job I was trying to leave. I blame the sea of grey partitions for lulling me into unconsciousness.)
The creation of a workspace, whether it be at home or the office, is about vision and choices. First, you have to want to create an inspiring space - why does that only seem to be the designation of creative studios and young, hip companies? Do data entry people demand to look at drab walls, dull carpets and fake plants in need of dusting while they work? Would they not feel a little more motivated to tap those keyboards all day if they were hit by a splash of yellow or some shiny white gloss? These days there are so many design options when it comes to office furniture, it's just a matter of knowing what kind of environment you want to work in and pulling together the right pieces. In the Workplace pavillion at the 100% Design show I saw desks and seating, even storage lockers, that obliterated any existing notions I had of what office furniture is about. I'm talking mind-blowing cool.
Take Dauphin's Perillo chair, crafted from one continuous sheet of thermo plastic with a high gloss finish, the seat surface, backrest and armrests offering an uninterrupted, ultra-modern form.
Ok, so these chairs may be more suited to a lobby or reception area - the most awesome ones ever! - than behind a desk, but they illustrate what great things can come from leaving behind any pre-conceptions about what the office environment should be.
Here's a home office (I think) that is made up of a simple trestle table against a white wall, but add a cool chair and fill the walls with colour (looks like someone has attempted an homage to Rothko) and you've got a space that makes you want to sit down and get into your work, with or without those shelves of old-school lunch boxes.
This at-home workspace makes the most of a tight area. The large table, offering an ample workstation, nearly fills the space yet appears light, and a sideboard and tall shelving unit enhance the decor of the flat while having the capacity to store a significant quanity of supplies. The benefit of the home environment is the flexibility to add features such as decorative lighting, like this one which looks like a mature dandelion, giving a more eclectic and stylised feel to the space.
I included this outdoor office for fun because it's just so neat, and another example of how a workspace can take any form. Just one question - how do they move around within it?!