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The evolution of custom office furniture(1)

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-02-18      Origin: Site

As the story develops ...... sometime in the 1990s, a community of technologists called C-Base set up a collaborative environment shop in Berlin, Germany. This community-run hackerspace soon became popular and by the end of the 1990s had expanded to other countries/regions.



In 2005, Brad Neuberg was working at a startup in San Francisco and was tired of the static private office environment. He didn't want the office to be stuffy and he didn't want to work from home. He found a space that he rented twice a week and opened it up to like-minded people. This is how the first collaborative workspace was born.


From the folding card tables and chairs in Neuberg's San Francisco coworking space to chandeliers, gyms, roof gardens, yoga classes and event spaces, coworking spaces have certainly evolved. With this development, contract furniture has been adapted to suit this evolving industry.


We explore the evolution of the corporate collaborative space (also known as the open office floor plan) and the concept of collaboration and how it has inspired and shaped contract furniture, thus bringing the full circle back to the private space movement with office seating pods.


Believe it or not, the concept of the open office preceded the cube.


We return to Germany, where a spatial planning consultancy developed the 'office landscape'. This was an early movement in the open space programme for offices. The office landscape includes traditional office furniture, large potted plants, curved screens and natural shapes suitable for large workgroups.

Office furniture companies responded to this trend and soon realised the need for a variety of furniture solutions, such as panel suspension systems, to suit the office environment, but with a focus on privacy, storage and volume.


Soon after, the office landscape concept shifted to the traditional cubicle of the mid-1970s.


Cubicles: the birth of the cube

The word "cubic" comes from the Latin word "cubiculum", used for a small room or study with a nobleman. Before the creation of multidimensional data sets, offices had what we now call open floor plans, in which desks were arranged in rows facing each other. Think of Jack Lemmon trying to do his best in The Apartment, the classic 1960s film with Jack Lemmon in a rowdy New York insurance company.



By the 1960s, Herman Miller had founded the Herman Miller Research Corporation. Its focus was on solving problems relating to the use of furniture and its function in the office environment. This involves learning how people work. How they receive information; and how office floor plans affect the way they work. This research involves a whole range of sciences, including behavioural psychologists, anthropologists and mathematicians.


Although this research shows a substantial increase in the way we work and receive information in the office in the 20th century, little has changed as the way office furniture communicates has changed. Employees still sit back-to-back and side-by-side with little privacy and no sense of personal space. The study also shows that open office spaces reduce communication between employees ...... which is the opposite of what you would think of as an open floor plan.

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