The Office Landscape

Hannah Devine - Florence Institute of Design International

The ‘Office Landscape’ table system is designed to challenge preconceptions regarding the contemporary open plan office space and common preconceptions concerning optimised employee productivity. It forms and reforms itself into an undulating terrain in which individuals and groups develop opportunities to work within the spaces which suit them.
Conceptually, the system reinterprets the modernist landscape plans of Brazilian artist and landscape architect Roberto Burl Marx. It translates his work into a multi-layered and undulating timber table system. The office tables, formed in birch are lightly stained allowing for an evident visual connection between often dissociated environments, that of the natural and the corporate. However, despite sustained conceptual research and development, it is the embodied elements of “smart” design which ultimately make the ‘Office Landscape’ system worthy of Expowanted selection.
The system itself is designed to be flexible. It transforms itself through an infinite number of physical arrangements, forming and reforming complex layout plans that accommodate both the standing and sitting work preferences of a user. The overall form of the system gathers its users into programmatically distinct but visually interconnected groupings. It fosters the ways in which people visually and physically interact. The ‘Office Landscape’ system therefore becomes a tool, one allowing for the creation of sustained focus and co-operation between people.
This solution has been developed with a researched awareness of the sustained radical push within the field of contemporary office furniture. This sector aims to develop ideas and products that allow employees to feel comfortable rather than stifled within the workplace. By embracing this necessary change, this design allows for increased user and group manipulation, fostering an individual’s relationship with comfortable work environments and hence contributing to an increase in productivity.
Despite recent development, it remains clear that there is never one solution that will satisfy every person. However, by understanding factors regarding the characteristics of the contemporary workplace opportunities will continue to arise which allow us, as designers, to manipulate our environments. Such manipulation will continue to foster understanding that pushes good, smart design forward and into the future. The ‘Office Landscape’ system can be seen as one step towards that future.

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