"The workstation is going the same way as the dining room – it’s disappearing as an archetype. The desk has had its day. With mobile technology you need a place to sit occasionally, or a comfortable place to hang out. That’s our belief."
Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby
Never since the introduction of computers have office structures and work habits undergone such a radical transformation as that taking place today. Public spaces are becoming workspaces: thanks to communication technology, people can now work in hotel lobbies, cafés, airports or even parks. And in reverse, offices are becoming public spaces: many companies are now creating open and inspiring locations in which employees – or external visitors – can relax, hold meetings or spend the day working.
The everyday use of laptops, smartphones and tablets in homes and public spaces has resulted in new behavioural patterns, which have now also found their way into offices. For example, the sofa has become a common place for working – even though it is not necessarily suited to this task from an ergonomic viewpoint.
With this in mind, Vitra and the designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have devised and developed the new seating system Soft Work, uniting expertise from the home, office and public sectors. Instead of creating a working environment centred around desks with peripheral sofas, Soft Work has developed into a system in which table workstations are focused around a seating landscape.
Which topics move the world of the office, shared spaces or home and which processes will influence the future of work? In a dedicated series of newspapers about work and current global topics, we invite designers, architects and industry experts to address these themes.
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