If this is the office of the future, count me in. This entry by interior designers Sean Cassidy and Joe Wilson won the Workplace of the Future 2.0 competition sponsored by Metropolis and Business Interiors by Staples, with their Organic Grid+. They tell Metropolis:
“In our minds, workers are the heart of most businesses and should be treated as such,” says Cassidy. “If we spend one-third of our lives at work, then we should create a greater cohesive relationship between the employee and the workspace.”
Employees in this wonderful office get to customize everything according to their needs. They also get to put on a climbing harness and pick their own lunch off the vertical farm that is the exterior wall. These sky gardens reduce stress and noise, while naturally cooling the office space. However as someone who used to rock climb, I can attest that having that whole wall on an inward tilt makes harvesting lunch really hard, you have to hang on and pick at the same time. Better it was just straight up and down. More in Metropolis.
At Fast Company, Adele Peters describes how employees are wearing augmented contact lenses, wearables, that provide health tips. Pass a tomato plant and you might get a message about why it is so good for you.
"We wanted to really provoke new thoughts and debates on how to make the workplace a destination, and a place that can react to each individual and stimulate them in a positive manner," say Cassidy and Wilson. "The user is constantly updated by the augmented content around them, such as the news feeds and health information linked to the user's augmented contact lens which monitors their health and suggests food to eat."
Everything is portable and movable; you don't need a monitor when you have that contact lens.
"It has the potential to meet the needs of privacy, individualism and collaboration within a workplace, with all the design elements flexing to those needs," the architects [sic, they are interior designers] explain. "The ability to completely customize your workspace, making any surface a workable one, makes the whole work experience a transformative one which can constantly adapt."
Back in 1985 in the Harvard Business Review, with the recent development of wireless phones, the prediction was that Your office is where you are. Five years ago, with the introduction of smart phones, I predicted that Your office is in your pants. Now we appear to have moved beyond that and your office is on your eyeball.
Of course this all begs the question of why one needs an office at all if everything you see is a projection from your augmented contact lens. If you have that kind of technology you might as well stay at home and just project the whole thing there. But it looks like a great template for TreeHugger headquarters. More at Fast Company.
Interestingly, there are already companies doing the food part of this idea; I was invited in September to tour the garden managed by Telus (a big Canadian telecom) employees in Toronto. They filled the planters on the roof deck with vegetables which they sell in their own little farmers market.
The employees who worked on the garden told me of the satisfaction and relaxation they got out of doing this, taking their lunch hours and getting outside and into the dirt. There is definitely a role for food gardens in our offices, both vertical and horizontal.