A Joyful Sense at Work

The continuing evolution of work spaces: from product design to anthropodesign…

A visionary project/installation, announced at the last Salone del Mobile.Milano, will boost energy levels and drive new design concepts in Pavilions 22 and 24 of the Rho trade show precinct from 4th to 9th April 2017.

The purpose of A Joyful Sense at Work is to breathe new life into the theory of office and work place design by setting its sights squarely on people, in terms of their needs, emotions and experiences. This amazing installation was created especially for the biennial Workplace3.0 show curated by the architect Cristiana Cutrona.

The title, A Joyful Sense at Work, reflects the notion that going forward, work will need to “make sense” of things and relationships, generate a new quality of life, and deliver excitement and happiness. Transferring a humanistic and anthropological approach to designing offices ideally means satisfying people’s real needs in this day and age. This is the only way to build a work place environment that is not only “productive” but, more importantly, a truly “caring” place, in which people at work can be happy instead of assessed merely in terms of materialistic productivity. When all the opportunities offered by the experience and organisation of the workplace are fully grasped, happiness will be immediate, unremitting, intense, sustainable and energising.

Against the backdrop of Workplace3.0, A Joyful Sense at Work, curated by Cristiana Cutrona, will depict the evolution of the office environment and the new mind-set underpinning it via concepts contributed by four internationally acclaimed architectural practices.

Singled out based on the geographies they hail from, Primo Orpilla & Verda Alexander’s Studio O+A (USA), Arash Ahmadi’s Ahmadi Studio (Iran), UNStudio/Ben van Berkel & Scape (Netherlands), and Alfonso Femia & Gianluca Peluffo’s Studio 5+1AA (Italy) have been called upon to design “an installation within the installation” reflecting not only their vision of the office of the future, but also the unique cultural features of their parts of the world. The designs will delve into the relationship between cultural identity and globalisation, and explore how they tie in with happiness and the quality of life in terms of office environment design.

Four different workplaces will be depicted, each one representing a different culture but sharing the same common denominator.

The workplace of the future will be a vibrant, adaptive, ever-shifting concept, tailored to reality and capable of accommodating the passage and needs of workers and how they use it. The workplace will be smart, able to support rapid change, customisable and flexible: human beings will be the central characters in a relentlessly changing context where workers can use their minds, generate visions, build relationships and find relevance in what they do. The workplace will be sustainable not only environmentally but also ethically, in terms of showing respect for people’s feelings, history, culture, diversity and rights.

All four office areas will revolve around people. Technology and furnishings will move with and around people, to meet their needs in the blink of an eye. Mobile workstyles and cloud-based services will turn space into a fluid medium devoid of furniture, partitions, false ceilings and floors, and stripped of functional areas like meeting rooms, private offices and operational floor space. The new office space will have “regions” instead of traditional areas. Regions may be closed off and converted into private spaces for individual work; others will be breakaway and focus regions, i.e. public spaces for group work and sharing; new regions will provide a setting for creativity, innovation, and invention; and a loosely meshed filter zone will replace corridors and form an interface between the public and the private, a place for driving opportunities and exchanges.

“Key words that effectively define the new workplace might include: porosity, transversality, resilience, memory, experiential and quality, advocates Cristina Cutrona.


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