Beware the great apex fallacy of workplace design

Beware the great apex fallacy of workplace design

Of all the memes and narratives that corrupt public discourse about workplace design, the most pernicious is the one that suggests there is a linear evolution to some grand end point called the Office of the Future. There is a natural human inclination to buy this sort of idea, fed by an assumption that what […]

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How Charles Eames came to have mixed feelings for his most famous chair

How Charles Eames came to have mixed feelings for his most famous chair

As any smartphone user could attest, the things we own sometimes end up owning us. Equally, the things we create can end up owning us. The most famous item designed by Charles Eames is a moulded plywood, leather upholstered lounge chair and matching ottoman that are timelessly iconic, have spawned thousands of rip-off versions, invariably […]

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How do we reach consensus about what constitutes good design?

How do we reach consensus about what constitutes good design?

In shows and the media, we are often invited to pass judgement on products and ideas that have been created by other people. The reviews that follow often cement some form of accepted view, even if we often outsource the decision making to people who are better placed to decide, or at least better enabled […]

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All those workplace trends lists that crop up at this time of year? We’ve been there before

All those workplace trends lists that crop up at this time of year? We’ve been there before

At this time of every year, the media is just getting over its predictable annual fixation with with retrospectives and forecasts. The last few of these workplace trends pieces are now dribbling out, many of them indistinguishable and based on some very familiar tropes and assumptions. These days such things tend to be shaped into […]

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Just for Monday morning; the top five songs about office life and office furniture

Just for Monday morning; the top five songs about office life and office furniture

Not enough musicians draw inspiration from the office or office furniture, and for very good reasons. Nevertheless, it’s worth saying that the office is routinely used as both a setting and a symbol in movies even if workplaces are generally seen as mundane or dehumanising in stark contrast to whatever troubled romance / disaster is […]

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Stanley Green, protein wisdom and the perils of sitting down

Stanley Green, protein wisdom and the perils of sitting down

Each day for 25 years, between 1968 and 1993, a man called Stanley Green would rise early, enjoy a spartan breakfast of porridge and an egg, pack up a lunch of apples and vegetables, strap them along with a placard and some pamphlets to a bike and cycle the 12 miles to Oxford Street from his […]

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We shouldn’t be too quick to demonise the open plan office

We shouldn’t be too quick to demonise the open plan office

There is a witch hunt on in the workplace. “Open plan” has become a dirty word and the national press are leading the mob in vilifying this so-called scourge. The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail and Business Week have all reported that “we can’t get anything done in an open-plan office” as […]

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Peace and quiet at work? Here are ten of the best and most far out solutions

Peace and quiet at work? Here are ten of the best and most far out solutions

Any survey that sets out to establish what people believe cuts their productivity and annoys them most about their workplace almost invariably throws up the same result; the noise and distractions generated by other people. So it will come as no surprise to learn that the same surveys usually find that employees believe that peace and […]

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RSA welcomes clients and brokers to new office in the heart of Birmingham

RSA welcomes clients and brokers to new office in the heart of Birmingham

Located a stone’s throw from Snow Hill Station in Birmingham’s min business district, insurer, RSA’s new Trading Site puts its employees at the heart of the customer experience. Rather than separating support functions from front of house, the new space combines client-facing areas and open plan benches to create an open, collaborative and flexible environment. The office features assigned workstations […]

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1994: the year the newborn Internet set office design on a different path

1994: the year the newborn Internet set office design on a different path

Because we are now so immersed in technology, we can sometimes forget just how young the Internet is. It was only in 1995 that the final barriers to its full commercial development were removed. In 1994, the number of people using it worldwide was estimated at around 20 million, there were under 15,000 company websites […]

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How Thomas Jefferson came to invent the swivel chair and laptop

How Thomas Jefferson came to invent the swivel chair and laptop

In 1775, Thomas Jefferson was a busy man. As part of the Committee of Five men and at the tender age of 33, he had been charged with drafting the Declaration of Independence that was to be presented to Congress the following Summer. By all accounts, Jefferson was a self-contained and self-sufficient man and, like […]

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We shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of form in our quest for function

We shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of form in our quest for function

The enduring struggle to improve the working conditions and performance of people through the design and management of workplaces carries more than a whiff of the Enlightenment, a period in which pure reason was seen by its proponenst as more than enough to convince the world of the ways in which we could improve the […]

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