At Home in the Office

Designers open up corporate environments to new ways of working.

One of the most important recent changes in workplace design is the confluence of residential and office solutions, combined with the rise of home offices and a shift in management styles. Work environments are softening, changing from Dilbert cube farms to “corporate homes.”

“Tools will continue to decrease in size and their relevance will be questioned further,” says Margit Geist, Vitra’s creative director of strategic market development. “‘Corporate homes’ will open up to allow for more public interaction, incorporating aspects of living that go far beyond work/life, creating lifestyle environments geared toward knowledge creation and innovation.”

The merging of the office and home has been in Herman Miller’s DNA for decades. When Alexander Girard introduced his furniture collection in 1967, he wrote: “Offices are more home-like—they are more inviting and less sterile. Homes are more efficient and less cluttered—more like offices. This is true of most of the best public or private interior spaces.” According to Ben Watson, Herman Miller’s chief creative officer, the difference today is that technology actually enables a seamless flow between work spaces, wherever they may be. “The office today can be almost anything,” he says.

“We then ask ourselves, what kind of spaces are we comfortable in? We think and feel differently in a kitchen than we do in a boardroom. Today’s workplace is more accepting of this variety, and providing these kinds of options for employees can have very positive outcomes.” Here, we’ve selected some of our favorite possibilities—some more residential in feel than others—that can be used to meet individual work space needs.

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