Size 1,076 Sq Ft
Team Verda Alexander, Primo Orpilla, Jon Schramm, Courtney DeWalt, Olivia Ward
Photographer Lorenza Mercuri
Mission Statement: Joy
“A Joyful Sense at Work” was the theme curator Cristiana Cutrona chose for 2017’s iteration of Workplace 3.0. In the face of political and economic volatility across Europe and around the world, her insistence on looking ahead to a future of joy in the workplace was testament to the optimism currently shaping workplace design. Joining design firms from Iran, the Netherlands and Italy , O+A’s team looked ahead to a work environment capable of cultivating happiness.
Work Shaped Like Water
O+A’s answer was freedom—primarily the freedom to work wherever and however you please. “The Water Cooler” envisioned an environment with the shape-shifting fluidity of water—a space as bare as a stage, but also as adaptable. At the center of the space artist Fernanda D’Agostino’s “Generativity Pool,” opened a circle of light in the floor. With shadowy figures swimming in and out, the pool became a focal point for conversation, contemplation, meditation. In another section of the space, guests reclined on angled sofas and watched water projections bubble and swirl on a cloud overhead.
Working with Microsoft Hololens, O+A’s design team created rehearsal space for a virtual office. The workplace of the future will inevitably use VR technology—the question is how much of the physical office may be digitized and stored in a cloud? If specific workplace typologies can be filed away digitally and summoned when needed, the actual brick and mortar spaces (or steel and glass) may be as minimal as the galleries of an art museum.
One thing that technology won’t change in the office is the fundamental structure of the human body at work. For “The Water Cooler” O+A identified specific postures that each of us assumes every day and designed spaces or accessories suited to those postures. In some cases, literally “suited.” Working with Mafia Bags of San Francisco O+A’s team created prosthetic work vests that turned each wearer into a mobile workstation—whether sitting, standing, moving or reclining. Here, surely, is joy in the workplace: the freedom to recline!