norwegian furniture brand HÅG has commissioned a workshop with londoners aged 16-18 to discover how their generation imagines the future workplace.
some of the ideas produced include hanging pods to work in, interactive tablet desks which turn into beds, virtual reality rooms, and communal allotments that provide organic lunchtime ingredients.
four key topics emerged from the discussion concerning themes relating to health, the environment, technology, and workspace. a clear trend was the continued blurring between personal and work life, while many of the pupils stressed the need for relaxation. this involved creating an underground ‘holiday room’ — which contained a beach and swimming pool — a ‘netflix area’, and holograms which could project a tranquil environment on the office walls.
the design also includes a health center and gym, alongside a doctor’s surgery where one can book appointments while at work. garden allotments allow workers to make their own lunch from fresh produce, while colleagues would have a ‘bake off-style’ kitchen where they are able to cook together.
interestingly, the young people didn’t embrace the current trend of shared workspaces, but instead wanted a mix of collaborative areas combined with isolated working pods that they could customize for their own requirements. when employees need to focus on their work they are able to climb into their private pod where they would work alone on an interactive desk. they saw a high ceiling as wasted space and decided that these hanging structures could be placed there, creating more room for socializing and leisure at ground floor level.
the importance of sleep was also raised — if you couldn’t get eight hours at home, why not sleep at work? one student designed a desk that can be flipped to transform it into a bed, equipped with a built-in alarm clock to make sure you wouldn’t oversleep.
one of the students, basma elboussaki, 17, said: ‘it was a great experience – opening up your ideas. it was amazing to see how diverse our ideas were and how optimistic we are about the future. We want to include things you do at home – being active and energetic. we are concerned with nature and the environment – we are aware of how we should sustain our future. I am now more interested in interior design and furniture as well as architecture as a career. it is important to look at the small details as well as the big picture.’
the ‘workspace invaders’ workshop brought together 16 young people aged 16-18 to imagine what they expect of their future workplace. the workshop was managed by open-city, who invited 8 mentors from high profile british and international practices including allies & morrison, buckley grey yeoman, burwell deakins, jestico + whiles, orms and sheppard robson.