A Group Desk That's Part Coat Hanger, Part Skateboard
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Collaboration is king. This very real (contemporary) praxis is reflected in the design of new “sociable” workplaces (think Google, Facebook, and AOL) where, amid ping pong tables, bean bags, in-house coffee bars, turntables, and even a Carsten Höller-slide or two, co-workers mingle, bond, collaborate, and "create." The stringent parameters of the cubicle office have given way to the flexible and neutral workplace, rendered as literal "Play Time," primed with all manner of dorm-room tchotchkes and infantilized whimsy to lure and keep the nomadic worker “on-site” as long as possible.
Still, there are companies struggling to keep up or even incapable (fiscally, managerially) of doing so. It’s for these 1.0 workspaces that Arianna De Luca created the new NINO office system, a flexible workstation that distills the infrastructure ostensibly necessary for collaborative work–namely, a vacated, open-floor warehouse with a couple macchiato machines and lounge sofas in tow–down to its essences: adaptibility, mobility, and sociability. The result of two years of research, NINO intends to facilitate and foster new connections between co-workers, who can easily manipulate and reorient the station to meet their immediate needs. A series of satellite objects such as laptop stands, writing boards, and lamps shoot out from a tall, slender pole; each of the orbiting platforms can be raised or lowered to accommodate both the reclining worker and the coffee they’re nursing.
De Luca’s explanation is simple and well thought out, “In depth practice-based research highlighted the need for tools and conditions capable of supporting mobile, flexible and social dynamics within the work environment. Nowadays most workers spend 60% of their working day away from the desk and all the tools we daily use at work (laptops, mobile phone, cloud computing etc) do not require anymore static and fixed positions. But companies still allocate a huge expense to buy and install workstations that are occupied only a few hours per day. NINO office system introduces a new mobile and multifunctional solution which allows companies to provide fewer workstations used as working.
The NINO flexible office system is currently on exhibit at New Designers 2012 at the Business Design Centre in London.