We've noted several offices using what we have referred to as "big table desking" where by people are working at what appears to be one big common desk, almost in a similar manner to a big old public library. I believe that this is a trend that emerged from rapidly growing tech offices looking to get people at a workstation as quickly as possible. Ordinary tables pushed together to make larger work surfaces are much easier to pull together on short notice than a commercial furniture system. And so it seemed to catch on, and now the inevitable of art imitating life, furniture vendors appear to be offering systems based on this same paradigm.
Witness the Crinion Open Table system by Knoll.
So what does this relatively high priced office system offer you over a series of tables sourced from Ikea, or a gang of folding tables from Costco? Well firs off their best strength is technology integration. Power, network, cable control can all happen within the system. Hey, I love cables but I think I'm one of the few that do. Get 8 people with phones, computers, and rechargers together at a 2 by 4 station open desk and you'll have enough cable tangle for the rest of your life. Second, Accessories. Many of these systems offer the option for a small partition which not only opens the door for some off-desk accessory perches, but may well keep the peace among workers. And third, quality and durability. These systems furniture pieces are built for the long haul. If you are the guy with the power drill expected to re-attach that Ikea leg for the third time this week you will appreciate that a commercial system is bullet proof.
The features listed from Knolls web site:
Crinion Open Table is the high-performance alternative for open, collaborative work environments. The table accommodates a group of four to eight or more at a continuous worksurface.
The Crinion Open Table typically consists of deep worksurfaces cantilever supported by parallel beams between end legs. The beams form a technology corridor for flat screen monitor supports, outlets and power/data distribution.
Available in plastic laminate, Techwood or natural veneers, with aluminum fittings
Read more on their site:
Crinion Tables, Knoll