Friday, December 25, 2009

death of the cubicle


An interesting opinion piece by Susan E. Reed writing for Global Post describes the Unilever corporation's efforts to eliminate the cubicle from their workplaces:

When executives at Unilever noticed that much of their office space was either unused or unoccupied as workers traveled, they took away 36 percent of their employees’ personal space. The company’s offices in Leatherhead, England, now feature “agile” space: a largely open office where workers rearrange themselves throughout the day depending upon their tasks. They can collaborate with one another while sitting at a table, take a break in a curvy “vitality” space or concentrate alone in a small individual work area.

Its an interesting example of a large organization questioning what kind of environment will make their people most productive, and at the same time enable them to eliminate wasteful and expensive real estate.

Death of the Cubicle at Global Post

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

arbor desk by outofstock

Billede 1

A handsome and functional small home wood desk. Called Arbor and designed by the design collaborative Outofstock from Stockholm (as in out of Stockholm!) I like the storage compartments under the flip up tops. They are divided with separate flip sections for each storage bin - key if you hope to use them when other stuff is on the desk top.


Arbor by Outofstock

via materialicious

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

every day the same dream


An interesting little computer game, which if you work in a cubical farm is probably not something you want to play. Sort of like a Groundhog day for today's office worker.

Every day the same dream

Friday, December 4, 2009

10 amazing offices


A post at the Coolist blog shows 10 very interesting offices, some already posted here at workalicious, but many not. Shown: North Advertising.

10 Amazing Offices Around the World

via the PushPullBar

Thursday, December 3, 2009

walk desk by steuart padwick

walk desk

Here is another example of a nice technology enabled wood desk that would be great in the home or office. I really like the fresh look of the clear maple and nice acid green.

walk desk

via materialicious, Walk Desk by Seuart Padwick

Friday, November 20, 2009

conversation starter tags

Here is a great idea that can improve the interaction and dialog of any event you organize - conversation starter tags. A simple but compelling question that begets concise answers, worn on your lapel during the event - adding so much more value than old-school name tags. They are awesome!
conversation starter tags
The practice was started by the Creative Mornings crew who organizes shared office seminars for independent creative workers who could not otherwise participate in such a rich seminar series. We covered this group about a year ago in this workalicous entry.
conversation starter tags
So kudos to them for a great idea. It would not be as good without follow through however, and of course they have great follow through - a photo record of many if not all of the responses posted at Flickr. A separate set for each question no less, and compiled into a collection for easy browsing.
Conversation Starter Tags on Flickr
conversation starter tags

Thursday, November 19, 2009

cardboard meeting booths - new meme?

A few of these "furniture as meeting space" proposals have popped up over the past year and I wonder if it is just a meme or a new prototypical piece office furniture, eventually to be as common as desk, task chair, filing cabinet...?

cardboard meeting booth

Of course this one is cardboard, which is another tangent meme we are seeing as well.

cardboard meeting booth

But aside from the trendy characteristics I believe this this is actually a very compelling paradigm. Small freestanding meeting space - why set aside an entire room for a meeting that might not need that much space, or a closed door for that matter. And this is so much better than meeting in the office or at the desk of one participant - a meeting space is more neutral ground and that has an effect on participants interaction.

More photos at the Contemporist blog.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

great coworking dialog on google groups

I want to call attention to this great discussion on Google Groups pertaining to the organization of CoWorking venues. It was started off with a question about the profitability of spaces and moved on to a wide ranging discussion. I like the advice from Alex Hillman of Philly's Indy Hall:

Having people involved in the space from the get-go sets this example. We signed a lease on a Tuesday, and sent out an e-mail that day asking people to show up on Saturday with rollers to start painting. The following week, a desk-building party. Turning tasks into social events sounds sneaky, but it's worked really well at helping people identify with a sense of ownership. They're more than paying members, they have an emotional attachment to the space because they've contributed to its existence. They're proud of it.

The beauty of this is that it's the first shove in a cycle of creating more of this mentality. The people with that sense of attachment lead by example, and new members that join see that activity and the reward (public thanks and recognition is the simplest reward), and the cycle continues.

Google Groups CoWorking discussion

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

knoll A3 at offices of mono, minneapolis

Mono, Minneapolis

An interesting article over at the unplggd blog about a new office space in Minneapolis for creative consultants Mono. Notably they are using the Knoll A3 cubical system - an unusual fabric partitioned system that makes cocoon like spaces.

Knoll A3

Knoll A3

Knoll A3

Mono at unplggd

Knoll A3

Friday, November 6, 2009

coworking start-up: columbia coworking

Brian Linder from Columbia Coworking, the new coworking community in South Carolina has been so kind to be interviewed while they are in the process of starting their space. I thought this would be a great opportunity to watch and ask questions of Brian as they work on launching their space. Let me encourage you to ask questions via the comments, and we will check in with Brian periodically to get a feeling for the process. I hope this can be helpful for others doing the same.

Workalicious: The common wisdom about starting up CoWorking is community first, space later. Yet as the CoWorking idea becomes more popular we're seeing more spaces start up without an already established community. What is the case with Columbia CoWorking?

Brian Linder: We contemplated going the "beta community" route, but there are so many mobile workers in this city we felt it made sense to go ahead and put ourselves out there. We're obviously pretty confident that a group will coalesce quickly once we're officially open for business. There are already some folks in our orbit, and as soon as we option a space we're going to start pre-selling memberships.

W: Who are the founders of Columbia Coworking?

BL: Columbia Coworking was founded by myself, Brian Linder, and Nick Kask, a brand manager/graphic designer friend of mine. Nick and I have worked together on a few projects and we really clicked creatively. I approached him about starting a coworking space here. We've both worked from home for some time. For me, it just became a real drag. And I think Nick wants the amenities of a legit workspace -- a conference room to meet with clients, etc.

W: CoWorking seemed to emerge among independent IT workers. Colombia CoWorking describes a more diverse community including writers and creative workers. Do you have any thoughts on how a more diverse community might change the spirit of collaboration and synergy that characterize many CoWorking communities?

BL: We're trying to establish a unique voice that will speak to the diverse mobile workforce in our city. Columbia is kind of like a mini-Austin in the sense that it's a college town with a creative vibe. But arts, design and media workers are often marginalized by the strong emphasis on achieving economic growth through fields like science and engineering. We want to reach out to those people -- and it makes sense for us to do so because those are the circles that Nick and I already run in. That said, I'm sure we'll attract our share of creative techies and knowledge-based workers. I think the mix will be a win for everyone.

W: How might it influence the type of space you are looking for?

BL: Our space search isn't being driven by practical concerns, as much as it is by our intuitive sense about places with the right creative energy. I think it's important for us to feel that out, and once we've identified the right space, further shape the concept around that. -- Thanks Brian and good luck with your space search. Any readers interested in joining Coloumbia Coworking can find more information at their web site: Columbia CoWorking

And Facebook users may want to follow them their for updates via your Facebook newsfeed: Columbia CoWorking on Facebook

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

beyond the cubicle - new york post


Not exactly my go to source for journalism on the evolving workplace, but hey, this is a sign of the times if stories about rethinking the workplace hit mainstream newspapers.

Ask Manhattan-based interior architect Maria Lopez what’s wrong with office design, and she looks like she just bit down on a fluorescent light fixture.

“It’s not conducive to humanity!” she exclaims, her voice rising in exasperated bewilderment. “The hepatitis-yellow lights, the cubes — it’s like you’re in a bloody hospital ward, going to see someone who’s dying.”

The article actually captures the nature of the situation, with progressive companies percieved as going out on a limb to introduce thoughtfully designed workplaces, while it turns out they are not out on a limb at all. In fact they are sowing the rewards of a workplace that is a tool in their mission.

Great case studies linked towards the bottom of the page as the reporters are off to learn about Google, Bloomberg, and JWT.

Some city firms toss the cubes and reinvent the workplace

A Plea to All Creatives: Stop Going to Work

Joe Duffy in his blog at Fast Company makes a plea today for everybody to get out of their workplace, to look for the place where they are most creative and productive:

Designers thrive on the information available to us through this newly heightened era of connectivity. That said, information is not enough. We need inspiration to continue to stretch and truly reach our creative potential. I don't believe that inspiration is sufficiently served up in even the most compelling office environments, nor among the most creative cultures. So we need to get out of the office. Design how you're going to work. Dial it into the rest of your life and vice versa. Be purposeful about what you do, where you are, where you really need to be in order to be happy and productive.

Here we are. This is how bad the status quo of office design is the US - where we have to make a plea to get out of the work place to achieve our most creative and productive state!

When will business owners realize that creating that productive zone in their workplace is a tool to get the best and most productive work from their work force. How can it not be a goal to make the magic place that Duffy describes in every workplace? Design is the key at the most base level - Lets think about what we are doing.

A Plea to All Creatives: Stop Going to Work

bark designs pavillion like office


Architects Bark Design in Queensland Australia have designed themselves a beautiful office space. Scaled somewhat like a house it is meant to be demonstrative of their design approach. A great incorporation of their design + business culture into their workplace - leveraging the workplace as a marketing tool for their business. A lesson more businesses need to take.


Leveraging good design in your workplace not only can advance your marketing efforts, but create a more satisfying and productive work environment.


Bark Design at the Contemporist Blog

founder factory - forging start ups


A little bit of workplace culture today, The Founder Factory is a project to inspire, mentor, and foster start ups in Philadelphia. From their web site:

The Founder Factory is an annual event created by Philly Startup Leaders, meant to help foster growth of an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, mentors, angels, VC’s, students, schools and government groups within the Philadelphia area. As a collaborative and engaging event, the Founder Factor helps to unleash Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial potential.

To encourage collaboration within the Philadelphia startup ecosystem, where people starting companies are encouraged and supported by successful entrepreneurs and mentors from the venture capital and university community.

Founder Factory

Friday, October 23, 2009

new coworking community: design annex, sommerville


Design Annex is a new CoWorking space in Sommerville, Mass, just north of Boston with a focus on design centric businesses. They explain on their site that Sommerville is a growing center for design service firms, and they were conceived to serve the design independents in the community.

Somerville is increasingly the center of design in Massachusetts with 124 design related businesses, making the city second in density of both architectural & engineering service firms and of design service firms in Massachusetts. More than twenty creative industry businesses are active in the central business district of Union Square alone. Design Annex seeks to further advance Union Square as a center for design-related activity.

Along with the usual CoWorking space amenities such as workstations and conference rooms, Design Annex has a dedicated model building/presentation making room with ventilation appropriate to various glues and spray materials.

Design Annex

follow Design Annex on twitter

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

coworking community forming in columbia, sc

For those keeping track of new CoWorking sites, or if you are from Columbia, SC - good news. A new CoWorking site is forming. This appears to have just launched so this is the ground floor - all aboard!

Columbia CoWorking

Friday, October 16, 2009

looking for space, looking for people to share space

Some great resources for office space/coworking matchmaking:


The Cube is a CoWorking online community touts itself as an online water cooler. More of a "full service" community its also a good place to find space, or find people to share space.


SuiteMatch is just what it says it is - like a dating service for the workplace. They cover all of the larger cities coast to coast, and seems like a good way to find shared office space.


Rofo is an online Broker of sorts, providing free listings of your space, and free postings of your space needs. If you make a match through their service they ask for a small fee, although I was never able to find out exactly what that was reviewing the site.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

great review of computer enabled grommets

Belkin USB Grommet

The Unplggd blog has a great review of computer enabled desktop grommets on their blog today. They cover several units by Belkin, mainly USB such as the one we covered this past summer. There is also one that combines power, video jack, and network connections - perfect for docking a laptop.

Desktop Grommets at Unplggd

Sunday, October 4, 2009

portable office inside steamer trunk


Via, the describe this as:

Here's a portable office built into an oversized repro of a vintage steamer trunk -- it's a movable workspace you can take on the QEII or sail off with on a zeppelin.

office steamer trunk

Thursday, October 1, 2009

industrial/institutional casters often = cool


In the world of open and flexible workplaces, desks and furnishings on wheels are often a big plus. For a long time the only kind of caster wheels you saw were pretty status quo, but the open office movement seemed to fuel some innovation here. Well some years later I have to say that roller blade wheels have sort of jumped the shark and I always have my eyes out for interesting looking caster wheels. More often than not I see them on industrial and medical equipment. These users won't stand for a caster braking down either - no funky wheels like on the supermarket shopping cart please. So these tend to be tuff as nails, and very cool looking too. Furniture vendors take note - we are watching your wheels! Surprise and delight us!



Tente casters, medical, industry

Monday, September 28, 2009

acoustic divider panels by ruckstuhl


These felted screens by Ruckstuhl come in several different configurations - freestanding, desk mounted, and suspended. Besides making great space dividers, they serve to dampen the transmission of sound from workspace to workspace.



Acoustic Panels by Ruckstuhl, desk mounted, freestanding, suspended

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

homework desk by Robin Grasby Design


A very cool home office desk with a modular design, hanging map pockets, sliding tiltable work top, and a built in book end. And Saw Horse legs to boot! I like this desk - modern and functional, and still warm and comfortable. Check out the image sequence that shows how it goes together.

Homework Desk flash site, but this will get you close

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

dare studio writing desk

katakana desk, dare studio

Just a beautiful wood writing desk. Probably the cost would make this impractical for any workplace on a budget, or a home office for full time work. But so nice to look at. It actually is designed for use with a laptop, with special compartments for power supply and wires.

katakana desk, dare studio

Katakana Writing Desk by Dare Studio

Thursday, September 17, 2009

studios to die for, a flickr gallery

studios to die for gallery on flickr

Flickr has a new feature: Galleries, which allow members to curate images from other members to make themed galleries of images. This came to my attention when one of the images posted for the workalicious blog was entered into a gallery called studios to die for. Its just begun, with only a few images, but one to watch in the future.

studios to die for, a flickr gallery

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

long barn studio, architect's workplace

long barn studio , Nicolas Tye Architects

This purpose built architectural office by Nicolas Tye Architects looks like a terrific place to work. It appears to be located in a fairly rural setting in the UK, and the studio spaces have floor to ceiling windows to allow the landscape to enter the office. The office appears to be a perfect mix of modern and farm yard as well which also makes it feel inevitable. The workers look to be rocking on Big Table Desking to boot. My eye can't quite ID the vendor, but I think it reminds me of Knoll's Crinion system.

long barn studio , Nicolas Tye Architects

See more images at the Contemporist blog

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

nj coworking organizing new community


Readers in New Jersey should be aware that there is a new CoWorking site being organized in the Garden State. They are not clear where they are looking to locate the site, but I suspect it is in the NY metro area, rather than southern NJ in the Phila metro area. But I could be wrong.

Update: They are in Union NJ and will have 5000sf at Kean University as of November 2009.

NJ Coworking

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

jack trestle, by naughtone


A clever table trestle - made of laminated birch, it packs flat and is held in an open position by the cross piece. The photos should make it clear - the legs consisting of half the thickness of the full lamination, split from the foot up, are spread and flex to a wide and stable stance.


I like the way the table can present just two legs on the side where you pull up your chair to use it as a desk. The wide spread of horses always cramp the desk side but in this case they do not.

Jack Trestle designed by Will Smith for naughtone

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

l.o.f.t. workstation via mocoloco


This curious workstation is posted today at MocoLoco. It looks to me like its made up of parts of old school wood painting ladders. But there is more to it than that. The designers describe it as:

The platform forms a new typology of furniture. It is not a desk-like object though the table top is a feature of it. The platform/frame becomes a toolbox for a different occupational needs, different job characteristics. This type of furniture is a feature bearer, not a one purpose unit as most of today's furniture, which impose certain way of work while it might not be the most efficient one. This opportunity-giving kind of design is becoming a new strategy for tight spaces where more and more diverse action are undertaken and where the traditional desk might not be the best solution anymore.

L.O.F.T. at MocoLoco

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

breakout os, social media site for work meetups

This is a web application that is still in Beta, and is being tested in NYC from now through September. Here is how it is described:

When workers of the world throw off the shackles of their fixed workplaces and liberate themselves from their cubicles, how will they find each other in the creativity-inspiring public spaces of the world's cities? At this session, we'll take the wrapper off an alpha version of the Breakout Operating System, a social wep app that's part Meetup, part social media aggregator, and part networking site for coworkers. Help us turn this amazing tool into something that can be used around the world to liberate people from the dull conference rooms and confining cubicles and experience work in the great outdoors.

So if you are in the area, and you want in on this software's testing follow the link to the page to get the details on the beta testing schedule and meetings.

BREAKOUT! Beta meeting at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

xeno work table by girsberger

xeno 1

I like this conference/work table by Girsberger. It has sort of a rustic picnic table like look to it, yet the top conceals an expansion mechanism and additional table leaves. Very cool. And it looks like you can get one end of the table in a laminate surface - great if you want to high-light the location of a speaker, or if a pot of coffee/pitcher of water is always on the table during your meetings.

xeno 2

xeno 3

Xeno at Girsberger

Thursday, August 20, 2009

interactive google map of coworking locations

View Larger Map

Here it is - a map of all the know coworking locations in the world. Going to be traveling, needing a desk for a day, here is your best reference. You can add locations you know of, or direct your favorite coworking site to get their location up on the map.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

topdeq closing, offering 30% off

Topdeq logo

I'm disappointed to announce that mail order office furniture and accessory dealer Topdeq is closing. For years they have offered a range of well designed knocked down office furniture that was a clear cut above Ikea. It seems they are another victim of the economy, but to our benefit they are going to go out with a big sale. 30% off inventory is what I was told on my phone in inquiry. I did not see that posted to their web site today, so if you are going to take advantage of it make sure you call in for the most up to date pricing.

So Long Topdeq, and thanks for all the desks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

sxsw candidate panel on "ditch the cubicle"

sxsw panelpicker

One of the candidate panels for SXSW2010 is titled Ditch The Cubicle, Go Virtual, Save The World! If you are voting on panels please vote for this one because we would like to see it happen, and cover the contents here on Workalicious. In fact if this panel does not make the cut we invite the organizer Tony Bacigalupo to host it virtually and we'll post it to Workalicious. The proposal asks:

Why do people work in cubicles? What is virtualization? What challenges do businesses face when attempting to go virtual? How would going virtual affect carbon emissions & gas consumption? How would going virtual affect traffic and infrastructure? How would going virtual affect happiness? How does a company go about removing the need for an office? How exciting would it be to do away with the cubicle? How can we each do our part to improve the work/life balance? What open questions are still to be answered?

Ditch the Cubicle at SXSW

Tony on twitter

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