Tuesday, June 30, 2009

tabrasa - instant white board on any wall


Tabrasa is a white board paint that allows you to turn any wall into a dry-erase marker board, or white board as they are often called. White boards seem to have completely replaced black boards, colored markers have replaced white or yellow chalk. And it seems since the whole affair became tidier the white board really made an advance out of the classroom to where it is almost ubiquitous in work places. They are used for meetings, for seminar rooms, for brainstorming areas. And now you can introduce a white board area into almost any office without putting up a special piece of hardware.

Tabrasa by Ideapaint at MDC Wallcoverings

thanks to Pat at A+D Library Services

Monday, June 29, 2009

banquet workstation - theswitch


An interesting workstation situation at this Greek design firm. They have a series of shared desks, not quite big table desking as they only seem two wide, but they have a big banquet seat on one side. It provides an interesting alternative way to sit at your desk, and the high back makes for a space divider as well. Very cool idea, pulling from cafes, or taverns, and injecting it into the workplace. A description:

theSwitch workspace is located at Psirri, a “busy”, multi-cultural area in the historical center of Athens. Based on the agency’s philosophy on teamwork and the creation of user-friendly workspaces, the design and construction of the space creates a series of mini-spaces which serve for different functionalities: meeting room, mini-meeting room, lounge area, kitchen and bar- all fit in 120sq.m. Wide windows around the workstations allow for “communication” of the interior with the neighborhood and a view to Acropolis from the office’s front window. Transparency, simplicity and cleanness, with an attention to details and ergonomics characterize the space, which has been described as an urban working loft, where you constantly meet small “design surprises”.

To me this is much more compelling an idea than anything out of Neocon this year. More photos at theSwitch at ThisAintNoDisco

Sunday, June 28, 2009

neocon09 - allsteel wins best of show for new desk system


Stride. A handsome new desk system from Allsteel, no doubt, which combines desks, storage, and partitions. But all the same I'm not getting the feeling that any new ground is broken here. We've seen similar systems before.


Stride at Bustler

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fernlund + Logan at plastolux

Fernlund + Logan

Our posting frequency will be down until we have the back of house transfer done, so in the meantime enjoy this great loft workplace of designers Fernlund + Logan posted to the Plastolux blog.

Fernlund + Logan

Fernlund + Logan

Fernlund + Logan

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

neocon09 - knoll enters the plastic chair space

spark chair, by knoll

Looks like Knoll is introducing their own version of the $100 plastic chair, designed by Don Chadwick no less. Its going to be available in the typical range of bright colors, sled base or legs, for indoors or out, with the now usual range of green credentials. Not sure if it hits that $100 price point though.

Spark chair by Knoll

Thursday, June 18, 2009

neocon09 - herman miller setu chair

Herman Miller Setu

Herman Miller has introduced a new chair, the Setu. Clearly inspired by the Eames Aluminum Group, but appears to have a flexible spine which should actually ad more comfort over a longer sit. No specifics yet, but hopefully arms and wheels are in the mix to make a decent task chair of it.

via the Architects Newspaper

Sunday, June 14, 2009

neocon09 - diffrient world chair, humanscale

Human Scale Generation Chair

Humanscale is touting their new Diffrient World Chair at Neocon this year. This is their new task chair designed by Neils Diffrient who has designed past task chairs for them. Although they have a long list of new features for the chair it has a strong resemblance to its predecessor, the Liberty Chair. In particular the back design is almost the same, using the same strategy of providing lumbar support with a multi panel non stretch mesh. Also like the Liberty chair is a simplified adjustment set - the chair has only minimal controls and adjustments with most of the fit being made dynamically by the design of the chair. One of the biggest claims is the simplicity of the chair's construction with just 8 major parts, and 80 parts total. This lends itself to disassembly and recycling.

Human Scale Generation Chair

More details in Humanscale press release.

will wright, game inventor, on the workplace

In an interview in the New York Times game inventor Will Wright presents some insightful observations about the nature of managing workplace culture and creating an atmosphere that fosters the best work from everybody. Here are a few of my favorite passages:

On getting the very best out of everybody, finding the zone where each individual can pour themselves into their work"

And this to me is one of the important points of working collaboratively with other people — trying to get a sense of what is the one thing that makes their eyes light up, they get excited about and they won’t stop talking about... I initially really noticed this in myself. If I was working on something I was really into, nothing was going to get in my way, no matter what obstacles came up in front of me. If it was a task that somebody gave me and I wasn’t that into it, it was more like you were just sitting there turning the crank and going through the motions.

On leveraging personalities in a team, making it a benefit rather than an issue to manage:

A lot of team members I consider glue within the team in that they disseminate things effectively, they motivate and improve the morale of people around them. They basically bring the team tighter and tighter... Other ones are solvents and, it’s just their kind of personal nature that they might be disagreeable. They rub people the wrong way. They’re always caught in conflicts. But, for the most part, that is as least as important as their competence in their role.

And this I love, on how to build autonomy in the people you manage:

One of the things that I have done with people that I work with is, they will always come to me for a decision: “Do, you think we should do A or B?” More and more I will ask them to guess which one we would pick. They’ll say, “Well, you know, we were thinking you would pick A.” And then you give them feedback. “Hey, you’re right: I would have picked A,” or “No, you’re wrong: I would have picked B, and this is why.” And the point of that really is to get them to develop an internal model of you.

And there is more - well worth a read, over at the New York Times

Friday, June 12, 2009

loftwall interior screen/partition system

loftwall interior screen/partition system

An interesting product for making screen walls of your own design and pattern. It consists of an aluminum framing system into which you can insert a range of in-fill panels, some transparent/translucent, different materials and different colors. Get the full story over at Jetson Green

LOFTwall Mod Green Custom Partitions

neocon09 - first look knoll's new generation task chair

neocon09 - first look knoll's new generation task chair

First images have surfaced of Knoll's new task chair called Generation. They seem to have a new take on the mesh, ventilated back surface, although the seat looks to me more pad like. I've no description of the chair yet so no insight into the adjustments. The back does appear to be very flexible in the photos, and the surfaces look to be largely plastic which I suspect will contribute to a recycling plan and LEED certification.

neocon09 - first look knoll's new generation task chair

neocon09 - first look knoll's new generation task chair

neocon09 - first look knoll's new generation task chair

Knoll Generation chair at the Limited Hype blog

Thursday, June 11, 2009

neocon trade fair, chicago june15-17

neocon trade fair, chicago june15-17

This coming Monday starts NeoCon, the country's largest trade show for office furniture, systems, and furnishings. Regrettably we are not going to Chicago for the show this year, but we will be scouring the web for product info and introductions to report back to you here.

This is similar to the ICFF (international contemporary furniture fair) from NY, but ICFF is a wider range of furniture including residential seating and accessories. NeoCon is full bore workplace.

NeoCon 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

great small desk for laptop user

great small desk for laptop user

This great desk by BlueLounge via the Unplggd blog was designed with the laptop user in mind. This small desk has a clever system for storing all your stray wires in the body of the desk so you can have all you many laptop accessories at hand without the clutter.

great small desk for laptop user

The laptop work area also slides out to allow you to adjust your screen/keyboard position without always shifting your machine. It comes flat packed with the only assembly being to attach the legs.

StudioDesk at BlueLounge

Great coverage at Unplggd

tour of david byrne's office

tour of david byrne's office

A fascinating tour of David Byrne's office where he explains the various artifacts around his office. A pretty fascinating tour - I enjoyed his experimental chairs - one made of big molecules below.

tour of david byrne's office

tour of David Byrne's office in Fader

via Bike Hugger

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

easy go chair by thonet

easy go chair by thonet

The EasyGo Chair by Thonet is an interesting chair that defies categorization. It has castors for task chair like mobility, yet it stacks, or folds and nests for storage. Perfect chair for multipurpose conference rooms where you may have a big meeting one day, or a gang of temp workers the next. The back rest has a degree of flex built in, and it can be had with arms or without. Several different colors, upholstered seat or plastic shell.

easy go chair by thoneteasy go chair by thonet

Easy Go by Thonet

easy go chair by thonet

Monday, June 8, 2009

stay tuned - platform move coming up

Keep an eye on the site folks. We are preparing to make a move to a new blogging platform. There will be a little disruption as you might expect during the transition. We are going to do our best to just ignore it and keep on posting. So my advice is to do the same.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

interview with Drew Tyler, part 3 of creating a coworking community

interview with Drew Tyler, part 3 of creating a coworking community

Since the interview began Beta Loft has launched in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Drew is conducting a free "beta test" of the space for people to try out the community.

Greg: Ok, so you have a plan, you start looking for a location. What were the characteristics of the space you were looking for? How many people were you hoping to accommodate? How many square feet does it translate into?

Drew: I knew I wanted a handful of things; Lots of open space, a few small offices, hard floors, something classy. I also focused a lot on location. I wanted something right near downtown, near our Light rail TRAX. My reasoning behind this was because there are no other coworking spaces in Salt Lake and I want the space to be very accessible. I looked at several places on my own and with some others interested in the idea, we found a few places that we could MAKE work. After finding one I would crunch the numbers to see if I could make the ends meet. I finally contacted an agent and things picked right up.

I knew I needed to find a sweet balance between the size of the space and what I thought I could reasonably fill. My hope was to have a space that was large enough that the members' fees could cover the overhead including a manager's salary. I wanted this space to have someone responsible and accessible at all times, a concierge of sorts. My figures pointed to about 25 people. So I was looking for something in the 2000-3000 SF range. I ended up with just under 2,500 SF. Having an agent made all the difference, once he understood what I was creating. We agreed that I needed something that was not NNN and prbly would be best picking up a sub-lease option. I was able to find the perfect space with everything I wanted.

G: What kind of work scenarios do you imagine providing? Conventional desks? Cafe tables? Lounge furniture? Meeting rooms?

D: We offer a nice assortment of desks. Currently we have 2 café like tables or 'big desks' for up to 4 people each, several smaller personal options and some traditional desks complete with hutches and locking filing cabinets. We also have our down-time hang-out area which can be used for work, a simple Ikea couch with a couple of Ikea 'Dave's' and a 'coffee table.' We have one office available, we are turning the other into a mini-studio for podcasting. We also have a great conference room for small group meetings or client meet-ups. It can seat about 10 people. One thing we are finding is that we need a 'phone booth.' The hardwood floors and brick walls mean you can hear everything whether you're prone to eves-dropping or not. We share the space with the sub-lessor, who operates a software development company. We decided to try our arrangement without building a dividing wall right away, which makes our space feel like 4000 SF and they have access to their conference room, which is still outfitted with all of their equipment. They've been fantastic to work with because they 'get it,' they understand the benefits of coworking and want us to succeed.

G: Do you aspire to provide any dedicated media work accomodations? Editing stations? Sound booths for recording?

D: I do aspire. I'm not sure if this particular space will allow that, but I'll get as close as I can. For now it will be outfitted with a single HD edit suite— mine. Though I suppose if someone knew what they were doing I could see sharing it. There is a need for a rentable 'insert stage' in SLC, but again due to the design of this beautiful space... it probably won't work for that purpose. However, in scaling that concept back in size the media solution that comes out is a simple but fully equipped podcasting studio. My plan is to convert a single office, about 10'x12', in the next few weeks into a mini-studio. We will be able to shoot excellent high quality, mulit-cam, graphic-ed, polished podcasts in mere minutes in there. As well as any simple online video testimonials, green screened bits or talking-head stuff. Recording video or audio podcasts will be as simple as hitting a few buttons. I realize that is what many computers tout with their built in cameras and software goodies, but the podcasts coming out of BetaLoft will be of the highest quality. (I've been producing television shows and working in television production for the last 10 years.) We will have the gear that most podcasters dream about.

   I do hope that in the near future I can teach the things I love, editing, shooting producing, etc. The space is ideal for training and educational type setups. I see the space filling a need for a 'digital' community center down the road. Like a free Open-Source version of Best Buy's 'geek-squad' or Apple's 'genius bar'.

Get the scoop, follow Beta Loft on Twitter

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

coworking article at urban omnibus

About a week ago Todd Sunstedt who we've been talking to about the implications of coworking, led a tour of four different coworking spaces in New York City and Brooklyn. Laura Forlano of the Urban Omnibus web site (a project of the Architectural League of New York) was along for the tour and has written a great article about her experience. She also makes a great summary of the history of coworking and explores ideas of the work culture surrounding it. A must read for those interested in coworking.

Work and the Open Source City

03 chair by vitra

03 chair by vitra

The 03 chair is the grand daddy of $100 plastic chairs, and while it looks like it is maybe a fancy plastic chair it is much more than that, and costs much more as well. While the bright colored molded seat looks like the prototypical plastic chair the 03 is actually much more substantial than a plastic chair. With the heft and weight of a sturdy old oak desk chair the 03 suprises you when you go to sit in it, adjust its position, there is much more mass and momentum than its thin profile suggests. Underlying the seat and back is a heavy steel frame that gives the chair its weight and strength. This is how it presents its thin wafer like profile and yet feels so substantial. The seat and back are molded around the frame with a high density foam. And this is where the chair surprises you again. It is remarkably resilient, with a firm pad like feel when you sit in it. It actually offers much more comfort than an inexpensive plastic chair could ever muster. The back as well gives in the center, sling like, while the entire back flexes much like a task chair albeit the flex is firm and limited.

03 chair by vitra

The 03 chair stacks, and is avaialble in a range of colors - a really excellent design. Vitra also makes several variations including a cantilever sled base, and a full blown task chair with a mobile spider base. The task chair comes in several versions with thicker and softer pads as well.

03 Chair at Vitra

ruigrok | netpanel at this ain't no disco

ruigrok | netpanel at this ain't no disco

A very cool and unusual office posted today at the This ain't no disco blog. The Ruigrok | NetPanel research consulatancy offices in what appears to be the loading area of a grain elevator. It has cavernous spaces with immense concrete piers, and cast in place hoppers descending from the ceiling!

ruigrok | netpanel at this ain't no disco

Description from This ain't no disco:

Ruigrok | Netpanel choose an old concrete silo in Amsterdam as her new office. The rough, industrial, open space had the character that owner Marja Ruigrok was looking for. The only problem with the place was that it was completely unsuitable for an office like hers. It needed separate meeting-rooms, interview-rooms etc, but without destroying the rough and open feel of the place.

ruigrok | netpanel at this ain't no disco

And they are rocking big table desking too boot! More photos at the link:

Ruigrok | NetPanel atThis ain't no disco

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

nice home office built in desk

nice home office built in desk

I like this minimalist wall hung work top posted to Wherewedowhatwedo. It consists of a hollow wood box that allows all the cabling to be hidden. Description from the site:

Vitra .04 office chairs by Marten van Severen, Lifto desk lamps by Belux, USM Haller storage unit for laser printer, hard drives and UPS. Bang & Olufsen phone, Harman Kardon's SoundSticks, The custom built desk made of black MDF is 5 meters long and hollow where all cables are drawn..

There are more images at Flickr if you follow the link.

Marvelgulp at wherewedowhatwedo

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