"The premise of the activity setting approach is that one place--an all purpose workstation per person--no longer suffices. Instead, people need multiple workplaces. These specialized settings span the variety of often contradictory office worker requirements. As tasks change, people move to various specialized activity settings. This movement is healthy, it makes jobs more interesting and encourages participation in ad hoc temporary groups and greater use of specialized costly equipment."
Robert Kelley, 1985
Complex natural systems are the model for successful, creative work environments. The environment must be engineered to be both organic and cybernetic, adjusting to its user requirements minutely and without fanfare. To be psychologically comfortable, an environment must be physically comfortable and allow variation in the color and texture of the furniture, levels and quality of lighting, and acoustical environment.
The work furniture system must be the most flexible component to physically support the work being done. The changing requirements of the individual and group work processes demand flexibility, and in many cases, mobility. The elements of a flexible work environment must have a certain commonality and at the same time allow for the individual expression of a person's or group's work style. Furniture elements must be solid and sturdy to withstand frequent movement and intensive use.
The total variety of the environment--a Center for learning or management--must be requisite with the variety of human requirements in performing learning, design and management tasks in the modern workplace. If the users require a 50 foot long wall to lay out a complex process that 40 people can see and comment on in real time, the Center must provide that. If the users require many intimate workspaces to think through knowledge-intensive detailed problems, the Center must provide that. If the users require different computing and communication tools at different points in their work, the Center must provide that. If the users require interaction through various electronic means, with co-designers at another site, the Center must provide that. If multiple users, working on different tasks, require these different spaces and tools at different times and for different periods of time, the Center must provide that. The knowledge worker should be supported by a suite of furniture items from which he or she can configure. The work furniture must be flexible, mobil, and highly individualized.
Making use of the important details of what today's knowledge workers need, we engineer and craft our environments to evoke the proper psychological response from the worker, to reduce stress and maintain efficiency.
Introduction: Integrating Philosophy, Art, engineering, Craftsmanship, and Business
The New Workplace Philosophy: Environments for the Knowledge Intensive Workplace
The Art of Creating Enduring Environments, Part 1: Meaning, Identity, and Context
The Art of Creating Enduring Environments, Part 2: Spatial Patterns