Grey walls, rows of working zombies, a never-ending flow of coffee — does this sound familiar to you? Let’s hope not, otherwise, immediately grab a copy of WorkScape: New Spaces For New Work. Sofia Borges, Sven Ehmann, and Robert Klanten from the publishing house Gestalten have carefully picked the most stunning and innovative workplaces from around the world to give companies and employees inspirational fodder on how workplaces could look like and should be nowadays.
During the industrial revolution we learned how to alien ourselves from our produce. Efficiency was the key word. When Fordism and the assembly line were introduced to the labour market we learned to reconnect to our product and re-established a relationship to our work. Vast cubicle deserts followed up and started invading the corporate world. These days, we are in the process of doing the exact opposite by dismounting cubicle walls and replacing them with wide spaces, fresh air and soothing aesthetics. Work is no longer simply work. Late hours, more complex tasks and the overlap of private and professional life make the ambience of workplaces more important than ever. Offices are not simply facades that intent to trap a maximum capacity of work force into the parameters of four walls but they have, let’s face it, become a home away from home.
With WorkScape readers can have a glimpse at several design ideas ranging from retro, futuristic, minimalistic, simple, elegant to pompous, earthy, cozy, hip and trendy. However, the book provides us not only with a broad overview of present-day architecture and interior design but also expands further on other variables that have an influence on people’s work lives: flexible open-plans and seating configurations, outdoor areas, alternatives to the 9 to 5 office structure, mixed-use and play areas and numerous add-ons that cater personal hobbies, take care of errands and go after general self-care. The list of possibilities is sheer endless and surely there is enough room left for more innovative ideas. With its collection of photographs, floor plans, background info on location and company WorkScape lays a solid foundation for employees and employers alike that aim at a stimulating work environment and do not fear to take unconventional roads on their way to successful ideas. Sir Ken Robinson, a prolific advocate for education reform, sums it up this way: ”Investing in professional development is not a cost. It’s an investment.”