The Future of the Office isΓÇª Flatpack?
From cardboard chairs to downloadable desks, thereΓÇÖs a new trend emerging in the world of office interiorsΓÇª Lightweight furniture which can be easily assembled, disassembled and recycled reflects our changing relationship with the office.
Most of us throw away the cardboard packaging that comes with our furniture ΓÇô but what if you could use it to furnish your office instead?
Sounds crazy? ItΓÇÖs actually a growing trend. Take the recently launched new HQ for Friends of the Earth, with its cardboard reception desk. Yes, cardboard. But it doesnΓÇÖt look flimsy or feel temporary. Instead, it has created quite the talking point since the new offices opened.
Friends of the Earth arenΓÇÖt alone in their enthusiasm for cardboard furniture. Over in the US, Chairigami specialises in creating cardboard desks, chairs and storage units. If youΓÇÖre feeling health conscious youΓÇÖll be pleased to hear that theyΓÇÖre soon to launch a cardboard standing desk too (funded on kickstarter, of course) ΓÇô an option we can all afford to try.
If you want to see just how far you can take this trend, take a look at the offices of creative agency Nothing in Amsterdam.
There are lots of reasons for companies to turn to cardboard furniture: as a material itΓÇÖs versatile, affordable and easily recyclable ΓÇô a fact which wonΓÇÖt have been lost on Friends of the Earth. However, if cardboard furniture still sounds a little too basic, there are other options to consider.
OpenDesk offers furniture designs licensed under Creative Commons, with patterns ready to download (for free) directly from its website.
This global collaboration project allows a designer in Hyderabad to create a pattern which can be downloaded and made up in Dubai, Mexico City, London, ParisΓÇª In other words, by whoever wants a desk, wherever they are.
The benefit to the environment is significant, thanks to the elimination of CO2 emissions associated with transporting furniture around the globe. Unsurprisingly, Greenpeace has already snapped up some open desks to kit out their offices.
Temporary furniture for temporary offices
Whether youΓÇÖre looking for affordability, an eco-friendly option or just a cool talking point: all are excellent reasons to choose the new flexible furniture.
But thatΓÇÖs not all. ChairigamiΓÇÖs tagline, ΓÇ£cardboard furniture for the urban nomadΓÇ¥, sums up another driving factor behind the sudden interest in disposable furniture: our increasingly temporary relationship with the office.
For many, modern business owners, the idea of investing in a solid mahogany desk the size of a kitchen table is as unthinkable as deciding to take a ten-year lease on a city centre office. That level of commitment is no longer desirable in a world where staying agile and adaptable is the key to success.
Hence the increasing popularity of flexible workspace, from serviced offices to coworking space. As weΓÇÖve written before: ownership is old news. Businesses want to move quickly; to relocate, upsize or downsize their premises. To do that efficiently means travelling light.
Of course, most business centres come fully furnished, freeing businesses from the burden of furniture ownership, cardboard or otherwise. But for those who do want ΓÇô or need ΓÇô to furnish their own space, the new flexible furniture movement offers them the solution. Right now, both trends look set to go from strength to strength.
Would you use cardboard furniture in your office? How about giving downloadable desks and chairs a go?
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