Vegetable walls and wearable computers: would you work in this office?

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- By Chloe Taylor 

Fast Company reported that plants could be growing near your standing desk, while your colleagues might be picking snacks from a wall of vegetables.

 Sean Cassidy and Joe Wilson, the winners of the Workplace of the Future 2.0 Design Competition sponsored by Metropolis Magazine and Business Interiors by Staples, designed and shared their vision to gain their prize.

“We wanted to create a place where nature and man had a symbiotic relationship, and a place which promoted healthy living,” said Cassidy and Wilson, who are both architects.

The design centres on an office-farm hybrid, which includes a wall of vegetables growing several storeys high and plants surrounding workstations on each floor.

Technology is also key; workers wear contact lenses worthy of science-fiction, which educate them about the food around them and advise them on what to eat based on their health requirements.

“We wanted to really provoke new thoughts and debates on how to make the workplace a destination, and a place that can react to each individual and stimulate them in a positive manner,” the designers said. “The user is constantly updated by the augmented content around them, such as the news feeds and health information linked to the user's augmented contact lens which monitors their health and suggests food to eat.”

The contact lenses would also replace computer monitors, allowing workers to scroll through their work on a wall or above their workstation.

Every element of the office was also designed to be portable, so that employees can arrange their space to suit their individual preferences. Temporary meeting rooms can be created by sliding walls along the ceiling, and open layouts can quickly be transformed into a private office.

“It has the potential to meet the needs of privacy, individualism and collaboration within a workplace, with all the design elements flexing to those needs,” explained Cassidy and Wilson. “The ability to completely customize your workspace, making any surface a workable one, makes the whole work experience a transformative one which can constantly adapt.”
The design also allows companies to move into a new space and completely remodel – the design was created with the intention of fitting into existing buildings.

“We wanted to create something that worked with our existing urban fabric and the current architecture that surrounds us,” the designers said. “Land is a finite resource, and as it becomes more scarce, we feel it should become necessary to work with the existing to and break down this unsustainable cycle of build-demolition-build.”

Although the design is merely a concept, Cassidy and Wilson hope that it inspires improvements in office design.

“In essence it demonstrates that the workplace can actually be anything you want it to be,” they said. “It becomes all about the employee, which is the most important part of any business.”
 
 

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