The depressing fact about office jobs is that sitting at a desk is the worst.

Getting a standing desk could help, though there no proof that standing is much better. What really works is moving around more. Maybe what we need aren’t redesigned desks, but completely redesigned offices that make us move.

Instead of the usual desks and chairs and cubicles, their office design looks like a giant rock, full of nooks and spaces to climb and work.

“This vision presents a radical break with regular office furniture and current working models…which all are still based on sitting,” the designers write. “This is a first step towards a future in which standing at work is the new norm.”

2014-07-25

Co.Exist

Forget Cubicles: This Office Replaces Desks With A Giant Rock To Climb

With nooks and crannies to help you get creative with your positioning, you'll no longer have to choose between sitting or standing while you work.

Even if you’re disciplined enough to spend an hour at the gym every day, the depressing fact about office jobs is that sitting at a desk the rest of the time will still put you at risk of dying early. Getting a standing desk could help, though no hard proof yet that standing all day is much better; what really works is moving around more often. Maybe what we need aren’t redesigned desks, but completely redesigned offices that help us move.

A design from architects at RAAAF and artist Barbara Visser takes a new approach: Instead of the usual desks and chairs and cubicles, this office looks like a giant rock, full of nooks and spaces to climb and work. "This vision presents a radical break with regular office furniture and current working models . . . which all are still based on sitting," the designers, based in the the Netherlands, write. "This is a first step towards a future in which standing at work is the new norm."

No one in the office would have a regular desk, which would keep people moving throughout the day. "It’s designed out of a thousand different possibilities for working in positions between standing and laying," the designers say. "The key is that the sculpture’s affordances stimulate people to take up different working positions during the day. The richness of this landscape gives people the freedom to find the optimal position for the different tasks."

It looks a little like a scaled-down version of this rock-climbing office near Boston. The project was commissioned by the government in the Netherlands, and will be built later this year for an exhibit. Here's hoping it inspires some new offices to abandon desks altogether.

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7 Comments

  • Emma Harris

    This is a great take on today’s mania of standing up while working. But why complicate things when you can just get standup tables? You should find so many of them sold today in varying shapes and styles. But if you are just starting out and want something that’s simple and does what it I supposed to do (which is letting you work standing up), try getting something like the http://tinyurl.com/p5jovp9.

  • Oki Alexander

    Interestingly most of the comments below completely forego what this design is about. For millions of years we evolved to move in a natural (and inconvenient) environement. We changed our environment to be more comfortable and less challenging. And if we move, we do this in designated spaces. As a result people become less adapt, less physically active, and we are victim of a host of lifestyle diseases. Like our food our movement has become monotone and processed. This project addresses that and indicates that we need to start thinking about health and wellness from a more evolutionary point of view. Even if this project is a bit abstract and maybe extreme, it is supposed to start the conversation. Oki Alexander - Building Movement www.building-movement.com

  • Thanks Julie and Adam- while this is really cool, and makes me long for the days when I was young enough to run around in those huge indoor playstructures, this is just really not a reality for disabled people like myself. Right now I work a cubicle job, partly because I simply can't work the kind of job where I have to stand a majority of the time.

  • Julie Pheasant-Albright

    This assumes that every person is under 30, and not disabled in any way. I have never seen such a stunningly uncomfortable situation. I can't imagine being able to concentrate under these circumstances. They have proven that cubicles are a poor design for productivity because of distractions; this is worse by orders of magnitude.

  • Adam Tenhouse

    While it's interesting and might broker discussion on fitness in the workplace, it's also unwelcoming to people with motor or mobility impairments. I can't imagine this is vaguely ADA compliant.

  • Ashon Sylvester

    I personally stand at work every day at my office job. My desk is adjustable and does make a difference.