Blink of an Eye, by Luke Pearson

Communication and the capacity to shape our world with tools leads to cities erupting vertically. This is what spawned the modern office. Just as with China now, the migration from the fields to the office building was rapid. Like Henry Ford’s factories, the modern office – for the most part – has been rigid and geometric, in line with its architecture. All was planned to be homogenous and efficient within the confines of our analogue working format, and was therefore intentionally limited.

DAMN° Magazine November 2015
Communication and the capacity to shape our world with tools leads to cities erupting vertically. This is what spawned the modern office. Just as with China now, the migration from the fields to the office building was rapid. Like Henry Ford’s factories, the modern office – for the most part – has been rigid and geometric, in line with its architecture. All was planned to be homogenous and efficient within the confines of our analogue working format, and was therefore intentionally limited.

Although our brains had to learn these new clerical and repetitive tasks, output was still real, physical and tangible. From the earliest scripts, technology has provided solutions and a competitive edge. In the blink of an eye, what we perceive as ‘real’ has left the physical world and entered the virtual. Our digital universe has freed us from the requirement of proximity and the boundaries of time and cost.
As a result, office culture is changing at an exponential rate, with traditional norms being modified and challenged. The sharing of and access to data are liberated. Thus, the office premises becomes an ever more meaningful space for human interaction, the touch and spark of the creative process: a place not for tangible materials or siloed tasks, but rather, for the exchange of ideas in human form and in real time.
There is no doubt that technology has altered the dynamic of the office from fixed to fluid. However, the very technologies that have sped us away from reality require us to return to our human foundations so that we can synthesise the data and content. This makes the modern office richer and more diverse than ever before. There is a need for a workplace and a platform where synthesis is allowed to occur, together with our inherent desire for real interaction. Whereas the modern office was about efficiency, the future office has to be about possibilities, dreams, and creativity. And it cannot be supported by any singular model.

Luke Pearson is an industrial designer and co-founder (along with Tom Lloyd) of London design studio PearsonLloyd. The studio works on projects that have demanding spatial, ergonomic, and social requirements, such as in the sectors of healthcare, aviation, the workplace, and urban design, for clients like Joseph Joseph, Department of Health, Lufthansa, City of Bath, InterContinental Hotels, Bene, Steelcase, Poltrona Frau, Teknion, and Walter Knoll. Luke was awarded the distinction of Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts in 2008, and in 2012, Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd were named among the ‘50 Designers Shaping The Future’ by Fast Company magazine.
This article appeared in DAM53. Order your personal copy.


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