Sponsored by Oregon Business

Office design: Free Dilbert!

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The newest thing in office design sounds a lot like the newest thing in groceries. Called organic design, organic planning or, if you prefer, phylogenetic design, the trend in building cubicle farms is taking cues from the great outdoors.

Forget 90-degree angles and tall metal dividers. Organically planned offi ces aim for airy with natural light, better ventilation and views to nature. They also have workspaces that fit together in a honeycomb-inspired design with desks that have 120-degree sweeps, accommodating the prevailing work methodology: piles of work spread out on each side with a computer keyboard in the middle.

“In our fathers’ world, people worked their entire lives to get into the corner office. Today, most people don’t care,” says Tess Healey, vice president at Pacific Offi ce Furnishing in Portland. Workplaces these days tend to be more collaborative, Healey says, and organic office design supports that with lower dividers and more places to gather for impromptu meetings.

Annie Johnson, owner of Windermere/Johnson Real Estate in Wilsonville, recently used organic design principles in an office redesign. She was able to fi t worksites for more agents using the 120-degree desks and made strategic use of low dividers, glass and neutral tones to give the space an airy feel. “It really made sense for our offi ce and nobody’s tucked back in a corner.”

Fitting together the 120-degree desktops results in honeycomb-like confi gurations, which ends up leaving room for more shared space and more workstations than the old 90-degree-oriented cubicles. Views to the outside world are also important, picking up on recent research that shows that patients who can see nature through their hospital room windows heal more quickly than patients who can’t.

“If employees are more productive, there’s money attached to that,” says Bonnie Campbell, account development manager for furniture company Herman Miller, the originator of the cubicle (along with the Aeron office chair) and a proponent of organic office design.

Robert Probst, a designer hired by Herman Miller in the 1960s, was the first to come up with workspaces that evolved to become standard cubicles. His original vision, Campbell says, is much closer to the organic designs being promoted these days.

— Christina Williams



More Articles

Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.


Make the business case, governor

Linda Baker
Thursday, November 05, 2015
aoikatebrownthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Gov. Kate Brown delivered the keynote speech at the Associated Oregon Industries annual policy forum yesterday.  Speaking to a Republican-aligned audience of about 100 business and public policy leaders, the governor was out of her comfort zone.


Tech to Table

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Power Lunch at the Barn Light Cafe & Bar in Eugene.


Meet Me at the Crossroads, ESPN

The Latest
Friday, October 30, 2015

Worldwide Leader in Sports struggles to cope with new media landscape, forcing us to adjust our behavior as consumers.



Linda Baker
Thursday, November 12, 2015
111215-taxilindaBY LINDA BAKER

Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.


Photo Log: #TillamookSmile

The Latest
Friday, October 30, 2015
103015-cheesethumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | ART DIRECTOR

Against a changing backdrop Patrick Criseter’s infectious grin remained constant. It’s a cheesy (pun intended) beam that begs for a hashtag.


Straight shooter

Linda Baker
Thursday, October 08, 2015
100815-bradleyBY LINDA BAKER

In an era dominated by self-promotion and marketing speak, John Bradley, CEO of R&H Construction, is a breath of fresh air.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02