Despite knowing the negative health effects of sitting for too long, many office-based workers have limited options for productive spaces beyond the typical desk and chair. But the growing medical imperative—as well as an aesthetic push to open office plans with multiple seating modes—is encouraging manufacturers to create workstations that let their users change either position (cue the standing desk) or location (consider the slew of low couches and quiet rooms at this year’s NeoCon).
Experimental Dutch studio Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances (RAAAF) and visual artist Barbara Visser take the idea a step further with a conceptual office design that replaces the standby seat and surface with geometric planes at various angles. Presented as an interactive exhibit that ran from Nov. 22 to Dec. 7 at the Looiersgracht 60 art space in Amsterdam, the pair’s proposal, "The End of Sitting," is being used by researchers at the center for Human Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, to determine how position impacts movement and productivity. Their findings are expected to be published in a spring report. The project also expands on RAAAF founding partner Erik Rietveld’s research on how immediate environments affect behavior, which is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.
The exhibition featured a network of solid surfaces created from plywood frames and a concrete variant, Dezeen reports, offered at multiple heights on which users could sit, stand, lean, lounge, and otherwise post themselves up for a brief respite or an afternoon of work. Based on the studio's goal of developing a concept to test workable positions and movement patterns, it’s questionable whether this exact formulation will be replicated in a real office or library. Instead, the findings should influence the form and arrangement of new office desking systems and space plans—giving office workers of the not-so-distant future a more dynamic kind of workstation.