Clive Wilkinson, a 59-year-old Capetonian architect, has designed offices for hip companies like Google and TBWA/Chiat/Day, but one of his most intriguing projects might be what has come to be known as the “endless table”.
Remember the days when advancing from a cubicle to an office, or to the corner office!, felt like an achievement? I still have fond memories of my behemoth in the Murdock Building in Westwood, high up, with a fabulous view of Westwood Boulevard and the University village beyond, the massive door the perfect insulation from the outside world.
But the office environment has evolved and most employees, these days, only need a place to plop their laptops down, a wireless connection and a mobile phone to access their productivity. Bulky filing cabinets are a thing of the past, heavy clouds hanging over us instead.
This working model is taken to its extreme by Clive Wilkinson and his LA-based architectural firm, who designed an intriguing office space for the Barbarian Group, a NY internet advertising company.
The centerpiece of the open plan offices is a 1,100 foot long table that provides space for all 125 employees, including the Chairman, thus described by the architects:
“CWa are creating an undulating ‘endless table’ to serve their 125 employees in an open work space that stretches across a city block. The table surface is resin coated and finished like a surfboard, with a plywood substructure that lifts the table over circulation aisles and shelters informal meeting spaces.”
Shelving and minimal filing space is provided underneath the curving “overpass” and under the table as well.
Because people tend to be creatures of habits, I have wondered whether the employees gravitate towards the same spot, trying to make it familiar, the way we used to decorate our offices to mirror our tastes. Judging from the photos, the answer appears to be no. Awesome idea with no room for knick-knacks or family photos.
Images courtesy of the NY Times and CWa’s website