There is a whole lot of fancy rhetoric in the press release for Docklands, a new office concept by the British design studio PearsonLloyd. It is “a programme of small independent units designed to provide a range of individual ‘Me Places.’” A place where “workers can remove themselves from the background noise and distraction associated with the general office when they require a space for total concentration.” A “simple and subtle solution.” Please. These are cubicles, plain and simple. But they’re cubicles that, fingers crossed, won’t make you want to gouge your eyeballs out.
PearsonLloyd has given the wretched old cubicle the high-design treatment. Gone are the severe edges and the plastic or MDF or whatever god-awful material they use to make cubicles nowadays. Instead, you have curved workstations semi-enclosed in sturdy upholstery that dampens sound and softens the aesthetic of the workplace. Each workstation comes with a lamp, a hanger, and a wall shelf, and the fabric shell can be customized to wrap almost all the way around the desk, for maximum privacy, or just half way.
This isn’t earth-shattering design. But when you’re glued to a desk for eight, 10 hours a day, the details matter, and it’s the details PearsonLloyd have done right. Throw a bunch of these in the office, and working in a “sea of cubicles” might not sound like such a bad thing.
Docklands was designed for the Austrian office furniture company Bene and will debut at Orgatec, a contract furniture fair in Cologne, in October.