The Outdoor Office
There’s a pool on the rooftop of the BANGSTYLE office. I’ve never seen it, but here’s what my imagination cooks up: an Olympic-sized slice of liquid heaven flanked with palm trees and swanky chaise lounges. Barbeques sizzling hot dogs and burgers and a full bar stocked with Mai-Tais and Amaretto Sours headed by a sexy bartender with biceps chiseled from constantly replenishing my drinks complete my fabricated oasis. If only it had Wi-Fi!
Rejoining the real world, I realize the BANGSTYLE roof pool may not be that fabulous, but I still vie for Friday workdays up there, which is why I was thrilled to find the recent work of New York-based designer Jonathan Olivares might boost my case. Olivares, known for his Jonathan Olivares Design Research (JODR) studio in New York, is known for questioning design standards. His latest study, The Outdoor Office, questions why humans have moved to a 24/7 work culture with the prevalence of smart phones and 3G and Wi-Fi but still remain constricted in indoor work-spaces.
For the study, Olivares and his team at JODR looked at specific outdoor offices spaces, which ranged from one used by Haitian relief workers to those used by Google employees at the company’s Palo Alo campus. The team then created three different mock-ups of potential outdoor offices, complete with outdoor furniture.
“The office itself plays a crucial and central role to the culture and life of a business or organization, and the Outdoor Office is envisioned as a natural and healthy extension of that indoor environment,” Olivares told Fast Co.Design.
His findings, which include photographs, videos, conceptual designs, and Olivares’ proposed furniture systems and offices, are currently on display at The Art Institute of Chicago. Olivares hopes that his research makes the case for the environmental benefits (read: reduced carbon footprint) which could be gained from working outside.
“The Outdoor Office … seeks to cut the financial and environmental costs of lighting and HVAC in parts of the world where good weather is enjoyed for at least part of the year. Although hypothetical, Olivares’s research sets a benchmark for new thinking and discovery, encouraging further examination of this important developing area of design,” The Art Institute writes of the exhibition.
While comments on Fast Co.Design’s page suggest many readers don’t share my sentiment, I like Olivares’ idea to move working outdoors–as long as precious green space is reserved for pure recreation. But a little fresh air could be a welcome respite to an eight-hour work day. Now, if only the study proved Mai-Tais increase productivity…
Photos from Fast Co.Design