Imagine heading into the office for the day and not sitting down at your desk. Instead, you lean against low pillars set at a jaunty angle while you have a meeting with colleagues, you lie belly down on a platform to bang out some emails on a laptop, and you curl up in a nice, quiet corner somewhere to plow through that epic report your boss just sent you. Such is the future office imagined by RAAAF in collaboration with artist Barbara Visser for their project The End of Sitting.
Part art project and part interior design concept, The End of Sitting is currently installed at Amsterdam’s Looiersgracht 60 Gallery.
The designers fitted out the space in just 10 days, using plywood frames coated with a secret render described as being “as hard as concrete” when it sets.
The space is filled with large faceted three-dimensional shapes that vary from waist-height up to shoulder-height. An assortment of angular surfaces, recesses and steps transform each object into an ambiguous piece of furniture that users are invited to interact with as they see fit.
The installation doesn’t have any chairs or desks as such, but rather a series of angled shapes and surfaces suitable for leaning against, lying atop, and sitting upon. While the color scheme is perhaps a little underwhelming, it’s a fascinating concept and the multiple surfaces and angles appear well-suited to prevent a person from working too long in one single position.
The End of Sitting isn’t intended for the mass market, and whether such an unusual setup would prove comfortable after long term use isn’t clear (lack of disabled access is also another drawback). Still, it’s certainly an interesting alternative to the much-maligned office cubicle.
The animation below helps bring the vision to life.
RAAAF has invited rotating groups of workers—philosophers, writers, psychology students, designers, and artists, to name a few examples—to post up in the “The End of Sitting” and offer feedback. Researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands are documenting the results and will be publishing the findings next spring. So far, Rietveld says, most of their guinea pig guests have reported an uptick in well-being and in physical fatigue—which is what RAAAF wants. “They have comments. This could be softer, there’s no place for my coffee cup—there’s a thousand things that could be improved, but that’s not what this is about,” he says. “The most important thing for us is that it’s offering more activity and more well-being.”