Beyond the Surface

Allison Booth

The Future of Work


Jono Sturt + Clement Blanchet


Beyond the Surface is a thesis that explores the individual workstation in an office setting. The workstation format is an artifact that belongs to the collection of office furniture typologies. The current workstation includes a horizontal plane that is elevated to a particular height, acting as a rigid datum upon which to place work items. While the workstation has remained the same, the way in which people are working evolves everyday. With the use of artificial intelligence and increasingly connected devices, how the work is accomplished involves multiple devices, different teams, and various spaces. Beyond the Surface evaluates the ecosystem of workstations through a connected and flexible approach that will constantly shift the office landscape on a daily basis. Reintroducing personalization and customization into the unassigned workstation model will allow for workers to benefit from the flexibility of a non-ownership model while still working in a space that reflects their work habits.

The system that is being designed includes the following: (a) the individual profile of each office worker, captured through a set of work related metrics on a custom virtual platform; (b) the design of the physical workstation that reflects the data captured by each worker’s digital platform profile; (c) the aggregation of the individual workstation and its impact on the traditional office floor plan. Through this three part analysis, the office landscape shifts back towards the user-oriented approach rather than top-down organizational structures. This system encourages company employees to continually interact with new colleagues and generate an environment that enables creativity and innovation through shifting work space arrangements. Furthermore, the opportunity to re-examine the standard of typical workstations through projected future technologies and capabilities provides a valuable insight on how the future of work and the office landscape will change when searching beyond the surface.