Some of the most interesting new ideas about office design have come out of collaborations between advertising agencies and architects. Agencies tend to make fantastic clients, often encouraging designers to stretch their creative legs and try out unusual spatial schemes. Portlandia even lampooned the trend with a sketch that shows Carrie Brownstein lost inside of Wieden+Kennedy’s labyrinthine office in Portland, designed by Allied Works.
“Very often quality thinking does not happen within the structures of the office; it happens outdoors, out in the city, or at home,” writes architect Edward Ogosta, whose new scheme for a 30-person creative agency is called Hybrid Office. Ogosta wants to create workplaces that reflect the diversity of ways in which we think and cooperate.
At first glance, Ogosta’s design for the 6,000-square-foot warehouse doesn’t seem all that unusual. But a closer inspection of the sleek particleboard furniture reveals that something isn’t quite as it should be. Each piece of furniture is a “hybrid,” an unlikely combination of two objects with no obvious relationship. For example, a city block has mated with a desk to create workspaces that look like little gabled houses. An amphitheater’s steps are detailed with bookshelves, making it into a de facto reading room. The trunk of a tree had been grafted onto a chair, creating a cocoon-like seat. Ogosta explains that he wanted to diversify the types of spaces available to workers. “I think working in and with these hybrid-objects will quietly stimulate new levels of creativity in its users,” he tells Co.Design.
Ogosta started making hybrids back in 2009, as a side project. He’s designed dozens of them, ranging from table/floor combos to a forest of chairs. “Each hybrid synthesizes essential traits from two ‘parents’ of differing typologies,” he says, creating entirely new typologies in the process. The resulting mutations are surprising and brilliantly functional: a table made from drawing paper, for example. They make perfect sense in a creative workplace.
“Workers should not feel chained to their desk,” argues Ogosta. “They should be entitled the flexibility to work lying down in a quiet nook, at a table in a bustling lunch-room, or sitting under a tree in the garden if they please.”