Open offices are great for collaboration and chatting with colleagues. They’re awful for getting shit done. There’s always a need for some peace and quiet away from the workplace thrum. It’s a delicate balance to strike, but one Singapore architect Dymitr Malcew addresses in Treehouse 2, his proposal for semiprivate hideouts informed by the shape of tree houses.
Malcew’s designs are essentially sofas built into an alcove. The whole setup is mounted on wheels for portability. Use one independently, or sandwich two of them together to form a makeshift office or conference room. (And if you move one module close to a wall, you’ve got yourself a prime napping nook.)
Despite the tarnished reputation of open offices—they’re known to drain productivity and make people sick—businesses keep building them. But the focus now is on how to hack the space to make it more functional for all the worker bees.
At 3M’s forthcoming design center, the architects incorporated creative cabins for reprieve from the open layout. The furniture company Glimakra proposes beautiful sound-absorbing desks and shelves. Malcew’s tree houses offer another clever way to make open offices a touch more hospitable.