At least 5% of Americans work from home now, and 70% of people globally work from home at least once a week. Telecommuting certainly has its benefits, but work-life balance can be tough, especially for those of us who live in ever-shrinking apartments without dedicated office space.
It’s just this convergence of trends that inspired British furniture brand Established & Sons to hire designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec to create Grid. Grid is a flexible, modular piece of furniture meant to adapt to life inside a converged home-office. The press release describes Grid and Established & Sons’ broader line of furniture as “considered responses to the rise of the live-work space and shifting attitudes towards aesthetics in the working environment.”
Grid’s base is a powder-coated steel frame that’s either L- or U-shaped, much like a couch sectional would be. Atop the industrial base sits a wood board that allows it to serve as a table. And on top of the wood, you can also place upholstery, so it can be a comfortable seat or couch.
On the flip side of the design, Grid features a small shelf that can serve as a desk. And in between these two worlds lives a partition that’s either wood veneer, upholstered to stop sound, or, as seen here, a metal grid that looks something like a bird cage for humans.
We believed the idea of the grid was that you can talk through it to someone else in your apartment, so it’s less confining than a traditional wall. It’s a half-step better than working in a cubicle. Perhaps. But perhaps it just feels like you’re always, sort of, in prison. Established & Sons has since specified to us that the high-backed cage version is actually not intended for home interiors, but the low-backed could be.
In any case, we’ve seen privacy pods like Grid in office spaces for the better part of a decade now, as they’ve become increasingly popular as a way to mitigate the distracting effects of an open floor plan. Having worked in tiny, domestic spaces for most of my career, I appreciate the possibility for furniture that can tune others out without totally closing you off. Then again, given that Grid starts that $4,350, that would cover a whole lot of trips to Starbucks to just get you out of the house instead.