In the beginning there were grids.
Grids of acoustic tile and fluorescent lights, set over grids of desks, aligned with grids of floor tile, adjacent grids of windows stacked fifty stories above street grids where cars made decisions to turn left, right, or continue straight. Today, the dominant network is not axial but nebulous. Idea exchange supplanted material efficiency. This change creates a tension between what we do and where we do it. Even if we spend our days interacting and producing within a nonphysical network, we are physical beings in need of physical space. So, how do we design this physical space?
This design for 1407 Broadway explores morphing a naturally inspired web to adapt to people’s needs for physical, social, and inspirational space. Within dense webbing, individual cells pull down to make focus booths for firmly planting one’s head in the cloud. In another dense portion, the web forms a thickened wall- a honeycomb haven- for rest and quiet work. Along the perimeter windows, social landscapes materialize with screensaver skies, climbing walls, nets and flexible digital screens – design for movement, gathering, inspiration, and play. All together, the design is not about the web superstructure any more than the internet is about the cables. It’s about evolution – emergence of specific supporting forms within an ecosystem. In a workplace, this strategy helps workers imagine solutions, inter-connectivity and role in a more complex (than grids) world.