Is the multipurpose staircase a solution to tired offices?

Why choose a simple set of steps when you can opt for a staircase that doubles as a meeting space or breakout area?

Stairs can be ubiquitous in the workplace, particularly for bigger companies with larger floor plans and open plan layouts. They are so popular because they are built with an obvious goal in mind, and that is simply to facilitate movement from one floor to another.

Sculptural, multipurpose stair inside software company Atlassian's offices in Austin, Texas. By lauckgroup

But what if you could encourage interaction in a space as transient as the staircase? What if you could you take it up a notch by incorporating extra functions? Could a multipurpose staircase that doubles as a meeting space or a breakout area be the solution to your tired office? Could it be the way to a cleverer, more dynamic workplace?

Benches, seating areas and breakout spaces make for a great addition to a staircase, provided you have enough floorspace. The most important requirement for an efficient multipurpose staircase is to define a clear space for movement. Balustrades, a clever layout or a simple change of materials can help set boundaries.

Stair and bench space in Arnold Worldwide's Boston office. 
Staircase doubles as meeting space inside international ad agency Wieden+Kennedy's New York offices. By Work Architecture. Photo: Bruce Damonte via designboom 

Stairs can also serve multiple purposes when adorned with lush living walls, vibrant office murals or even feature walls. And since greenery and art in the workplace both have an impact on your wellbeing at the office, why not integrate them to your central staircase for everyone, including prospects, to marvel at?

Informal meeting hubs withing Soho's Living Staircase in London. By Paul Cocksedge 
TripAdvisor's Needham, Massachusetts headquarters, by Baker Design Group
Dentsu Aegis network offices in Shanghai boast a lush living walll. By PDM International
Colourful office mural inside coworking space Le Campus, Paris. By Virserius Studio

The Rio side table will lend warmth to your office waiting area

Luxurious and comfortable, the Rio side table strikes the perfect balance between corporate and homey.

Current design trends show that commercial and residential design aren't as far apart as they may seem. With 35% of our waking time spent at work, feeling at home while at the office is becoming a necessity for our wellbeing. 

Unsurprisingly, furniture can play a big part in making employees feel more at home. Instead of corporate tables and chairs, more and more offices are adopting a residential feel. Think soft seating, plush pile carpet, paintings and sculptures, anything that exudes warmth and comfort.

Office receptions, waiting areas in particular, can greatly benefit from said warmth. A careful selection of the furniture will ensure that clients and prospects are greeted with care and attention. With its textural feel and dynamic shape, the Rio side table might do just that. 

Originally designed by Charlotte Perriand for Jacques Martin's home in Rio, the Rio table was re-released by Italian furniture designer Cassina. A round side table constructed from six wedges of alternating sizes with a hole at the centre, the Rio table will lend warmth and character to your office waiting area. 

It is available in three different finishes: natural oak with a Carrara white marble top, black-stained oak with Marquiña black marble top, and natural oak with Viennese cane. 

Photos via Minima Home

The history of coworking – how did we get here?

A work trend long on the rise, coworking and the concept of office-sharing isn't as new as you might think.  

'Coworking' is on everyone's lips nowadays, but how did this revolutionary concept come about and what caused the spike of the coworking movement? We went hunting for facts and compiled them into a brief timeline depicting the history of coworking.

1995: Berlin sees the birth of C-base, one of the first hackerspaces in the world

Considered as one of the first pre-models of coworking spaces, C-base is where the history of coworking begins. A little like today's coworking spaces, C-base was a physical, community-oriented space where like-minded people with a shared interest for computers gathered and worked together under the same roof.

Along with Metalab in Vienna, C-base directly influenced the birth of hackerspaces in the United States.

Betahaus Berlin, via Creative Economy

1999: Coworking is coined, but not as we know it today

In 1999, American game designer and fun theorist – one who studies the benefits of games (yes, we are serious) – Bernard DeKoven coins the word 'coworking'. For DeKoven however, coworking is used to describe the concept of "working together as equals", as opposed to "working together, yet separate," the definition of coworking we are more familiar with today.

That same year, 42West24 break into the New York City market. A pleasant work environment with flexible desks and cancellations made possible on short notice, 42West24 is a real breakthrough, despite the lack of emphasis on the community spirit that drives coworking spaces today.

Neuhouse New York, by David Rockwell

2002: Vienna opens community centre for entrepreneurs

Two Austrian entrepreneurs partner with architects, PR consultants, freelancer and startups, and put an end to working from home. Schraubenfabrik is born but is officially defined as a community centre for entrepreneurs instead of a coworking office.

Verizon coworking space in London, via Business Insider

2005: San Francisco inaugurates world's first official coworking space

Programmer Brad Neuberg launches the first official coworking space in San Francisco. The association first offers 5 to 8 desks two days a week, free wifi and shared lunches. A year later, the coworking space closes to make way for the Hat Factory in 2006, now closed.

In 2005, Berlin opens one of the first cafés to offer free WiFi and welcome laptop users as guests, not parasites. In 2007, France follows suit and opens La Boate in Marseilles and in 2008, La Cantine and La Ruche in Paris.

La Ruche, Paris

2007: Coworking trends on Google

Since it was first seen as a trend on Google's database, the search volume for coworking' increased by a factor of 20.

Later this year, 'coworking' gets its own Wikipedia page in English. It must be official!

The Den in London, by The Collective