The Web is teeming with the unrealized ideas of both students and established designers who set out to produce astonishing renderings and prototypes for unusual products. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, money or technology, many of those products never progress from the planning stages to the mass market. But that doesn't mean we can't salivate over them, nevertheless.
We've never really focused on office design concepts. We've given you desk inspirations
, of course, but thinking about being in the office of the future... well, that's just not something we like to imagine. (When aliens land in 2012, we're hoping they'll either enslave us all, or hand over technology that will automate everything we ever need. Either way, no more cubicles!) But we have to be realistic. With the economy looking the way it does, we'll probably all be working until we're 90. On the plus side, we'll be sitting in fancy, visionary offices -- bedecked, we hope, with some of the following concepts.
Digilog Memory by Soon-won Kin
We may be bloggers, but we still use Post-Its -- even though most of the time we can't find the damn things. (We should really read our own desk tips
.) We really wish we had something that both appealed to our digital sensibilities in the form of portable USB storage and
satisfied our need for sticky little papers. Behold: Digilog
! There's nothing fancy about it; in fact, this concept is so within the realm of possibility that we wonder why it isn't sold all over the Internet. Oh, there is this one
, but it's only for tiny little stickies. And those aren't good for anything but bookmarks, the kind we used before the age of the Internet. You kids wouldn't understand.
Electronic Imaging Screen by Zhang Wei
We like Zhang Wei's Electronic Imaging Screen
because, again, it's not so fancy. (And also because it reminds us, naturally, of Kouji Iwasaki's modern classic TO:CA digital clock
.) We fully expect to see this kind of display technology integrated all over the place in the near future (well, if we get past this stubborn recession), considering that it's nothing more than micro-thin, translucent sheets of wood over LED readouts. We like the seemingly seamless play between the organic and the digital, and the fact that we would totally use it to change up our titles on a daily basis. Maybe tomorrow your writer will be, "Chief Executive of Funny Cat Videos, Ph.D." Neat.
Hook Wall by Jean Nouvel for Methis
We patted ourselves on the back for getting this one right. As soon as we saw Jean Nouvel's Hook Wall
, we were all like, "Scantrons! Nooo!" Then, we reminded ourselves that it'd been many moons since high school (alas). After we picked ourselves up off the floor, we discovered that Nouvel had been inspired by computer punch cards and sheet music staves when he designed this wall system for Italian furniture company Mathis. The Hook Wall partitions are rippled like corrugated siding, with a pleasingly repetitive punch pattern that anal-retentive types will really adore. The recycled (and recyclable) material will accept any shelving configuration you want, handing the role of designer over to you.
Promo by Mike Clare and Justin O'Connor
ensures you the most fun you'll ever have standing in front of a cork board. The radio-frequency identification (RFID
)-enabled panel advertises a given event; interested parties simply need to hold their phone (also fitted with a unique RFID-tagged sticker) up to the board to get all of the necessary information via Facebook. Rhode Island School of Design students Mike Clare and Justin O'Connor say that their message board is meant to help students connect to campus activities, but we think their vision falls way short. Why not use this in an office? You'll never have an excuse for missing a memo or a meeting notice again. (Great
Paper Task Light by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Wastberg
You'll need a lamp to go with your schmancy new workspace, and we looked to Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune, which is no stranger to forward-thinking design. CKR's Paper Task Light
is constructed from Durapulp, a strong and biodegradable material made from maize starch and paper. Evoking the head of an origami crane, this lamp takes the concept of the paper lantern to the extreme. And, of course, it's fitted with LED bulbs, like any good modern design.