Modular office furniture – practical design for working from the home office
The designer Geoffrey Pascal has designed a furniture collection that includes comfortable and modular office furniture as well as such variations for home offices. The design is a response to the growing number of people who work at home or in their beds. The three pieces in Pascal’s design project, which he called “Grafeiphobia”, are called Unexpected Office. They are simple constructions based on the frame of a simple wooden bed with a slatted frame. Various adjustments and foam covers allow the user to work in positions that mimic sitting in bed and support the body in its neutral body position.
Modular office furniture for productive work
The neutral body position originally developed by NASA can promote the health of astronauts in weightlessness. As a result, the weight of the user is distributed over several points in the body. This is in contrast to the typical sitting position at the desk, where the downward force is concentrated on the lower back. Pascal started working on the idea while studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven after analyzing his own difficulties at a desk and reading from a growing number of people who work in their beds at home.
The name Grefeiophobia refers to the fear of sitting at a desk. According to the designer, when you work in a chair behind a desk, you always feel like you are being forced to do the work. This makes you feel stress and pressure, which does not make you more productive as a working person, but rather the opposite. The designer decided to experiment on himself first and work in bed every day. The result is that when you’re in bed, your relationship with work changes. You can achieve more comfort with it, whereby the aspect of time also changes and you become less stressed and more focused.
The negative aspects of working in bed
Pascal also examined the negative aspects of working in bed. “Staying there all day is not so good,” he explained. Mixing sleeping and working environments is not recommended, and it is also not so nice in terms of hygiene. Because of this, he decided to pull the positive elements out of bed. He tried to reapply it elsewhere. The designer used different densities of foam provided by Recticel, a company specializing in mattresses. This allowed him to experiment with different positions that are common when lying in bed. The three modular office furniture in his collection could therefore be used in a traditional office environment as well as by home workers.
Modular office furniture – the three possible variants
Sitting in bed with a laptop on your lap inspired the designer to create the “Basic Besk”. It consists of three modules – a three-part backrest, a seat and a footrest that also serves as a small storage box. A small and a large, rectangular cushion and round upholstery also support the backrest. Due to the separate parts, the design can be adapted for people of different sizes and with different leg lengths. Pascal also recommends his modular office furniture for long tasks of up to three hours.
The “Triclinium Gum” is based on a sideways position, with a sloping frame that supports a mattress and an additional pillow that you can place between your legs. You can add more pillows with straps to use modular office furniture in different ways. A complete design called Popsicle can also be used as a laptop stand or standing aid. Pascal developed this furniture design for tasks that take between five and 30 minutes.
After all, “The Flying Man” is based on the front of the body and consists of three parts – one for the lower legs, one for the upper body and a laptop desk with a reversible top. You can also use the latter as an upholstered stool. You can also use the leg and chest supports as a seat and desk. This design is particularly suitable for tasks of up to an hour and for the end of the day. According to the designer, the idea for movement is especially important. Being able to move from one piece of furniture to another so as not to remain static can help you find the right parts for the job at hand. This way, the worker will not get as tired and bored as if he had stayed in a chair. He can work longer in a welcoming and comfortable environment.
Combination of functionality and style
The dome-shaped and flat cushions of the pieces are covered in strong colors and with two types of fabric from the manufacturer Febrik. Grafeiophobia was featured at the Design Academy Eindhoven Graduate Show 2018 during Dutch Design Week in October, along with other graduate projects including a portable yellow toilet for women. It is one of many projects investigating the death of the desk in response to the growing numbers of nomadic workers, changing employee expectations, and recent evidence that sitting longer can be unhealthy. At this year’s Orgatec furniture fair, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby presented a modular seating system that doubles as a workplace, while the Swedish company Blå Station presented seating that can be adapted to surfaces and sockets.