A company’s workspace, just like its organisation and strategy, plays an essential role in creating its identity. Planning a working environment involves a series of choices that allows business and leisure to be combined in a space to better meets the needs of users, and further their well-being. The working environment has become not only a strategic and managerial tool, but also a mirror of a company’s values – of its culture, its professional roles and skills. Employees are increasingly mobile, no longer have allocated offices and sit down to work where they please: at a work station where they connect a computer and tablet, in a meeting room, even on a sofa.

This blog post is written by Joanna Baines. Jo is Senior Library Assistant with the Special Collections team at the University of Kent. She was awarded Bruynzeel’s 2015 bursary to attend the CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Conference.

Our vision is that storage space will have a more important and a more visual role within this future work space. The design of the Cubik’s Box is inspired by this vision. We tried our hardest to consider the visual element in a scenario in which it becomes the main hinge within its space. We therefore started with the principle that office storage is becoming less prosaic, and more aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic. The objective is not to optimise space – concentrating solely on the practical aspect – but to incorporate a certain philosophy about how to store and exhibit this function – playful storage. Physical storage and digital storage are two sides of the same coin; one is needed as much as the other. Physical storage systems must evolve in order to respond to current demands. The new version being talked about integrates new features, such as landmark features, a discussion table, a work area, and so on. Every workspace is related to the activities that are carried out in it (an architect’s office, a call centre, a lawyer’s office, a library, a museum, etc.). Each of these spaces uses its “scenario” in a different way. These scenarios allow the demands and requirements of permanent and temporary users to be addressed in order to improve their daily life and make working life more enjoyable. You might say that space is conditioned by its usage, and that the requirements of physical storage are specific to the scenario. The first quality required for a piece of storage furniture is therefore adaptability: the more modular it is, the more it will adapt to different environments. The second quality is ergonomics: the shape of storage furniture must be adapted to the working conditions of the user. It must be possible to use the product with maximum comfort, security and efficiency. As with employees, storage systems are becoming increasingly mobile. Moving a piece of furniture within a space offers many opportunities for rearrangement: the whole space becomes flexible. The user creates his or her own organisation within a given area. We both attend architectural school – I am a student at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture in Nancy, while Amine is a student at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris. In 2007, our paths crossed at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts et des Métiers d’Architecture in Rabat. Having the same interests, our professional complicity progressively strengthened and we therefore decided to try to work together on some small projects. The “Shaping the Office” competition was for us an opportunity and a challenge because we wished to answer this question from an architectural point of view, an approach that was very satisfying. It has also helped us reinforce the philosophy we have had since we started in this career that the border between architecture and design does not exist.