The office of the future
“The office of the future isn’t an office at all. The office of the future is portable, but still has to have certain aspects to it that we know people want to work in.”
As the workforce changes, so does the need for adaptable workspaces. Instead of environments that need employees to work around, designers and architects are planning environments to work around their employees.
The current trend is the open workspace, however many still argue that private spaces lead to higher productivity. Designers are looking for the magic bullet that satisfies the need for open offices and occasional privacy, pop-up meetings with seamless presentations, and global communication.
A digital prototype
MG2 came to EIL at an early stage in development seeking exposure to a portfolio of potential materials and materials application expertise. To help bring the MIMIC wall to life, EIL and MG2 joined in on application development sessions and an EIL materials expert provided know-how to the MG2 team.
Through several sessions, EIL introduced two possible materials solutions: Saflex polyvinyl butyral, an interlayer material, and the Vanceva color system. To take advantage of the modular design, Saflex balances an open workplace with sound dampening qualities that aid in enhanced acoustics, while also enabling glass use in the application. The Vanceva color system allows almost 3,000 color combinations helping to personalize spaces while allowing light to transmit through the office where appropriate.
EIL also produced a video that depicts the MIMIC wall in action, letting the MG2 team envision what and where the MIMIC would be most viable through a digital prototype.
MG2 takes on industrial design
MG2, who ranks among the largest architectural firms in the nation and among the top retail design firms in the world, joined disciplines with industrial design to conceptualize a product that would enable an open working environment. The cross-functional team of 12 was led by industrial designer, Zac Feltoom and spanned three generations, each with a different perspective on workplace interiors. From their research, the MIMIC wall was born.
“The collaboration on the project allowed for a very multidisciplinary approach to the design,” noted Walt Gregor.“ There were invigorating conversations around how people interact with technology and how this technology could enable more productive working environments.”
“The workplace should conform to people, not the other way around,” says Zac Feltoon. “It should provide personal space when people want it and collaborative spaces to encourage the free exchange of ideas and energy.”
From concept to collaboration
The MIMIC wall is modular and made of hexagonal tiles that can open, close, and change their appearance based on the needs of the user and their environment. MIMIC’s tiles can be left open to allow workplace transparency, then move to a closed position to communicate the need to focus or privacy. The ability to change the tiles appearance means the possibilities for MIMIC are unending.
To conceptualize the wall, Eastman introduced two possible material solutions: the Saflex interlayer material and the Vanceva color system.
Saflex balances an open workplace with sound dampening qualities that aid in enhanced acoustics, while also enabling glass use in the application. The Vanceva color system allows almost 3,000 color combinations, helping to personalize spaces while allowing light to transmit through.
While the MIMIC wall remains a concept, the highly anticipated next step is a working prototype.