OK, OK, the actual title of the article is “An Office Landscape Designed to Kill Boring Meetings.” But to me the most striking feature of Béhar’s office design is its complete lack of privacy. The article’s one nod to this: “… in an age of noise canceling headphones, small groups could meet in a central work area without causing a disturbance.” Noise canceling headphones? No disturbance? Please. No headphones block noise completely, and in any case they can’t provide the visual serenity and lack of stimulation which many (most?) people need to actually get work done. The furnishings are very pretty, but the design altogether is an unworkable fishbowl.
“We’re trying to reflect horizontality and creativity,” says Béhar. “Today, it’s not just the boss that gets a special chair. Because of improvements in materials and the way we approach design, everyone can have one. With the Public Office Landscape, we tried to capture this notion of collaboration and immediate access to ways of getting together.” On the surface the collection is stylish and airy, but below the polished aesthetics the system reveals a lot about what it means to be a modern office worker.