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Finding Privacy in the Modern Workplace

The workspace is buzzing with a dedicated focus on open-plan and collaborative workplace design, but how can we achieve a piece of privacy within such a crowded and distracting space?



BY Christina Rae

November 7th, 2016


As leaders in the global workspace design community, furniture giant Haworth knows a thing or two about what’s trending and what’s not. Undoubtedly the past several years has seen a passionate drive towards the idea of a flexible and collaborative workspace, with companies like Google paving the way for slides and billiard tables to become workplace staples, along with a bevy of communal amenities and spaces. Workplace practices such as ‘hot-desking’, and the prevalence of open-plan offices has been designed to encourage and facilitate collaboration, and while there are undeniable benefits to agile working, it’s important not to forget that different individuals work in alternate styles, and some will have a need for a little privacy amongst the hustle and bustle.

Californian Mike Simonian and Dutch Maaike Evers are the dynamic duo behind San Francisco industrial design studio Mike & Maaike who take a refreshingly progressive attitude to their collaborations. Having previously worked with tech titans like Google, Belkin, and Xbox, Mike & Maaike were enlisted by Haworth to create the sleek and creative Window Seat lounge for their Haworth Collection. With an elegant and futuristic look, the Window Seat lounge is an imaginative nook of privacy fit for any shared and public space.

In the design process, Mike & Maaike began with a box and proceeded to cut pieces of the box away with the aim of removing a sense of claustrophobia from its shape. What resulted is the Window Seat and its statement canopy, fulfilling Mike & Maaike’s intention to create a ‘room-within-a-room’. The canopy shell embraces the occupant, giving its user privacy, and an acoustically sound reprieve from the surrounding environment.

“When you are in the chair, you are framed from the inside out. You can swirl the chair and shift your point of view,” say Mike & Maaike, “That level of control is something you don’t get in a normal lounge chair.”

Upholstered in wool, the Window Seat is cozy and intimate, with the added benefits of the wool muffling external acoustics and giving the user privacy for concentration, phone calls, and one-on-one interactions. The cutout vent between the canopy and backrest of the lounge prevent claustrophobia and encourages air circulation. For those who choose, the Window Seat is also available in an edition without the canopy, becoming a versatile staple ideal for lounges, lobbies, and meeting areas.


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