Conceptual office swaps chairs and desks
for "experimental work landscape"

| 24 comments

Medical research suggests that too much sitting down can be bad for your health, so RAAAF and Barbara Visser have developed an experimental office that encourages workers to lean, perch or even lie down (+ slideshow).

The End of Sitting by RAAAF

Spending every day at a desk increases exposure to a range of health issues, from heart disease to cancer, diabetes and obesity say researchers from Sweden, Australia and the UK. The End of Sitting is conceived as a space where sitting is just one of the options available.



Dutch studio RAAAF (Rietveld Architecture Art Affordances) and artist Barbara Visser first started working on the concept earlier this year. They were invited to create this – their first working prototype – at Looiersgracht 60, a new exhibition space in Amsterdam.

The End of Sitting by RAAAF

"Chairs and tables are redesigned over a million times. But what if there are no chairs anymore and you would like to afford people standing working positions?" asked architects Ronald and Erik Rietveld, the two founders of RAAAF.

"We have developed a concept wherein the chair and desk are no longer unquestionable starting points," they told Dezeen. "Instead, the installation's various affordances solicit visitors to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape."

The End of Sitting by RAAAF

The space is filled with large faceted three-dimensional shapes that vary from waist-height up to shoulder-height.

An assortment of angular surfaces, recesses and steps transform each object into an ambiguous piece of furniture that users are invited to interact with as they see fit.

The End of Sitting by RAAAF

Some naturally become leaning posts, or ledges for resting a computer or a notebook on. Others work together to frame spaces that people can sandwich themselves in between, and some seem perfect for lying on top of.

The End of Sitting by RAAAF

"We had to discover what the comfortable ways of standing working are," added the Rietvelds, whose previous projects have included slicing a redundant Second World War bunker in half and filling an abandoned building with flaming torches.

The End of Sitting by RAAAF

"We had to construct all comfortable positions ourselves, because nobody has been busy with this topic seriously. Above all we didn’t want to make furniture objects, but provide a concept on the scale of a whole working environment."

The designers fitted out the space in just 10 days, using plywood frames coated with a secret render described as being "as hard as concrete" when it sets.

The installation will remain in place until 7 December and has already been used by researchers at the University of Groningen to test the effects of working in different positions. Official findings will be published in a report next spring.

Photography is by Jan Kempenaers.


Project credits:

Client installation: RAAAF i.c.w. Looiersgracht 60
Design installation: Ronald Rietveld, Erik Rietveld, Arna Mackic
RAAAF studio support: Clemens Karlhuber, Bastiaan Bervoets, Elke van Waalwijk van Doorn, David Habets, Mees van Rijckevorsel, Marius Gottlieb, Janno Martens
Production: Landstra & de Vries supported by Schaart Adventures
Team production: Bouwko Landstra, Alko de Vries, Basile Mareé, Boris de Beijer, Chris Bakker, Dino Ruisen, Ellik Bargai, Frits Ham, Hans Jansen, Jasper van Heyningen, Jolanda Lanslots, Kier Spronk, Koen van Oort, Koos Schaart, Lika Kortmann, Lucas van Santvoort, Luuc Sonke, Mark Jooren, Patrick Mulder, Syb Sybesma, Tim Mathijsen, Tomm Velthuis
Sponsors: Mondriaan Fund, Stichting DOEN, The Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Looiersgracht 60, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

  • Jack Twist

    I hope they have a masseur team ready for next month.

  • Verner Panton

    Sharp edges, flat angular faces… I think they forgot the shape of the human body. Google Verner Panton for a desirable office space.

    • davvid

      My table has sharp edges and my drafting board has an angular face.

      • raphael k.

        You don’t get it davvid, but yes it is cool to have a drafting board as an example.

  • This could be one of the biggest changes in office design, if it proves to be effective. This is not just ergonomically, but socially attractive.

  • rjochum

    Rats in a maze. I believe that it is not the sitting that causes the health-related issues, but rather what the individuals do, while they are sitting.

    Staring at screens for hours on end and trying to reach deadlines, working too many hours on dreadfully boring projects, having slave driver bosses, receiving low wages etc.

    If society was an entity built on fairness, respect, compassion and other health-inducing qualities, then our researchers would also possess more wisdom.

    • davvid

      How is it a maze?

      • head in the real world

        Do you have eyes? This is ugly raw and not conducive to a work environment. Get a clue.

  • Rogan Josh

    This actually made me laugh out loud.

  • Monika

    It’s a start, but it doesn’t look like the most appropriate way to encourage movement in the workplace. People need to be comfortable for those long working hours.

  • robert

    Where can I put my coffee cup down?

    Injection moulds should not be a model for office design. Granted, this is being done to make a point and advance a polemic, but we can consider movement and the body without abandoning space in favour of total mass.

    Make a terrain that is useful on both sides of the section.

  • Eisenman did that already, for the Berlin Holocaust Memorial!

  • Interesting concept!

  • Norea

    Sharp edges such as corners of a table, sharp edges of buildings or architectural structures pointing directly at you as the “poison arrow”.

  • Dikkie Smabers

    I’m sorry but to me it looks like a (formal) design idea which later gets adopted to a purpose. Putting stuff (like pens, cups filled with coffee or tea) on an inclined plane just doesn’t work as long as there is gravity.

    For me personally, if my employer had an office like this I would leave the company immediately. Nice try but a terrible idea.

  • Jonathan Tuffin

    Laughable.

  • Andi

    I love the woman standing, holding her laptop in one hand, typing with the other. She is going to be PRODUCTIVE!

  • Esther Laseur

    Being Dutch and mostly proud of Dutch design, I’m amazed that this has been built. What a waste of energy and materials. And how very unattractive, even if it is just to find out what positions can replace sitting.

    Maybe the kind of work, the pressure and the atmosphere in which a lot of people in offices have to work are just as damaging for their health.

    • head in the real world

      Totally agree. A lot of designers that do sustainable design and then repeat horizontal slats and build stuff like this should be melted into it. Pathetic.

  • Stuart Darroch

    Where are all the plug sockets? Looks tidy but really there will be a lot of wires kicking about.

  • DaBronxY

    Looks like people working in a Flintstones cartoon. I know this is a concept and will be modified accordingly. I just hope that this could be produced in stages.

  • Subhan Manafzade

    Dezeen Readers or Commenters or whatever. Do you have to sh*t on every new concept here? Just look at the transformation concept of office space? This is just a prototype and proposal. If it’s going to be mass produced, for sure they will reconsider whole development. Have a little respect!

  • Pepijn

    The guy laying down in the back with his mobile looks like he’s really working… This would not at all be appropriate for an architects office. Maybe good for a marketing office?

  • Arjay Cee

    Looks like a trustfundarian paradise! The “concepts” and “visions” that can be pursued here are simply limitless.