We recently posted on current research which suggests that not only is sitting for long periods detrimental to our health, but that sport and movement cannot compensate for the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
Taking such research as their starting point Amsterdam based architecture/philosophy studio Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances, RAAAF, and artist Barbara Visser created the somewhat polemically titled animation “Sitting Kills” from which they have now developed the installation “The End of Sitting.”
RAAAF & Barbara Visser’s position is largely that from its origins in classical antiquity right up until the early 20th century, and the beginnings of standardised, industrial working practices, offices were generally mobile, active locations.
Then began what they refer to as “the century of sitting”.
A century which although has brought us ever new approaches to office design and office organisation has brought us new ideas which always start from the same basic units: a desk and a chair.
The End of Sitting is a new proposal. One that does away with the desk and chair. And replaces form follows function with what they refer to as form follows body (although in order to maintain the alliteration we favour form follows figure)
Essentially transforming the flat 2D office space into an abstract 3D office sculpture The End of Sitting by RAAAF & Barbara Visser foresees an office monolith in and on which individuals can either stand, lean, sit, lie, crouch, hang, whatever.
Although we do feel that with their focus on sitting RAAAF & Barbara Visser have missed a trick. Through their creation of such an internal geography they have also created the option to include spaces where one can withdraw for a quick nap, and of course for storage space, thus making their sitting solution a much wider, more encompassing, office architecture solution.
As we’ve often noted, increasing automation and advancing computer technology, in terms of both hardware and software, will change the nature of office work; indeed must because it will make much of what is currently undertaken superfluous. As such we need radical new approaches to office design and office furniture and furnishings, The End of Sitting presents a thoroughly logical and clearly presented position, and one which really appeals to us.
Even if we don’t believe for a minute that many, if indeed any, large companies will start incorporating such extreme constructions into their offices.
Much more likely is that there will be increased demand for office furniture solutions which offer similar possibilities. Currently for us the best example of such a system is without question Plot by Osko+Deichmann for the German manufacturer Brunner. And we don’t doubt for a minute that similar systems aren’t being developed as we write. Most intriguingly in that sense, again at least for us, is the one-off sofa/installation “Prima” Zaha Hadid developed in collaboration with Swarovski and Vitra in 2013. We’re no fans of Zaha Hadid’s architecture, no fans at all, but Prima, extended, exaggerated and softened could provide for interesting office solutions very much in the spirit of The End of Sitting.
The End of Sitting by RAAAF & Barbara Visser was on show in the gallery Looiersgracht 60 in Amsterdam. Is no longer. It is however to be hoped that it is repeated elsewhere, because the arguments made are well worth hearing. And for all well worth considering. And testing.