A journey into corporate interior design, part 1.
We live in times where every day there is a new surprise, innovation, or discovery that improves the world we live in and that facilitates development and growth in the areas that are necessary for humanity to prosper and progress.
Although the modality of working from home became popular as a result of the pandemic that has been with us since 2019, the reality is that the number of people who went through and spend their days in an office is really numerous, and it is surprising how little consideration is given to the space where we spend more time than in our own home. Why is the office designed in this way? How did it come to be assembled like this and not otherwise?.
It is quite a curiosity to see how the offices, for example, where our grandparents worked were like, and compare them with the most avant-garde workspaces such as those of the Google offices in Silicon Valley. Not only is the variety of colors very different, but also the distribution of the environments and the furniture does not even come close to being compared to it.
How and why have these changes occurred in workspaces? Have you ever considered it?
Offices have always been designed with an awareness of prevailing office needs and technologies, management philosophies, efficiency assumptions, and broader cultural trends of the times. Thinking about the reasons for the evolution of workspaces can be a great source of inspiration for those who go to an office every day to fulfill their responsibilities, allowing them to contemplate ergonomics, personal space, and electronic equipment with new eyes.
First half of the 20th century - Taylorism
Although the office as a concept did not exist until the arrival of the telephone, the typewriter and the electric light bulb, the truth is that the office environment was already part of society. However, to delimit this journey to the past we will start from the appearance of these key inventions in any office in the world.
During the early decades of the 20th century, American business was heavily influenced by a philosophy commonly called “Taylorism”, because its founding father was Frederick Winslow Taylor, but this management philosophy would be more popularly known as “scientific management”. Scientific management was concerned with increasing efficiency and applying an industrial engineering type of approach to all operations in an organization.
Applying the principles of taylorism office design would result in large open spaces with desks or worktables arranged in rows that almost simulated a military formation.
As you might imagine, this design was anything but comfortable and pleasing, and sadly, that was the point. Scientific management design tended to see people as extensions of factory machines and offices as a kind of human-powered machine. Although this aspect left much to be desired for the welfare of the workers, scientific management had a positive impact and would prevail for a long time.