• slide
  • slide

Offices evolution throughout history

A journey into corporate interior design, part 2.

If you are reading this, it is because a very particular and unusual question has arisen in your head: how and why is the office where I work like this? How is this office different from the others?

If we review a furniture catalog for the late nineties and compare it with a current catalog, the differences between each era will be more than evident and surprising. The truth is that it is very worthwhile to discover how these changes have been generated, in addition to understanding how we have evolved as a society, it can be a source of inspiration and gratitude to feel more motivated when carrying out our work activities in the space to which we belong.



Let us quickly remember that offices have always been planned and designed based on the following key factors:

- The prevailing needs and technologies.

- Management philosophy.

- Assumptions about efficiency.

- The broader cultural trends of each era.

Now let us continue with our time travel:

From 1950 to 1960: Office landscaping.



After World War II ended, in Scandinavia and West Germany a movement began to make office environments more differentiated from top-down hierarchies, transforming them into more democratic places with the aim of making them more pleasant to work in.

The main idea was to design more organic spaces that encourage communication and collaboration. The floor plan was open, with filing cabinets and potted plants that normally served as dividers. In Europe this concept was known as Office landscaping.



Although the origin of this type of arrangement was European, the truth is that the popular imagination associates this style with the businesses of American tycoons: elegant modern tables, sofas and abstract art as the main decoration. The most recent example of this type of office is that of the television series “Mad Men”, which revived and popularized the landscaping style of offices, where you can almost smell the ashtrays on the work desks.

In the next part of this series, we will examine the rise, popularization and fall of one of the longest-running (and thankfully still outdated) office design styles: the cubicle.