Has Office Design Come Full Circle?

With many companies having return to work discussions, one of 2022’s hot topics is workplace design and functionality. Here at Swiftspace, we wanted to take a look back at office design and its evolution. After decades of changing trends, from cubicles to open offices, has modern office design finally come full circle? 

In 1964 Robert Propst designed the Action Office. Inspired by research from 4 years prior, the line was created to accommodate both task and personal preference with freestanding stations at differing heights. It was ideal for both Private and Collaborative work. However, consumers found the product too expensive, difficult to set up, and spatially undefining. The concept was unsuccessful.

Robert Propst’s Action Office

With the rejection of the Action Office, Propst went back to the drawing board and introduced the Action Office II which (for better or worse) ended up being the foundation of the office cubicle trend.

Action Office II

In 2009 veteran office furniture installer Jerry O”Brien recognized the shortfall of the panel based cubicle system, the same one the original Action Office had. It has many parts and pieces, requiring a considerable amount of time and money to set up, take down, move to a different location, or even reconfigure within the same office. In other words, it was very difficult to set up. Out of this shortfall an idea was had, for mobile office furniture that could be set-up and taken down in seconds by anyone, without tools. A patent was registered and Swiftspace was created. Over the last decade, Swiftspace has continued to be the only company that has been solely dedicated to developing the most comprehensive line of office furniture with mobility, ease of set-up, and the ability to reconfigure quickly into different office layouts.   

Swiftspace’s interpretation of the original Action Office. Comprised of the Shape height adjust, Unify mobile table and Panel Mobile Wall. 

Now, in 2022, after 2 years of working from home due to the pandemic, we are starting to reconsider the role many offices will have. With many returning to a hybrid model, we have essentially come full circle to Propst’s original idea – that furniture should be able to meet the day to day changes of the modern office with flexibility and without restraint Since its inception, Swiftspace has focused only on furniture that has mobility and flexibility at the forefront of its designs. 

While the rest of the office furniture manufacturers race to play catch-up, Swiftspace’s comprehensive product line continues to have relevance to many organizations across North America.  Every workstation is shipped fully assembled: consumers can reduce installation time and costs by up to 90%, as Swiftspace product rolls off the truck, ready to be deployed with ease.  Our mobility and inherent flexibility allow for a rapid redefinition of space as our products are reconfigurable in minutes – not hours. We provide an in-depth set of solutions that meet any need: from built-in height adjustability in our L and U-shaped stations to phone booths that can quickly move through doorways. With plenty of options for accessories and privacy, Swiftspace can now fulfill Propst’s original goal for the office – in a time when we need it most.

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