Case Study —
Furniture

Unlinked — disconnect in plain sight.

Can transformable design create privacy in the open-plan office?

Overview

What is Unlinked?

Unlinked creates flexibility in the open office by introducing individual spatial privacy.

Key Project Goals

Deploy parametric geometric concepts to create a kinetic design system solving an identified spatial problem.

Role & Responsibilities

Unlinked was developed in partnership with Jorge Cornet and Ayesha Ghosh under the mentorship of Chuck Hoberman in the context of a seminar titled Transformable Design Methodologies pursued in the Fall of 2015 at Columbia University GSAPP. Within our team of 3, my role focused on developing a design strategy and coordinating execution.

Timeline

Unlinked was developed and completed in 8 weeks.

Statement + Audience

Problem Statement

Personal Privacy in the Open-Plan Office

Inspired by Taylorism’s open-plan factories and designed to maximize productive efficiency, the open-plan office first appeared about a century ago, epitomized in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Administration Building inaugurated in 1906. The open-plan office has since then grown in popularity to become the dominant workplace typology. Meanwhile, digital practices have transformed the nature of office work. Automation,shared spaces, and independent workers exemplify the need for flexible spatial arrangements. Toward this end, Unlinked makes the unique proposition of individual privacy at the work desk. A desk-mounted screen deploys into a private enclosure with a simple hand movement.
Open-plan office in FLW's Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo, NY

Problem Finding

Who was involved with identifing the problem.

Users & Audience

Title

Conceptualized as a mass-produced addition for the mainstream open-plan office, Unlinked was optimized for the open-plan studios of Avery Hall at Columbia University. Two dozen interviews were conducted with peers within the studios to yield the following data:

Description
Responsibilities + Constraints

Roles & Responsibilities

show early conceptual diagrams. Show precedent research.

Scope & Constraints

The system developed for the project features three sets of 1⁄4" plexi scissor links bridging seven ribs that form a large canopy while extended, and a ¾" wooden plane while retracted. It can be slit in and out of its anchor by a single person.

Highlight a couple problems that we solved.

 on how to anchor the system on the desk with the footing solution.

 Incremental sizing of ribs to make material usage efficient.

Process + Outcome

Process

Outcome & Lessons

The anchor volume serves a dual purpose of securing the deployable frame to the table and holding objects such as pens and stationery.

The work desk becomes a social space while the canopy is retracted.

Review with Chuck Hoberman — 25s video

Testing an Advanced Prototype — 1m video

Title Description 5
Text LinkStatement + AudienceResponsibilities + ConstraintsProcess + OutcomeTitle Description 5
Unlinked