The Self-Organised Workplace

Koleksiyon, manufacturer of innovative solutions for contemporary work culture, has themed its Orgatec appearance this year “The Self-Organised Workplace’’. Under the theme of “self-organised workplace”; the elements not only present possibilities for rich spatial use, with alternative heights to work around, but are also open to further configurations in the way they are composed. In new workplace, environments are provided in which old structures are broken up and unexpected things are happening.

Since the early twentieth century, modern thinking glorified progress. As a result the utopia of “highest efficiency” turns every object into a useful tool. Even nowadays, workplaces are still judged by their efficiency. In creating and planning work environments, designers and engineers are trying to make everyday life easier by creating objects that adapt to the human body, such as adjustable desks and ergonomic task chairs. Koleksiyon asserts that while this brings practicality into daily life, it also hinders the human body from the capacity of motion.

In nature, nothing adapts to human or animal body postures; on the contrary, bodies adapt themselves to alternating topographies in order to survive. This adaption allows for dynamic movement and different positions at different times.

The Self-Organised Workplace aims at bringing people together in alternative postures and even unexpected sequences that may result in chance and possibly stimulating encounters. Skills, qualities and the individuality of every person, team or department are thus enriched and strengthened. Alternative spots of communication as well as isolation are scattered in the work plan, in a very chaotic and un-orthogonal style, which trigger an urge to move around, rather than settling in the same spot every single day.

Fundamentals of Umberto Eco

Koleksiyon’s approach of steering away from classic structural thought forms and leading to thought processes of open work is inspired by Umberto Eco’s essay “Poetics of Open Work“*. In his work, the famous author develops theories about the reception of art, literature and music and formulates his thesis of “Serial Thoughts’’, which Koray Malhan, the Brand and Design Manager of Koleksiyon, takes up: “Serial Thought means to dedicate oneself to creating the new, encountering the unexpected, rather than facing the same outdated structures at each step.’’ The furniture design company formulates its approach of “outside-the-box-questions”.

Today, hierarchies become blurred and communication has changed irrevocably with new technologies which has extensive effects on society and with that on our work environment. Stiff and centralistic systems still exist. However, the young generation is on the move and prefers new governance models in its attitude towards life and its actions in which open-minded and common forms of organisation predominate. A structural change is in progress which follows the central idea of interpreting the primary code of communication continuously and in new ways.

Koleksiyon transfers this thought into new work environments. In order to introduce a dialog, the company formulated two fundamental questions on the occasion of Orgatec. The first question that we pose is who should create future work places? Should the workplace of the future be designed from the centre and by a specific team, or by employees who will turn it into a working space? Or perhaps at least with their representatives’ active participation?

The second one concerns the transformation ability of work environments. How absolute should a setup or a solution be and can it be modelled in a way that is open to eventual development? Is it possible to design accessible systems that are open to the dynamics of time, that are malleable in time, that can evolve through the experiences, thoughts and even dreams of people, or that can transform?

These questions may not have a clear answer yet however, this is even sufficient to highlight the importance of the questioning process. Posing questions that we cannot come up with today rather than seeking answers we cannot find, will push the limits of imagination.

*Umberto Eco: Die Poetik des offenen Kunstwerks“, Seite 27-59 in Eco: „Das offene Kunstwerk“, Frankfurt am Main 81998

Find us at Orgatec: Hall 9.1 Stand C 029 B 028