vitra workbay - new cubical paradigm
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Vitra's new Workbay office system is a new hybrid of honeycomb modules and traditional cubicles, fusing a number of prior art in office system design into a compelling new model for cubicles. I am calling it the Soft Cube. Look at these diagrams from Vitra's web site:
The planning module here is a horizontally stretched honeycomb, or hexagon. With this horizontal stretch the modules have a bias towards a gridded layout, vs the cellular layout of earlier honeycomb module systems such as Herman Miller's Resolve. The are able to define a nice range of uses in a handful of standard sizes. Meeting cubes, and private office cubes compliment the workstation cube. And there are even special configurations for call center desks, waiting areas, and copier and clerical work areas.
The textile based partition is also reminiscent of Herman Miller's Resolve, but more substantial. Yet the diminutive work surfaces inside these soft cubes is reminiscent of Knoll's A3 fabric covered frame workstations.
Yet where these prior attempts seemed fussy or impractical, the Vitra Workbay seems well solved. Herman Miller's Resolve comes across as complicated, with too many parts, Knoll's A3 as fragile and temporary. Vitra's heavy felted partition walls feel substantial, and the neat fit of the individual modules gives the whole a more substantial and permanent feeling.