A New Workstation for a New Era

Designer Matthew Plumstead spent the second half of his two graduate years at Cranbrook Academy of Art working through a functional solution for a new kind of workspace.

His efforts paid off in spades.

His Integrated Workstation, produced through a collaboration with Herman Miller, has won the coveted “red dot: best of the best design concept award.”

It combines a seated desk area, a day bed and a standing work area with footrest, all as an alternative to cubicle life.  It’s designed to create a new approach to rest and concentration.

“People telecommute a lot these days, and don’t go into the workplace as much,” he says.  “So companies are trying to foster a healthier environment in the workplace, where you can sit, stand or recline.”

The “red dot award” is the only professional-level design concept competition to accept ideas and prototypes from all over the world, including product companies and design studios. This year, the competition received 3,672 entries from 57 countries. Of those entries, only 46 designs, including Plumstead’s, received the ‘best of the best’ for outstanding design quality.

“With my project, you can come in to the office, get some coffee and sit on the daybed while you warm up to today’s work,” he says.  “When you’re ready to concentrate, you can sit or stand at the desk.  It’s an integrated workspace that shows that the company cares about your health and respects you more.”

The prototype of birch veneered particle board, white-laminated surfaces and furniture-grade wool/synthetic upholstery, cost about $3,000 to produce.  Costs to produce it en masse should come down significantly, though Plumstead intends to maintain its quality even while producing in quantity.

“It certainly can be mass-produced,” he says.  “It’s at a good starting point, and I’m more interested in the functional and the utility for most people, rather than having it customized for just a few.”

And as the workplace continues to shift, in size and location, there’ll likely be demand for his product – both at home and in the office.

For more information about the award and the Integrated Workstation, visit http://red-dot.sg/dconcept/portfolio/view.php?rid=256.

For more information about Matthew Plumstead and his Minnesota-based design studio, McCarty Quinn, go to http://www.mccartyquinn.com/.

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