Office Of The Future

Making the most of your office space.

Sleek lines, bold colors, ergonomic designs--today's home offices are getting quite a makeover. Gone are the days of predictable, drab work spaces. Think more along the lines of style, comfort and innovation. It's all part of a movement toward modernism, and office furniture manufacturers remain front-runners in the trend.

Consider conceptual configurations like Haworth Inc.'s Flo (storage unit shown at right). Although still just an abstract vision in the testing stages, this lavender and honey-colored workstation attempts to create an environment that enhances both intellectual and creative tasks (a discipline known as cognitive ergonomics). How is that accomplished? By providing the user with an organizational system patterned after that of the mind. For instance, the Flo sports an upright shelf along the desk's back edge designed to display all work-in-progress. And to keep all documents in check, matching storage units offer a cubbyhole-like system for paper organization.

Could this be the wave of the future? Perhaps. But until concept products from companies like Haworth hit the market, consumers ready to modernize their home office workstations need look no further than European furniture maker Vitra Inc. Vitra's Ad Hoc Office System (below), which costs about $2,270, is said to encourage change, productivity, reorganization and concentration--all the elements necessary to support tomorrow's nontraditional, ever-changing work environment. The lightweight desk is available in either right- or left-handed versions. Optional accessories (in green, orange, blue or gray) include the Storage Box, a small desktop bookshelf; and the CPU Box, which organizes your electrical cables and doubles as a desk leg.

For those seeking a simpler, more affordable option, Agio Designs Inc.'s Soho Desk (far left) may be the solution. A winner at last year's Industrial Design Excellence Awards, which recognize innovative, visually appealing products created with ecological responsibility in mind--the Soho Desk comes in various sizes, with the option of adding a raised shelf for your monitor, lamp or other office accessory. Besides ergonomic comfort, a real benefit to users is the built-in cable management system that hides cables and wires. The desktop comes in natural or black cherry; additional surfaces can be attached for a larger work space. The cost (with the shelf) starts at $509.

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