PROJECT : OFFICE FOR LIVING – concept - Milan - italy


It is the “notion of taking pleasure in life” that I have sought to instil in “office for living:” working also means living and we often spend more time in the office than we do at home; there does not have to be an inevitability about where we work, we can work in pleasing places, even at home. Once we reject cloned and alienating spaces, it becomes clear that there are many possible solutions. I have always been struck by the repetitiveness and the anonymity of the office world: serried ranks of identical office blocks, all over the world. Their repetitive, glass facades enclose the same spaces, the same furniture, the same computers, the same glaring lights suspended from industrial ceilings. Totalitarian and senseless architectural contrivances, industrial and technical creations dissociated with urban history, triggered by unstoppable globalisation, making for the annihilation of all the different cultures and all the differences on a massive scale. Workers the world over are stuck in a serial, standardised system. It won’t be long before these grotesque working conditions are declared unliveable, like those Charlie Chaplin denounced in Modern Times. In other words, I am anti all forms of cloning and enforcement. We need urgently to change our mindsets and think outside the box when it comes to work: offices, wherever they are, should be spaces in their own right, identifiable, appropriable, transformable, imbued with humanity, layers of history and objects, pleasing places, in short. Working means living, inhabiting. My concept of this exhibit takes the form of a small district, a small town: “office for living” as a series of diverse and individual work scenarios. Neither a utopia nor a showroom nor a collection of exceptional pieces: the offices represent ordinary, often existing situations, containing office furniture produced in the main by manufacturers exhibiting at the Salone. A mix that includes icons of the design past and salvaged furniture. It has always been my belief that office furniture is entirely suitable for apartments and, equally, that domestic furniture can easily be absorbed into a work context.
I hope that this installation will prove that, by dint of its own individuality, a workspace needs to instil enjoyment in life and provide inspiration for work. This exhibition, animated by prospects and desires, will hopefully inspire visitors and manufacturers at the SaloneUfficio to explore different directions.

Jean Nouvel