Take a trip to a trade fair such as the Orgatec and you could well end up disappointed. In the midst of all the friendly, colorful, sustainable and communicative office environments presented at these marketplaces for the latest trends, you can easily find yourself blinded by the arbitrary belief that a little office reshuffle can really banish those old hierarchical working structures once and for all. Intoxicated by the possibilities and benedictions of a knowledge society that promises the replacement of pure administration with creative thinking, it is easy to be sucked into the undertow of hopeful expectations for the future – and in doing so lose your sense of the reality that still exists just as it did before you stepped foot inside the trade fair hall.
But it isn’t far away; you don’t even need to leave the fair to rediscover this reality. Just head around the corner to a hall with less focus on advanced design, and you will find offices that signify traditional values such as distance, status and power both in their design and the materials used. Take the stand by “Gug Office” from Ankara, Turkey for example: Here the company confidently promotes its products under the slogan “The Choice of the Elite”.
Let’s not fool ourselves: It is not only the weighty, black furniture found in the boss’ offices of “far off” countries that still foster these old patterns. They are everywhere and our work to overcome these old-established forms will not be over quickly. tw