Furniture as feature in coworking spaces. Spots in Oporto city as case study

Cruz, Rita

PhD Design student, member of Research Unit ID+, Department of Communication and Art at
University of Aveiro, Portugal.

ritamccruz@ua.pt

Franqueira, Teresa

PhD, associate professor, member of Research Unit ID+, Department of Communication and Art at University of Aveiro and director of Design Factory Aveiro, Portugal.

teresa.franqueira@ua.pt

Pombo, Fátima

PhD, professor, member of Research Unit ID+, Department of Communication and Art at University of Aveiro and director of the research group OIKOS- Design for Ecosystemic Spaces, Portugal

fpombo@ua.pt

Etiquetas/Tags: Mirada sociológica, Forma – función, Documentación oral, Relación mueble – espacio

Abstract: La era digital llegó a nuestras vidas cambiando en unas pocas décadas la vida diaria y el comportamiento social, y obligando al mundo a repensar la experiencia diaria, incluidos los lugares de trabajo. El nomadismo digital que facilita la movilidad y flexibilidad del trabajo satisface las exigencias de la sociedad actual y estimula el surgimiento de espacios de coworking. El diseño de muebles también necesita abordar las nuevas demandas del estilo de vida actual. En este contexto, este artículo pretende averiguar el papel que juega el mobiliario en dichos espacios. La investigación se lleva a cabo mediante el estudio de una muestra aleatoria de espacios de coworking en Oporto. Se aplicará una entrevista y una encuesta a los usuarios para obtener información sobre el denominador común del mobiliario en aquellos lugares considerando como parámetros principales los pares función ergonómica / comodidad, materiales / sostenibilidad y flexibilidad / forma. El principal resultado de este estudio, es contribuir a la conciencia de los diseñadores para situar el mobiliario como tema central cuando consideran la calidad de los espacios de coworking en sus capacidades multifuncionales en un contexto de una sociedad responsable, ecológica y sostenible.

Globalization, technological progress and demographic changes are megatrends that have the potential to change the nature of work, affecting the quantity and quality of available jobs, such as the way they are carried out (OECD,Policy Responses to New Forms of Work, 2019; Giddens, Sociology (4th ed.),2001). The digital age came into our lives changing in a few decades everyday life and social behaviour, and forcing the society to rethink daily experiences, including the workplaces.

Nowadays, the availability of the digital devices enables the office to be anywhere: at home, at the café, in the library or even on travel as in trains, airplanes and airports. However, workers still seek workplaces that stimulate networking and collaboration potential. The digital nomadism that facilitates the mobility and the flexibility of work meets the requirements of today’s society and stimulates the emergence of coworking spaces.

The number of freelancers who seek these spaces to escape the isolation of work at home or in individual offices is increasing. Coworking enhances the possibility to cooperate with other users from different areas of studies and professions. Job’s market is changing, the number of entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses has been growing and consequently the demand for these coworking spaces. Millennials (generation Y) who grew up within the digital technologies are also responsible for the demand of coworking spaces as places that promote and balance a professional performance with, among other facilities, break, conviviality, well-being, creativity, flexibility and cooperation.

In the line of Lipovetsky (De la Légèreté, 2015), to keep up with contemporary nomadism, furniture design also needs to approach the new demands of current lifestyle. Within this context, this article intends to find out the role that furniture plays in such spaces. Therefore, a research is carried out by studying a random sample of coworking spaces in Oporto which is a city with remarkable examples in quantity and diversity of such spots. An interview and a survey will be applied to users to get information about the furniture’s common denominator in those places considering as main parameters the pairs ergonomic function / comfort, materials / sustainability and flexibility / form. The principal output of this study is to contribute to designers’ awareness of placing furniture as core issue when considering the quality of coworking spaces in its multifunctional capacities in a context of a responsible, ecologic and sustainable society.

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