Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why the Superdesk Matters.

The Barbarian Group, a New York-based Advertising Agency has revolutionized the workplace dynamic with their Superdesk. A marvel in design ingenuity, the structure is super awesome, and the theory behind its creation cultivates an entirely refreshing sense of collaboration between the agency's 125 employees; a key aspect to the creative process. The Barbarian Group thinks of the Superdesk as a defining factor in their workplace culture, "literally - 4,400 square feet of undulating, unbroken awesomeness to keep people and ideas flowing."

The Superdesk is itself a metaphor for workplace collaboration. Times are changing. More creatives are working from home, and thus creating an increasingly smaller, closed off world for themselves. Though "creating" is never wrong, this type of "creating" cannot nourish you in the way that creation should. In advertising, groupthink and collaboration are critical. When creatives are creative together, the most meaningful ideas crystallize and begin to take form. To combat this increasingly nuanced job landscape, the firm hired LA architect Clive Wilkinson to create not only the structure itself, but to combine the structure and the space together, making them one in the same.

The New York Times recently asked Wilkinson to explain his vision of how a modern office space should look and feel. His reply? It's very insightful.
“Desks, as they’ve been traditionally defined, are becoming redundant.
They are based on people working with paper, and I think our attitude toward
paper is changing because paper no longer has the same meaning. Twenty years
ago, we printed out things and found ways to store them. Now you store things
electronically. People say you just need a surface to put your laptop on.”
The Superdesk is merely a mechanism for flow. Different departments and disciplines within the office are more organically connected, and one person's work then becomes the work of many, resulting in more interactions between coworkers. The workday becomes an improvisation of sorts, for one day is never the same as the next.

Class readings offer a similarly beautiful way to look at communication, as everyday conversations are improvised as well. Conversations are "collectively created," and their meaning and tone are unique manifestations of those present and the varying moods they express. When viewed through this perspective, others' inputs and the insights gained through conversing with another, are experiences, an expression of oneself and an absolutely creative form of art. If art's intent is to enhance perspectives and instill in its audience a new way of looking at the world, than are conversations not also art?

The Superdesk is not super because it looks modern and sleek, and makes work an interesting place to be. Assuredly, it is indeed these things, but it is so much more. It reminds us all of how great we can be when we can be together.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.