Ergonomists and others have been trying to dethrone the office cubicle for years. Now corporations that previously championed the ubiquitous system may do it for them. Exploring where it has been and where it is headed points to the possibility that the dethronement will introduce new problems. One of them could be cubicle nostalgia.
Before reviewing some of the attempts to dethrone the cubicle, something has to be said about designer and visionary Robert Probst. He is usually blamed for the cubicle and the cubicle culture. It is no fairer to blame him than it is to blame Henry Ford for the Hummer. At a certain point creations take on a life of their own, and Probst had something completely different in mind when he designed the Action Office in the 1960s.
His design, taken into production by Michigan furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. in 1968, was the world
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2006-10-25.