Slow Office : the GoGet CarShare Office Makeover – Part 3 the Process
The flexible and explorative design process led to an appropriate consideration of slowness and the way we embed it within the design of the office space. It also meant that as many possible thoughts of the direct and indirect impacts of the design on the users and space were taken into consideration. Some of the important considerations were to preserve the unique spirit of the place and the way it grew over the years manifested itself by being literally self built. All furniture was either donated or bought cheaply, gyprock walls were erected by the owners to form the computer room, and doors became desktops. In fact, no skilled professional were ever involved.
In our proposal, we, together with GoGet employees, a become the labourers as well, therefore establishing a friendly relationships based on mutual respect and trust with our clients and other professionals. In this case, the joinery manufacturer was a key element in the success of the project and part of its appeal.
“A lot of other designs were amazing, but were more about how they thought we should work. Gilo (a bit slow) was the only one who said ‘Let’s sit down and have a chat”. (Richard Tourino, GoGet Marketing Director)
Our creative process starts with listening and observation. Spending time at the office, talking to the users, asking questions observing their behaviour in the space and their interaction with each other, provided the platform for the design concept and intent.
In the first stage of the process, similar to any other design process with sustainability in mind, we started researching for environmentally friendly materials and paints. Finding a manufacturer that was open to our ideas, budget and intent was equally important. We also spent valuable time in ‘Reverse Garbage’ looking at fabrics and other reclaimed materials which were later used in various ways throughout the space.
The second stage of the process was the planned labour intensive weekend where GoGet staff joined us in the office space to do the fit-out, which included mostly the painting of the offices and all the furniture. Prior to the commencing of the work and part of our strategy to interact with the staff, Gilo and Jess gave an introductory and inspiring talk to the office staff, explaining the design intent and what we were hoping to achieve by getting the GoGet employees to take an active part in the works, as a way to create a sense of belonging and eventual ownership of the space.
The biggest challenge in managing the four day fit out was that we had to minimise the disturbance of the GoGet service still given to members from the space, so there was a lot of juggling. The works, headed by Gilo, Sabina, Jess, Michelle and Richard, joined by an aramy of GoGet staff, girlfriends, boyfriends, family and friends, was a demonstration of a successful and enjoyable collective effort .
On Wednesday, after four long days and longer nights, the office was operational again but still not complete, and the third stage began. In this stage, that lasted a few months, the final touches were made, the screens, partitions, wall decoration were installed, and some adjustments based on the users’ feedback were made. In this stage we were also able to observe the behavioural change of the users and the space.
Unlike the permanent feel of many offices, GoGet CarShare’s office has that temporary feel to it. This led to the modular design approach where all the furniture can be easily disassembled and assembled, moved or reconfigured, while maintaining the integrity of the design and space. The large maps and the comic strip pictures on the walls can be taken off and be fitted into a new space.
Most of the office furniture was donated throughout the years, therefore as a strategy, we wanted to up-cycle and recycle all existing usable furniture, giving them a second or third life. All the additional furniture – the extra workstations, work space desks additions to the service hub and the partitions – were designed by Gilo specifically to fit the needs of the office.
For their work surfaces GoGet was using old doors. We’ve reused and restored some of them to make them more durable. Trestle legs were specially designed to hold the desktops in the new configuration. The diagonal shape of the legs allow for clear movement of the user without bumping their knee onto the leg.
The three folding workstations were custom designed specifically to provide extra workstations to accommodate future growth. With durability, functionality, material selection and reduction of waste in mind, the dimensions of the table were determined by the size of one sheet of grade A plywood with the purpose of designing a flexible, comfortable and strong table. Due to its functionality, when the tables are folded down it widens the circulation area enabling the extra space to be used as a meeting and demonstration area.
Three old metal file cabinets were converted into a transportable shelves unit, stationary storage cabinets and a seating-storage transportable unit equipped with a cushion and a tray. The relationship established with Matt Connelly and the team at ‘Branches Timber Craft’ in Lawson Blue Mountains, who were initially approached for the manufacturing of the folding workstations, eventually allowed Gilo and Sabina to work on the conversion of the old file cabinets at the factory and have access to equipment and materials, mainly off-cuts timber. Working close with the manufacturers turned out to be very productive, satisfying and rewarding. Moreover it became the key for the realisation of our design concept.
To Richard and Bruce for providing us with all that we need and seeing the design through to best results, the GoGet team for the sweat, the GoGet Members for voting for us, Matt Connelly and Branches timber craft team, Blake the handyman, Masih for the painting advice, and to all the people, family and friends who took part in this amazing project Many Thanks and Most Appreciated .
A Bit Slow Team
Gilo Holtzman [a bit slow]
Richard Tourino [GoGet]
Furniture design / Conversion
‘ Branches Timber Craft’ Lawson Blue Mountains NSW 02-4759 2169
Process : Gilo Holztman, Richard Tourino, Sabina Popin
Before & After : Dean McCarthy ’Photo Graphic’