An old saying ‘Excess is dangerous’ has proved pivotal for mankind and its evolution. With the increasing shortage of time, the affair of an office man with his desk/chair has intensified (literally and figuratively). Too much of sitting has made man a fixture to his chair. Exercise and fitness have become the least important priorities of a modern office goer. ‘End of Sitting’ is a leap into the experimental rooting, a probable answer to the issues of degenerating lifestyle and sedentariness of corporate culture.
This installation designed by Ronald Rietveld, Erik Rietveld, Arna Mackic at RAAAF and Barbara Visser is based on the concept wherein the existence of chair and the desk in office environs is questioned. This project is a spatial follow-up of the mute animation ‘Sitting Kills’ by RAAAF, developed for the Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands. While we are living in a society, which revolves around the idea of sitting and comfort, this design presents a radical approach to deal with the spaces within a workplace. Believe it or not, this installation transforms an ordinary agency to a place that barely looks like an office. More like an imagery coming straight from a playful child’s mind.
This installation is a threshold, beyond which visual art, architecture, philosophy and empirical science all come together. With the recent studies and medical evidences, the adverse health effects of excessive sitting or an inactive lifestyle, cued the designers at RAAAF to develop an installation which assimilates a work-space into one unified space, yet allowing flexible usage.
This version of an office reimagined devoid of the conventional setup of workstations and computers, or chairs and counters, only offers the ease to relax, but not sit. A monolithic solid, divided into polygonal facades, which twists and turns binds the space. The installation’s various affordances solicit visitors to try out different positions of standing and leaning or partly sitting in an experimental work landscape.
Though the idea sounds uncomfortable, as it doesn’t offer any horizontal planes for one to sit onto, the design turns out to be very conducive when tried out systematically. A psychologist Dr. Rob Withagen, from Center for Human Movement Sciences along with his team of volunteers tested out the utility of this installation. His team performed various activities like designing, writing, sketching and computing, while moving around the coves and platforms.
When compared to the productiveness of any other conventional work-space, this installation returned good results. Not only was it scientifically beneficial, but also a subtle source of enthusiasm for the employees. The formal ambiance of an office was spiced up with the fluidity of an informal setting, which manages to regulate the essence of work culture. The sheer novelty of this experiment solves the purpose of sensitizing the staff about the impact of the ‘couch potato’ effect.