The Taylorist Office

The Taylorist office aimed to create an office interior that seriously improve efficiency in workspaces that didn’t reply heavily on manufacturing or manual labour by imitating the set up of a factory where staff are lined up with a continuous workflow delegated to them. This enabled many more desks to be fitted into the space allowing companies to cram more workers into one room making scrutiny easier for managers.


The 1930s saw the rise of the more visually pleasing offices that also prioritised efficiency and saw businesses consider and express their corporate image through office interiors.  There was still a clear division between workers and management. Office interiors in 1930s were more modern, rich and warm and utilised radiant and streamlined materials to compensate for the lack of energy in the outside world as a result of the Wall Street crash.


The open plan office was born in the 1950s  as a results of improvements in construction and use of more modern materials such as steel and glass. Office interiors at this time also saw use of more advanced air-conditioning and fluorescent lighting as the skyrise buildings couldn’t facilitate natural lighting or air flow. Typically in these open plan large office spaces, workers could be placed virtually anywhere with little consideration given to team members.


The 1960s saw the rise of the action office for office interior design which was more of a modular office made up of desking, workspaces and modular furniture that was flexible facilitating movement around the office, very similar to what we term activity-based working today. Later on within the 1960s saw a consideration for privacy in office interiors as well as the option to be able to personalise your workspace without impacting any other employees with the introduction of the back-up, a three sided division giving employees privacy and the ability to make their own territory.


The 1980s saw the privacy booths from 1960s taken to the extreme with the office space becoming full of individual cubicles. Some office that still worked by the Taylorist approach used the cubicles for middle management who were too important for standard linear desking but not important enough for an office as it was a cheap way to provide them with their own space. However many people hatted the cubicles as no consideration was given to interaction and natural lighting.

1990s & 2000s

The world wide web brought along the development of technology in the office. Office interiors started to see the introduction of computers and phones within the workspace again transforming the way people worked.

2010s & 2020s

Office interiors then so the transition to activity-based working that encouraged collaboration, sociability and openness among colleagues. Many had criticisms about the level of distractions this caused however, it was designed that the office could facilitate different working styles and preferences allowing employees to choose their space based on their task at hand. This style of office interiors provides collaboration spaces, meeting rooms, break out facilities, private spaces, quiet working areas essentially providing employees with whatever environment they might wish for.

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