Steelcase Inc

Personal Harbor Workspace

Carroll Gantz
Steelcase Inc
Personal Harbor Workspace

This design won a gold in the 1995 IDEA national design awards sponsored by IDSA and Business Week magazine. According to juror Lisa Smith, president of Smith/Chororos, New York, the Personal Harbor workspace clearly met the criteria of excellence. "Working in the framework of the largest furniture manufacturer in the world, the Personal Harbor design team identified some very complicated tasks and requirements and achieved them exquisitely," Smith said. "The uncertainties and evolution of a product such as this must have been demanding for the manufacturer. And yet, this paradigm-breaking product that works so well for individuals and teams made it to market looking very beautiful. The Personal Harbor forecasts many wonderful things in the workplace." Steelcase's Personal Harbor Workspace is a ground-breaking approach to addressing the needs for individual and collaborative workspace. A collaborative workspace or shared workspace is an inter-connected environment in which all the participants in dispersed locations can access and interact with each other just as inside a single entity. The Personal Harbor workspace is a 48-square-foot individual space with a curved door, high panels and a partially-enclosed ceiling that offers privacy and concentration. "We wanted to design a work setting that would support the full complexity of how knowledge work is done," said project leader David Lathrop. "At times, that means concentrating alone and at other times, people need the space and tools for group collaboration." In addition, the co-development process of placing early prototypes with customers was critical to success. Steelcase asked several customers to "live-in" the Personal Harbor workspaces for a year or more to learn about the way people worked in the setting and identify product adjustments that were necessary. "Real teams doing real work taught us a huge amount about the way people work and the tools they need to be effective," Lathrop said. Steelcase Inc.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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