"Superdesk" Seats All 125 Employees at a Single Table

The Barbarian Group, a digital creative agency based in New York City, has done away with traditional cubicles and outfitted their space with this incredible Superdesk, a 1,100-foot-long structure that seats all 125 of their employees. Clive Wilkinson Architects is responsible for the desk's design and based its original concept on a Fiat race track. This impressive piece of furniture includes not only individual workspaces, but seven archways that create semi-private nooks suitable for meetings and small group work. While its complexity may make you think it costs a fortune, you'd be mistaken. This option was less expensive to produce and install than if the company had taken a more conventional approach to its interior decorating.

The architect behind the Superdesk reimagined the function of office furniture and challenged what a modern space should look and feel like. As business becomes increasingly paperless, Wilkinson feels that this should be reflected in the design. In an interview with The New York Times, he explains, “Desks, as they've been traditionally defined, are becoming redundant. They are based on people working with paper, and I think our attitude toward paper is changing because paper no longer has the same meaning. Twenty years ago, we printed out things and found ways to store them. Now you store things electronically. People say you just need a surface to put your laptop on.” Look closely, and you'll notice that the table lacks the appearance of drawers.

Not surprisingly, there's been a lot of interest in the Superdesk, and The Barbarian Group produced a video that gives a short walking tour of their shiny new office as it buzzes with activity. In it, you see that every discipline flows into one another, facilitating more casual interactions (Wilkinson calls this making a village in a building). The company hopes that the increased face time among workers will boost productivity and avoid unnecessary time spent in a meeting room. They know great things happen when we all work together, and the open-format office encourages people to collaborate on projects and ideas. Their innovative Superdesk is a symbol for out-of-the-box thinking, and reminds all of us that doing so will lead to new discoveries and improved ways of living.

The Barbarian Group website and Clive Wilkinson Architects website
via [Laughing Squid and The New York TImes]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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