Encyclopedia Britannica Offices, San Francisco, CA. Britannica was interested in fostering creativity and productivity within their San Francisco, California work environment. The company’s Creative Director felt the new office concept should encourage a dynamic relationship between private space (needed during times of individual focus and concentration) and open collaborative work space (where groups or teams could work together to creatively problem solve). The hypothetical workstation that would functionally balance between the company’s private and public arenas would be known as a “Y-Y” (Yin Yang) Work Sphere.

An Osmotic Work Wall: The design solution evolved from sketch diagrams of workstations that were an open part of the larger work environment in one instance and hidden from it in another. An undulating Screen was developed to define work bays by allowing individual work spheres to nest in the wall’s concave areas. Above, a series of serpentine troughs carry power and data that feed down to workstations and meeting pods. Telescoping screens rotate around work spheres to provide privacy when fully extended and an open work wall when retracted. Both the screens and the above mounted acoustic disks help to define the areas where people will meet and work.