Several readers voiced various plaints about Balzer & Kuwertz's recently-seen Pallet Chairs, but I was most convinced by Scott #2's comment that "Pallets are reused for shipping over and over, so it's not like you're saving materials from the waste stream." According to IFCO—"the largest pallet services company in the county"—"less than 3% of the nearly 700 million pallets manufactured and repaired each year end up in landfills according to a study by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the USDA Forestry Service."
Even so, pallets remain a compelling material for their pragmatic provenance and rugged aesthetics, as in Toronto-based Dubbeldam Architecture + Design's recent Pop-Up Office. Designed for the How Do You Work special exhibition at last month's Interior Design Show in their hometown, the workspace concept consists of five different modules come in standard dimensions based partly on their source material.
There has been a profound shift in the way we work; when all we need is a surface to work on and a place to plug in, the working environment is no longer static. Mobility, adaptability and flexibility are the new key elements of the modern office.
The POP-UP Office is an installation that explores the evolving way in which we work. Using modular units that can be combined in different ways, the result is a workspace that is simultaneously bare bones and tailored to the individual. Built out of reclaimed wood pallet boards and their frames, separate modules collectively form the modern work place facilitating both individual work and collaboration—a workspace, collaborative space, lounge area and refueling station. In sinuous forms, the reclaimed boards morph from the wall and floor into furniture elements, sanded where the human body comes in contact with the wood and left rough where it does not. The modules are made up of separate planes (floor, wall, ceiling) and furniture elements that are assembled in different configurations. Modular shelves can be inserted into slots between wall boards, creating adjustable display and storage areas. Smaller ledges slide into gaps between the wood slats.
The possibilities are endless; easily transported, reconfigurable and rapidly deployed, pop-up offices are designed for short term use, atypical applications such as outdoor festivals or disaster relief situations, or start-ups looking for modest office space. With the playful use of materials, lighting and furniture components, each module is made distinct, while being easily reconfigured to fit individual needs. Stripping away the superfluous, the POP-UP Office embodies adaptability—the space itself morphs in conjunction with workplace needs.
It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I imagine that the modules are designed to slot into, say, a shipping container...