14 July, 2014

What tech offices tell us about the future work – Kate Losse – Aeon

What tech offices tell us about the future work – Kate Losse – Aeon: What connects Facebook’s incongruous graffiti and Twitter’s incongruous log cabins is their expense. Both represent a complete renovation of the space, making graffiti and log cabins (not in themselves luxurious) seem like high-end amenities. The homesteader who originally lived in Twitter’s log cabin lived a much more rugged life than the office worker, and this contrast is part of the log cabin’s frisson in the office. Likewise the men’s clothing shops in fashionable areas of San Francisco such as Hayes Valley and the Mission that sell multiple styles of artisanal leather boots and allow the tech worker to model himself on a rugged 19th-century labourer. The rough-hewn, old-fashioned look of Twitter’s cabins is repeated in all the reclaimed wood that has crept into the high-tech workspace in recent years. Any splinters you get from these textures is a small price to pay for the tactile, pre-modern feeling of a place that is otherwise devoted to the collection of ethereal data. It is this very need to represent high-tech luxury at the same time as invoking its opposite that drives the modern baroque of early 21st-century tech offices.