"We're designing to support a culture of relevance," states designer Joey Ruiter. "People need something to gather around, to share ideas and confidences, or to be alone while they're standing next to someone else." This year at NeoCon, the team at izzy+ along with Ruiter, of JRuiter Studio, crafted two very different, "third space" structures. The idea was to cultivate unique spaces within a larger space that respond to our needs. "These two concept pieces show how informal space builds community, where information is shared quickly. And it's where real work and real learning take place now."
"third space" concept. Designed by izzy and Joey Ruiter.
For the hours of studying, reflecting, speaking with others privately, or desiring some solo computer time, the first concept answers the call. Thick and enveloping, a massive green bench lines the perimeter of the chamber. Set high off the ground to engage the attention of partakers, it is split in half by a wooden counter for your computer or book. In the space above the bench and desk however, thin wooden branches dart towards the ceiling and extend the feel of privacy without being boxed in. Although it feels separated to passersby, the free flowing of air and sound passes through freely. Perhaps inspired by the bedroom of Max from Where The Wild Things Are, the controlled chaos of branches overhead can indeed bring serenity to your studies.
If the first concept hit the introverted chord, then the second marks the opposite - an extroverted and socially-charged - spot to gather. Whether you're in the mood to feel invigorated by the energy of colleagues, friends, or classmates, lean against or have a seat at the sleek 24-foot bar, there is plenty of room to roam and hold raging brainstorm sessions. Created as the ideal congregation station, the second concept of this "third space" consists of a split, perpendicular bench in the center of the bar, with covered nook seating at one end, and a bench on the other. To be honest, putting a bar in your office lobby has never seemed like a better idea.
Based in Spring Lake, Michigan, izzy+ designs, manufactures, and markets office furniture and seating. But beyond that, they seek to solve the riddle of work and play by tackling the right questions. "Can you mix complete privacy with complete openness?" ponders Ruiter, "We do it all the time today, in the subway, in a stairwell, sending emails from the cafeteria. Converting that idea into physical products is a new idea."
Photos via Contemporist