In an office or classroom setting, the need to share a bit of digital work-in-progress with a collaborator comes up often. Rochester Institute of Technology student Alexander Bennett came up with a novel way to encourage personal interactions rather than digitally mediated ones: the Invitation Chair.
Providing some background on his inspiration, Bennett says he took inspiration from the Herman Miller quote, “How might a product build and enhance relationships in the workplace?”
The chair looks just like a normal office chair, albeit a little new-agey. But when someone comes over and needs to share your computer screen for a moment, the chair separates and swivels to make two connected chairs.
The seat and backrest swivel together, giving two people space to sit together and work or have a face-to-face conversation. The backrest also features a convenient handle.
According to the designer, the chair is meant to encourage creativity and camaraderie in a workplace setting. Since ideas flow more freely during personal interaction than during digital conversations, this may be one of the most brilliant office seating ideas ever.
“The office serves as a hub of interaction, much of it predicated on digitally mediated conversations. An object within that context should further encourage and enhance those interactions. The Invitation Chair allows for the creation of a temporary shared space to collaborate, by allowing a user to share their seat with someone. The chair facilitates short bursts of interaction between two people who must focus their attention upon a computer screen while seated. By making it easier for workers to collaborate including the computer as a ‘third entity’. The Invitation Chair promotes a stronger workplace camaraderie and encourages creative thinking.”
“Alexander Bennett is an industrial designer on Microsoft’s devices team, using electronics and code to prototype the future. RIT ID Alum. Seattle soccer aficionado.”