Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20020100227 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/771,118
Publication dateAug 1, 2002
Filing dateJan 26, 2001
Priority dateJan 26, 2001
Publication number09771118, 771118, US 2002/0100227 A1, US 2002/100227 A1, US 20020100227 A1, US 20020100227A1, US 2002100227 A1, US 2002100227A1, US-A1-20020100227, US-A1-2002100227, US2002/0100227A1, US2002/100227A1, US20020100227 A1, US20020100227A1, US2002100227 A1, US2002100227A1
InventorsLynn Barnhouse, Ayse Birsel, Jeff Weber
Original AssigneeLynn Barnhouse, Ayse Birsel, Jeff Weber
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Work space management system
US 20020100227 A1
Abstract
A system for defining a plurality of work zones within an otherwise open area including a first work space configuration and a second work space configuration. The first work space configuration is formed from nonarchitectural rigid walls, and a ceiling. The first work space configuration having a substantially enclosed interior work area. The second work space configuration formed from a framework of spaced apart poles extending upward from a base surface and crossbeams interconnecting the poles. The framework capable of being arranged in a plurality of patterns and forming a substantially open noncovered work area.
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(26)
We claim:
1. A system for defining a plurality of work zones within an otherwise open area comprising:
a first work space configuration formed from nonarchitectural rigid walls, and a ceiling, said first work space configuration having a substantially enclosed interior work area;
a second work space configuration formed from a framework of spaced apart poles extending upward from a base surface and crossbeams interconnecting the poles, the framework capable of being arranged in a plurality of patterns and forming a substantially open noncovered work area.
2. The system of claim 2 wherein groups of three poles used to form the second work space are arranged at an angle of about 120.
3. The system of claim 3 further comprising a work surface adapted to be attached to at least some of the poles.
4. The system of claim 4 further comprising barrier members extending between at least some adjacent poles.
5. The system of claim 5 wherein said barrier members are formed from a lightweight material.
6. The system of claim 6 wherein said ceiling of said first work space configuration is formed from a lightweight and generally flexible material.
7. The system of claim 7 wherein said ceiling is formed from a fabric material.
8. The system of claim 7 wherein said first work space configuration includes two adjacent work spaces sharing a common wall.
9. The system of claim 7 said first work space configuration further comprises a door.
10. The system of claims 9 wherein said walls of said first work space configuration include a transparent portion.
11. The system of claim 10 further comprising a work surface adapted to be attached to said walls of said first work space configuration.
12. The system of claim 11 further comprising generally curved support rods which extend from a top portion of said walls of said first work space configuration and support said fabric material.
13. The system of claim 12 including groups of two or more first work space configurations and two or more second work space configurations.
14. A system for defining a plurality of work zones within an otherwise open area comprising:
a first work space configuration forming an enclosed interior space, the first work space formed from nonarchitectural rigid walls, and a ceiling, at least two of the walls interconnected at an angle substantially greater than 90;
a second work space configuration formed from a framework of spaced apart poles and interconnecting crossbeams, the framework capable of being arranged in a plurality of nonlinear patterns wherein at least two of the poles are interconnected at an angle substantially greater than 90, the second work space configuration forming a generally open noncovered work area.
15. The system of claim 14 wherein groups of three poles used to form the second work space are arranged at an angle of about 120.
16. The system of claim 15 further comprising a work surface adapted to be attached to at least some of the poles.
17. The system of claim 16 further comprising barrier members extending between at least some adjacent poles.
18. The system of claim 17 wherein said barrier members are formed from a lightweight material.
19. The system of claim 18 wherein said ceiling of said first work space configuration is formed from a lightweight and generally flexible material.
20. The system of claim 19 wherein said ceiling is formed from a fabric material.
21. The system of claim 20 wherein said first work space configuration includes two adjacent work space sharing a common wall.
22. The system of claim 21 said first work space configuration further comprises a door.
23. The system of claims 22 wherein said walls of said first work space configuration include a transparent portion.
24. The system of claim 23 further comprising a work surface adapted to be attached to said walls of said first work space configuration.
25. The system of claim 24 further comprising generally curved support rods which extend from a top portion of said walls of said first work space configuration and support said fabric material.
26. The system of claim 25 including groups of two or more first work space configurations and two or more second work space configurations.
Description
    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    The present invention relates generally to office furniture, and more particularly, to a work space management system.
  • [0002]
    Work areas in an office area typically are used by a number of office workers that work together on a regular basis. Typically, each worker will have an individual working space located within the work area that provides simple and easy access to the work spaces of the other workers in the work area. Generally, the office workers are made up of workers with various levels of responsibility and correspondingly different needs for their individual working space. One common example is when staff workers and executives work together in a common work area.
  • [0003]
    Staff workers typically need work spaces that are more open to provide ready access from several different directions. Usually, staff workers interact with many different workers on a constant basis. Thus, these work spaces should have large, easy to approach access areas. Because of the type of work that these workers do, less privacy is usually needed than is sometimes needed for other workers. In addition, these work spaces should be relatively easy to reorganize as the demands on the staff workers change.
  • [0004]
    Executives, on the other hand, usually need a relatively enclosed work space because they conduct meetings that require a high level of privacy. In addition, executives usually desire more privacy to minimize the number of distractions that tend to interfere with the executives' work. Thus, executive offices commonly have several high walls that enclose an interior space. The walls reduce the amount of ambient noise that enters the office and also prevent conversations that occur within the office from being heard outside the office. Typically, a door is also provided to fully enclose the office when so desired. Because of the greater need for privacy, executive offices are usually more expensive to build and less easy to reorganize than the work spaces of staff workers.
  • [0005]
    Sometimes a work area has a combination of staff workers and executives who work together. As a result, a work area preferably includes work spaces for staff workers and executives. The work spaces should also be positioned and oriented within the work area to facilitate ready cooperation between the staff workers and the executives. In addition, aisleways are generally desired that extend between the work spaces and through the work area.
  • [0006]
    Traditionally, work spaces and offices have been designed in square or rectangular shapes. This style is often chosen because the layout of the work area can be designed in an organized structure relatively easily. Thus, unobstructed aisleways and proximity between the work spaces and offices are relatively easy to achieve in a predefined work area.
  • [0007]
    However, shapes other than the traditional square and rectangular shapes are sometimes desired. Sometimes work spaces and offices that are not rectangular are preferred because these styles add variety and distinctiveness to the work area. As a result, the office workers in these work areas tend to be more enthused about their work and more productive. Even more desirably, the arrangement of the work area can vary throughout the work area so that different parts of the work area have slightly different layouts. Yet, the general style of the work spaces and offices should be consistent throughout the work area. Another advantage of non-rectangular work spaces and offices is their improved ability to persuade prospective clients and employees. Therefore, prospective clients and employees are more likely to be impressed with a work area that is unique and different than traditional work area layouts.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0008]
    There is a need for a work space management system that provides different work space configurations within a common work area that can readily accommodate the needs for both staff and executive worker in an efficient and unique manner.
  • [0009]
    According to first aspect of the invention, a system for defining a plurality of work zones within an otherwise open area including a first work space configuration and a second work space configuration. The first work space configuration is formed from nonarchitectural rigid walls, and a ceiling. The first work space configuration having a substantially enclosed interior work area. The second work space configuration formed from a framework of spaced apart poles extending upward from a base surface and crossbeams interconnecting the poles. The framework capable of being arranged in a plurality of patterns and forming a substantially open noncovered work area.
  • [0010]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a system for defining a plurality of work zones within an otherwise open area is provided. A first work space configuration forming an enclosed interior space is provided. The first work space configuration is formed from nonarchitectural rigid walls and a ceiling. At least two of the walls are interconnected at an angle substantially greater than 90. A second work space configuration is formed from a framework of spaced apart poles and interconnecting crossbeams. The framework is capable of being arranged in a plurality of nonlinear patterns wherein at least two of the poles are interconnected at an angle substantially greater than 90. The second work space configuration forms a generally open noncovered work area.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    The invention, including its construction and method of operation, is illustrated in the following drawings, in which:
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a first work space configuration;
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a second work space configuration; and
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 3 is a plan view of an embodiment of a work area having first work space configurations and second work space configurations.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0015]
    Referring now to the drawings, an embodiment of a first work space configuration or office 10 is illustrated in FIG. 1. The first work space configuration 10 includes more than four walls 12, making the shape of the first work space configuration 10 non-rectangular. Although a variety of shapes may be possible, the first work space configuration 10 preferably has six walls 12 formed in a hexagonal shape. Accordingly, the included angle between adjacent walls 12 is about 120. However, it should be recognized that a variety of shapes other than hexagonal may be implemented with the present invention.
  • [0016]
    The walls 12 of the first work space configuration 10 are non-architectural walls 12 and may be constructed with various office furniture panels that are known in the art. One particularly useful panel structure that may be used for the walls 12 can be purchased by the assignee of this invention, Herman Miller, Inc., under the Ethospace™ product line. The walls 12 of the first work space configurations 10 are described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,876,835 which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • [0017]
    The walls 12 of the first work space configuration 10 include a frame 14 with top 15, bottom (not shown) and side 17 members. Tiles 18 are installed onto the frame 14 in order to enclose the interior of the first work space configuration. Preferably, the titles 18 are attached to the frame 14 by conventional attachment mechanisms that engage a series of openings in the side frame members 17. The tiles 18 are also available in a variety of styles, as clear glass, opaque glass, fabric covered panels and colored solid panels. Therefore, the tiles 18 allow the office walls 12 to be individually configured to meet the needs of the particular executive using the first work space configuration 10. A raceway 20 is provided under the bottom frame member for routing electrical circuits to the office 10. The walls 12 rest on a base surface or floor with rest pads (not shown) being attached to the bottom of the raceways 20 to make contact with the base surface.
  • [0018]
    The walls 12 of the first work space configuration 10 are connected together with a corner member 22 that defines the desired 120 angle between the walls 12. The corner member 22 preferably matches the structural style of the walls 12, and in one embodiment the corner members 22 have a glass surface to match the glass tiles 18 that are used for the walls 12.
  • [0019]
    In one embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, a shared wall 24 exists between two first work space configurations 10. This configuration of using shared walls 24 between the first work space configurations 10 can be repeated to connect together several first work space configuration 10 into an office group.
  • [0020]
    Referring again to FIG. 1, each first work space configuration 10 also includes at least one door opening 26 for access into and out of the interior space of the first work space configuration 10. The preferred embodiment of the door 28 is a sliding door. In the illustrated embodiment, tiles 18 like those previously described can be installed onto one half of the wall 12 that includes the door opening 26. The door 28 can then be slid into a cavity between the outer tiles 18 and an inner wall surface when the door opening 26 is open. The door opening 26 is closed by sliding the door 28 out of the cavity until the door 28 abuts the side frame member 17. Although the door opening 26 may be located at various positions, an especially useful position for the door opening 26 is adjacent the shared wall 24. In addition, each office can be provided with two door openings 26, with each door opening 26 being adjacent the shared wall 24. This arrangement of the doors 28 is preferred because it provides an interior working space for the executive away from the doors 28 and provides access to opposite sides of an office group 58.
  • [0021]
    The doors 28 can also be provided with a conventional security system. In particular, a sensor 29 is mounted onto the side frame member 17 for sensing the presence of a coded card key. Because the raceway 20 does not extend below the door opening 26, the electrical circuits for the security system are routed up the side frame member 17 and across the top frame member 15. The electrical circuits can then be routed down another side frame member 17 and through the raceway 20. Thus, when the executive passes a key card in front of the sensor 29, the door 28 is unlocked to provide access into the first work space configuration 10. The security system can also automatically turn on a light 40 within the first workspace configuration 10 to illuminate the interior space. Additionally, the security system can power up some of the electrical receptacles in the first workspace configuration.
  • [0022]
    A ceiling 30 is also provided along the top of the first workspace configuration 10 to enclose the interior space. The ceiling 30 provides additional privacy for the executive and allows controlled lighting of the interior space. Moreover, the ceiling 30 employs a unique structural style. A fabric 32 material that can be purchased from the company Dazian Fabrics under the product name Trapeze™ may used to form the ceiling 30. Other ceiling materials, however, may also be implemented. Furthermore, the fabric 32 may have a variety of different colors, but a white color is preferred because of its superior lighting characteristics.
  • [0023]
    The fabric 32 is suspended above the walls 12 of the office 10 by six fiberglass rods 34 and a tubular steel ring or center hub 38. The rods 34 are bent between a first end 35 that is attached to each corner member 22 and a second end 36 that is attached to the center hub 38. The first ends 35 are connected to the corner members 22 by bracket assemblies that include a tubular receiver which the rod 34 is installed axially through. The second end 36 of each rod 34 is then installed into a radial hole in the center hub 38. The radial holes extend through the outside wall of the tubular ring 38 but not through the inside wall of the ring 38. Therefore, the second ends 36 of the rods 34 pass through the radial holes in the center hub 38 but are prevented from passing through the center hub 38 by abutting against the inside wall.
  • [0024]
    The fabric 32 is attached to the ceiling 30 with lower and upper eyelets. Each of the lower eyelets is installed onto one of the first ends 35 of the rods 34. Accordingly, the first end 35 of each rod 34 passes through one of the lower eyelets. A steel pin that is pressed perpendicular through the first end 35 of the rod 34 provides a stop that prevents the lower eyelets from sliding up the rods 34. Similarly, the upper eyelets are installed onto the second ends 36 of the rods 34. Thus, the second end 36 of each rod 34 passes through one of the upper eyelets, and a perpendicular pin pressed through the second end 36 prevents the upper eyelets from sliding down the rods 34.
  • [0025]
    As is now apparent, the suspended fabric 32 provides a unique castellated structure that adds to the aesthetics of the first work space configuration 10 while also providing an executive with additional privacy. The ceiling 30 can also be used to improve illumination of the interior space within the first work space configuration 10. In most cases the desired privacy for the executive can be achieved with a relatively lightweight fabric 32. Accordingly, the fabric 32 transmits ambient light into the interior space of the first work space configuration 10. To increase illumination of the office 10 further, lights 40 are also attached to the inside of each of the corner members 22. The lights 40 are then directed upward towards the ceiling 30 so that the light is radiated off of the interior surface of the ceiling 30 and throughout the first work space configuration 10.
  • [0026]
    As best seen in the plan view of an embodiment of an open work area 61 illustrated in FIG. 3, a variety of furniture units can be installed in and around the first workspace configurations 10. For example, worksurfaces 42 may secure to the walls 12 in a conventional manner. A free standing work surface or desk 44 and storage cabinets 46 can also be located within the first work space configurations 10 together with other conventional work items.
  • [0027]
    Turning now to FIG. 2, a second work space configuration 60 is provided that can be used cooperatively with the first work space configuration 10 in the open work area 61 illustrated in FIG. 3. Several different types of workspace configurations may be acceptable, but workspaces marked under the name RESOLVE™ by Herman Miller, Inc and disclosed and described in PCT Ser. No. US99/23793 filed in the name of Ayse Birsel et al. on Oct. 13, 1999, which is hereby incorporated by reference, are preferred. The second workspace configuration 60 can be easily modified into a variety of different configurations. However, it is preferred that the shapes of the second workspace configuration have a 120 angle between adjacent poles 62.
  • [0028]
    The second workspace configuration 60 includes poles 62 that extend upward from a base member 64 and form a framework for the configuration. A plurality of barrier members 66 extend between adjacent poles 62. The barrier members 66 can perform various functions in addition to providing privacy such as sound adsorption. In particular, crossbeams 68 interconnect adjacent poles 62 and include a channel that receives a connection element attached to the top and bottom edges of the barrier member 66 as described in PCT Ser. No. US99/23793. The barrier members 66 and poles 62 can be combined in a number of configurations to achieve different workspace shapes. For example, some poles 62 may have as many as three barrier member 66 attached thereto at 120 angles. Other poles 62, on the other hand, may have a single privacy member 66 attached to it when the pole 62 acts as an end member. In some cases a barrier member 66 may also be shared by two different second works space configurations 60. The upper crossbeam 70 includes a trough through which utilities pass. One particular shape for the second workspace configuration that has been found to be useful includes four barrier members 66 attached to five poles 62 as illustrated in FIG. 2. This shape provides a well defined working space while also providing a large open area for easy access.
  • [0029]
    A variety of furniture units (as seen in FIGS. 2 & 3) can be installed in and around the second workspace configurations 60. For example, work surfaces 80 and support surfaces for a computer monitor 82 can be located within the second work space configurations 60. Freestanding storage cabinets 84 can also be located within and around the second work space configurations 60. Rolling privacy members 88 can also be attached to the poles 62 for rearward privacy.
  • [0030]
    Turning now to FIG. 3, the open area 61 is illustrated having first works space configurations 10 and a second workspace configurations 60. The open work area 61 is typically used by both staff workers and executives who work together on a regular basis. Thus, by providing the first workspace configurations 10 and the second workspace configurations 60 in the same open work area 61, staff workers and executives can interact more easily and work more productively.
  • [0031]
    Because the first workspace configuration 10 and second workspace configuration 60 employ a similar hexagonal shape they can be oriented together in efficient arrangements. Moreover, the second workspace configuration 60 can be located in close proximity to the first workspace configuration 10 if certain staff workers are expected to interact more often with particular executives. The first workspace configuration 10 and second workspace configuration 60 can be positioned in a variety of arrangements to suits the needs of a particular office.
  • [0032]
    The first workspace configurations 10 can be assembled into workspace groups 58 as illustrated in FIG. 3. The second workspace configurations can be assembled into the workspace groups 92. Each workspace group 58 & 92 includes a plurality of workspaces connected together. This arrangement provides additional flexibility by allowing certain workspace groups 58 to be positioned closer to particular workspace groups 92 as needed.
  • [0033]
    Another advantage of the work area 61 is that aisleways can be designed through the workspace groups 92 to provide the staff workers and executives with efficient access to all parts of the work area 61. Preferably, the workspaces groups 58 & 92 are oriented together so that some of the walls 12 of the first workspace configurations 10 are parallel to some of the barrier members 66 of the second workspace configurations 60.
  • [0034]
    The arrangement of workspaces as provided by the present invention is expected to improve the morale and productivity of the staff workers and executives. Furthermore, prospective clients and employees are likely to be favorably persuaded by the variety, efficiency and pleasing aesthetics of the open work area 61.
  • [0035]
    While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described, it should be understood that the invention is not so limited, and modifications may be made without departing from the invention. The scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims, and all devices that come within the meaning of the claims, either literally or by equivalence, are intended to be embraced therein.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6663267 *Jun 10, 2002Dec 16, 2003Herman Miller Inc.Lighting fixture for work space management system
US20050188623 *Feb 26, 2004Sep 1, 2005Wang Leo C.Barzebo
US20070074906 *Sep 6, 2006Apr 5, 2007Uchida Yoko Co., Ltd.Space Providing System and Information Exhibition System
US20080134601 *Jun 15, 2007Jun 12, 2008Apaxis Systems, IncOffice workstation assembly
US20080173341 *Jan 14, 2008Jul 24, 2008Yotrio Group Co., Ltd.Canopy with illumination device
Classifications
U.S. Classification52/36.1, 52/243, 52/238.1, 52/239
International ClassificationE04B2/74
Cooperative ClassificationE04B2002/7483, E04B2/7435, E04B2/7433
European ClassificationE04B2/74C3E1, E04B2/74C3E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 3, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: HERMAN MILLER, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BARNHOUSE, LYNN;BIRSEL, AYSE;WEBER, JEFF;REEL/FRAME:012259/0592;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010406 TO 20010605