The “liberating” construction that has boxed-in office workers for a half-century (and spawned, as backlash, the utopian “open office”) celebrates its Golden Jubilee today, according to Men’s Journal. Celebrate the cubicle’s big 50 by making some office space.
Fifty years ago, in the spring of 1964, the modern office arrived in New York. Joe Schwartz, the marketing director at a small, Michigan-based home furnishing firm name Herman Miller, was erecting the world’s first modular “workplace solution” in a showroom at 600 Madison Avenue while calling every architecture firm he knew. The product, developed by the eccentric polymath Robert Probst, featured a massive desk, a carrel for making phone calls, and a vertical filing system. With it’s clean steel lines, the “Action Office” looked futuristic, even era-defining. Designers flocked to the showroom.
“Then nothing happened,” remembers Schwartz. “We had a few orders in Canada, but the executive market was extremely hard to penetrate. It was a first attempt.”