At a point in time when people and workers are becoming increasingly nomadic, offices themselves are becoming nomads because anywhere with connectivity and a minimal amount of equipment can be used as an office.
As a result of this sort of dematerialisation, contemporary offices are becoming more of a “Neverwhere”. Homes, cafés, bookshops, undergrounds, bus stops are all seen more or less overtly these days as workspaces, or perhaps more or less as one single extended office which, like a mobile home, we take with us wherever we go.
In this changing environment, designers are facing up to the challenge of self-contained “portable” modules, that can travel on four wheels or be put down wherever necessary: from the garden at home to urban public spaces. They are also busy trying to come up with accessories and furnishing pieces that enable mini pop-up environments fostering work and concentration to be created temporarily.
One of the first examples of a mobile workstation comes from carmaker Nissan. In partnership with the English designer William Hardie, the brand has developed the concept of a minivan equipped ad hoc for working remotely.
Ecological, economic and flexible, the project got off the ground with its transformation of an e-NV200 van into an all-electric office on four wheels: the e-NV200 WORKSPACe. The interior is a fully equipped workstation with integral pull-out desk, touchscreen computer, wireless internet access, LED wood floor lighting, its brightness and colour controlled via smartphone, a wireless charging system and a Bluetooth audio system.
There’s no shortage of upmarket details: mini fridge and professional quality coffee maker, as well as a folding bike housed in one of the rear doors. The panoramic glass roof allows for continuity with the outside world and, in fine weather, the sliding doors and the split rear doors can be opened, making for a more “airy” work atmosphere.
What’s more, a “floating” deck can be pulled out at the rear to provide an open air space in which to work or simply admire the view when a break is called for. The vehicle takes 30 minutes to charge, has extremely low running costs and is an example of smart mobility.