Innovation That Matters

The architect envisions the pods would be 3D printed in just a few days using waterproof, recyclable materials | Photo source Monolight Studio

Floating work pods for a post-COVID world

Architecture & Design

A designer has created a vision of the post-COVID world of work, with plans for floating work pods that evoke natural structures

Spotted: In a post-COVID world, it is likely that the working patterns of many people will remain permanently changed, with most people working remotely for at least part of the time. This will, in turn, require new ways of using working space. One designer, Agnieszka Białek, the owner of Krakow-based studio Monolight, is addressing this with a co-working space that sees remote workers floating on the water in the heart of the city.

Białek was inspired to create the concept, dubbed “Enclaves on the Vistula River”, while walking along the riverbank during a lockdown. She imagined how the city’s unused natural spaces could be used more sustainably. The result was a design for a series of 3D-printed architectural structures that float near Wawel Castle and are accessible by kayak. 

The concept envisions a series of interconnected “cells” or platforms anchored to the river bed, resembling river foam. Each structure is a private workspace, and the structures could be rearranged as needed to suit different locations along the river. Remote workers tired of being at home could book a structure and spend time working in the calming natural environment.

The designer has described the project as resembling floating water lilies and their root system, with the individual cells like the leaves of the plants, and the enclaves placed on the cells their flowers. Białek believes that spaces will be more comfortable and easier to work in, saying “It is easier to focus on performing specific tasks when working in a designed space.”

Architects have responded to the changes brought by COVID in a myriad of ways. From stylish partition systems to flexible, multipurpose outdoor venues, architects are reimaging how we interact with and use space.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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