"It started as a dialogue between me and Muuto about a sort of touchdown workspace system. If it could fit into the framework of Linear Wood, a dining table I designed, and how that could look. I think there’s something wonderful in the idea of taking a homey dining table and putting it into a systemic office setting.
I wanted it to be practical and intuitive, to not feel technical. To be all analogue, so you could simply put it together and adapt it yourself without the use of tools. Its configurable nature allows it to speak to a myriad of work settings and needs, allowing people to take ownership of their space."
While the pandemic sped up our transition to a more flexible workday, the designer was at work on this topic years prior, in the development of the Linear System.
Today, the system continuously evolves to speak to the contemporary way of working. While initially imagined for the office, it quickly found its way into schools, hotels, airport lounges, libraries or anywhere you might need to work alongside many users on the go.
Thomas Bentzen We have different needs when we are working. In the morning, we might convene or meet for a coffee, sitting in a group or cluster working on solving a task together, in the afternoon head to the quiet of a library to focus and finishing a presentation at a bustling local eatery. These many tasks all demand something different from a design.
"I have worked to include as many of these scenarios as possible in one system and it is quite fascinating to develop it to both make place for the one and the many — to design a system that can support private spheres and actually help facilitate and enable socializing when working."
With a wide range of accessories — from lighting and storage to dividers and integrated tech — inviting one to playfully configure a personal workspace à la minute.
"I wanted the lighting for the Linear System Series to make a desk space feel like a room of one’s own, a space to focus and feel calm in — even when you are surrounded by coworkers or the other people you share a space with on your way."
Thomas Bentzen The system can accommodate several functions and even atmospheres in one place, using the accessories as a way of building several spheres into a space. One example is to dedicate part of a long table to collaboration, the other to touchdown focused work.
The screens build on this idea. Bentzen emphasizes that it is not about closing off or a reinvention of the cubicle workplace. It is about finding a peace of mind that is yours. The low-level screen allows a level of privacy while remaining in contact with those around you. If you look up, you know what is happening around you.
When asked about the most radical setting he could imagine the Linear System in, he pauses and laughs:
"It might be to move it into the home, I don't think anyone saw that coming. In so many ways, our dining table has become a new work surface, where you might eat breakfast at the start of the day, work on your laptop at noon and do crafts or homework in the evening. I could see Linear being used by the whole family."