Los Osos of Portland, Ore., builds a petite and portable workspace inside a warehouse complete with a modular kit-of-parts office system.
When Laurence Sarrazin, principal of the multidisciplinary studio , plotted to create a small, self-contained office space for Coroflot, her husband’s online career portal for the design community, she built it entirely within a warehouse in downtown Portland, Oregon. Sarrazin was looking to create something modestly sized, versatile and portable. “A box within a box seemed like the perfect thing for the project,” she says. The result is the Mobile Work Unit (MWU), a 26-square-metre workspace on wheels that comfortably seats four to five. Its construction mirrors the DIY spirit of many tech start-ups. Sarrazin repurposed the platform base from what was originally intended to be a tiny home, and built the skeleton structure out of cedar. The rest of the unit is finished in Douglas fir, custom milled from trees harvested near her husband’s childhood home. A simple cladding of semi-translucent polycarbonate lets in natural light, and an electrical board plugs into a warehouse socket to power the computers and Wi-Fi.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the project is the simultaneous development of the Stix System, a modular kit of office parts composed of narrow wooden poles. Each pole has holes drilled at regular intervals to allow everything from cabinets to potted succulents to be hung and moved. Height-adjustable desks are also part of the scheme. Of the two projects,the Stix System has been garnering the most attention, mainly from those who see its potential in retail or residential spaces, and Sarrazin anticipates proto-typing a freestanding version. As for MWU, she foresees iterations featuring robust skins for acoustic privacy, or a series of units linked together to create interstitial spaces. The current MWU could go on the road, but with some redesign. “I would wrap it up first.”