• The Outdoor Office
    Zoë Ryan
    The Art Institute of Chicago
    Mar 07, 2012 to Oct 14, 2012
    NeoCon 2013, Chicago
    Jun 10, 2013 to Jun 12, 2013
    Jonathan Olivares

Jonathan Olivares Design Research (JODR), Outdoor Office, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

The Outdoor Office is a new exhibition by Jonathan Olivares that looks at an area that has until now been underexplored: the types of furniture used for outdoor activities other than leisure and entertainment pursuits. It was developed with the goal of understanding the possibility of new types of office spaces located outdoors. As working habits change and our mobile devices, attached to us like appendages, allow us the freedom to work outside traditional offices, increasingly we are seeking alternative spaces that make productive activities feasible outdoors. This in turn demands new types of outdoor furniture and architectural elements.

The Outdoor Office synthesizes the result of Olivares’s findings, from inspirational images drawn from film, television, and existing offices and conceptual projects to models he developed for new types of offices and furniture systems, which are inventive tools for studying and working in both public and private spaces. It also seeks to cut the financial and environmental costs of lighting and HVAC in parts of the world where good weather is enjoyed for at least part of the year. Although hypothetical, Olivares’s research sets a benchmark for new thinking and discovery, encouraging further examination of this important developing area of design.

Jonathan Olivares is an American industrial designer and design researcher. He has designed products for Knoll, Danese and Driade, and won the Compasso d'Oro for his design of the multi-purpose cart, Smith. In addition to exhibitions for The Art Institute of Chicago and the EXD design Biennial in Lisbon, Olivares designed a library and social hub for the Nouveau Musée National Monaco. He is a contributing writer to Domus and Apartamento magazine, and his first book, A Taxonomy of Office Chairs was published by Phaidon Press in 2011.