Your Next Office Is an Inflatable Blob That Stows in a Backpack

These things are about to blow up

November 22, 2016 9:00 am

Modern technology is allowing offices everywhere to downsize.

And the technology of tomorrow will continue to promote said downsizing — until your office is small enough to fit in a backpack.

At least that’s the vision of Jie Zhang, architect and co-founder of design startup OPT. Her plan for an inflatable, portable personal office was runner-up in the “Tomorrow’s Workplace” design competition from Metropolis magazine and Staples Business Advantage. As a legitimate alternative to coworking spaces and coffee shops, we think Zhang’s design deserves a little more consideration.

Assembly is as simple as an air mattress. Remove from your bag, unroll and inflate. But unlike your guest bed — or the inflatable architecture of the 1960s from which Zhang drew inspiration — the materials used would replicate the technology of modern office buildings.

The outer layers act as solar panels to generate electricity while also fluctuating in opacity to either provide privacy or let in natural light. Meanwhile, inner layers provide insulation and act as projection screens.

Where are you going to blow up your new business pod?

In all those obsolete parking lots, of course!

Zhang foresees a future of self-driving cars and ridesharing (really an inevitability at this point) which would leave many parking spaces empty. Outfit those concrete slabs with strong wifi, social areas, green space and indoor plumbing, and we’ve finally got a solution for the 55 million office-less Americans.

Images Courtesy of Jie Zhang

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