The serendipitous, tragicomic days of the office are over
At first offices resembled factories. Later they became a second home. Is this the end of the water cooler century?
In 1903 the architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed something that looked nothing like a modern office. The Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, had the form of an enormous brick.
Yet it marked the start of an era. The innovations included air-conditioning, filing cabinets and wall-hung toilets. In case those features didn’t maximise the output of Larkin’s mail-order employees, Wright chiselled into the stonework huge motivational words such as “Intelligence”, “Enthusiasm” and “Control”.