Citizen Office by Vitra

10 Jan 2011

A few months ago the Orgatec office furniture fair in Cologne took place and acted as an indicator to spot trends in office furniture. One of the more remarkable things I spotted was Vitra's Citizen Office theme.

What is Vitra's Citizen Office theme?

Vitra is not new to office furniture, they have research that goes back a few decades. They aren't doing it alone either, but together with leading designers around the world. This way they see how technical, economic and cultural megatrends have been influencing office work. The study was done to anticipate new needs and employ forward-thinking concepts and products in the search for solutions. The result of all this is the Citizen Office concept. This is how Vitra describes it:

The Citizen Office theme enables the demands made by today's companies and employees to be translated into an office situation.

A Citizen Office takes the needs of the business just as seriously as those of the individual employees – after all, architecture psychologists have demonstrated the following relationship between office design, well-being and employee-performance: If you feel comfortable, you'll be more motivated and more productive.

Within a Citizen Office the occupants are encouraged to work using a range of postures and to move within the office as much as possible. You could work while standing or other casual postures that provide a variety and relaxation while keeping the employee's health in mind.

In a Citizen Office, the employees themselves decide what will be the appropriate style of working, posture and place to suit each type of activity. This may include focusing, communicating, standing or sitting - in an office chair or a sofa. They have all the options to choose from, and the short distances involved make the transitions self-evident.

New products that extend the Citizen Office

This brings us back at what Vitra has revealed at the Orgatec office furniture fair in Cologne. I personally like the look of Citizen Office and what it represents to those who work in it. What follows are the descriptions of the products as I got them from Vitra. First up is some new work by Antonio Citterio.

ID Chair Concept - Antonio Citterio

The ID Chair brings a subtle, elegant design and light color tones to office spaces – and provides countless possibilities for people to adapt it to their own individual needs in terms of function, comfort and look. However, all design versions are based on the same technical and aesthetic vision. In addition to having a positive impact on the overall aesthetic of an office environment, this is also an invaluable help when it comes to maintenance and service. The ID Chair Concept empowers companies and their employees to define their seating to suit their own personal identity.

Make sure to hover and click the image to navigate to the other images - All photos by Vitra.

Unix Chair - Antonio Citterio

Unix Chair is a comfortable office chair that can be used in many different ways. It is ideal as a temporary work chair or a visitor’s chair, but there are also versions of the chair available that can be used in conference and meeting rooms, touch-down work areas as well as waiting rooms and reception areas.

Ad Hoc - Antonio Citterio

Ad Hoc is the tried-and-tested office system from Vitra. Its modular furniture can be arranged in a variety of ways and helps to bring in a change in the office. It doesn’t matter whether the number of staff changes, new technology requires adjustments, or processes are redefined–Ad Hoc is flexible, and can cater to every individual need without having to change the entire set-up of an office.

Ad Hoc High Work & ID High - Antonio Citterio

The Ad Hoc office furniture system – designed by Antonio Citterio in 1994 together with Vitra and continuously developed further since then – is now also available as a standing system. The difference is that the work table is not raised or lowered, instead the user either sits on a tall work chair or stands at the table – switching between these two positions is both spontaneous and dynamic.

ID High

The ID High is 32 cm higher than a standard office swivel chair and thus corresponds to the standard height of standing tables. And while it is height-adjustable, the footrest stays at the same height, ensuring that it keeps the same distance to the tabletop at all times. Since the ID High does not feature armrests, it can be used to sit on, lean against or as a support.

Suita Club - Antonio Citterio

In cooperation with Vitra, Antonio Citterio has developed two pieces of furniture in the Suita range that are suitable for use in offices, waiting areas and lobbies. Their construction and workmanship are compatible with the stringent demands for use in public areas. Both upholstery and covers are extremely durable and made of high-quality materials.

HAL - Jasper Morrison

With HAL, Jasper Morrison has created a new interpretation of the multifunctional shell chair, as well as a broad chair range with a distinct, contemporary look. The various bases and colours offer a wide range of combination possibilities. HAL Table was designed to match the HAL Chair, but it can be used with nearly any type of chair.

Playns Single Desk - Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

This individual workstation Playns is electrically height-adjustable. Desk system Playns facilitates switching between sitting and standing – which has been proven healthy – while working in the office. Large screens surround the individual desktops, creating barriers in open space offices.

Communal Cells - Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

The Communal Cells are versatile islands that feature walls of varying heights that not only divide open office spaces into different areas, but also reduce acoustic noises at workstations. Used as cloakrooms, printer islands or coffee corners, the Communal Cells serve as spaces that are also lively social meeting areas. They can also be used as work booths or retreat booths for teams or for individual work.

Alcove Work - Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec

Standing while working is not the only alternative to sitting on an office chair. Lounge furniture also makes a suitable and productive change at work. Alcove Work – which depending on size can be fitted with one or more writing shelves – has been developed for individual concentration and small team meetings: it also affords visual and acoustic protection.

WorKit & Silent Wall & Storage - Arik Levy

The improved version of the logical and versatile WorKit office system offers more individual options to choose from: new desk shapes, screens, on-table storage boxes and improved lighting integration.

The Silent Wall – which is available in various height and widths – reduces noise and can be used to divide large office spaces into different sections without the need for any permanent built-in components.

The new storage locker concept facilitates a non-territorial style of working: Employees retrieve their toolboxes with work materials from the lockers and then lock them up again later.

Kuubo - Naoto Fukasawa

Kuubo is a versatile table that gives users all kinds of options. Kuubo is a team centre, a temporary workstation, a conference and meeting table, a table for team projects, a manager desk with space for clients and much, much more. Notebook computers and materials can be stored in lockable storage boxes located in the tabletops. This feature makes it possible to quickly change the table’s use.


  1. 1 Tara Adam 16 Jan 2011

    Nice design.