OFH Celebrates 29 years in Office Furniture - Then and Now

Time flies! This year, Office Furniture Heaven celebrates its 29th year in office furniture. Since our office opened in 1991, we’ve definitely seen it all. From the transformation of technology beginning with the rise of the Information Age/ Dot-Com Boom to the Wellness and Collaborative Office movement taking place in offices today.Closed and Open Office Plans in the 1980s-90s. (Image Credit: frovi.co.uk)

For some fun, we’ve decided to take a quick step into our Office Furniture Time Machine and take you back to how offices were like in 1991. From floppy disks to the beige furniture, it’s up to you to decide whether you love or hate these offices of the 90’s!

1991 was the beginning of the Information Age, when people were just beginning to learn about the internet, and every website had seemed to have its own zany font and giant typeface. It was an innocent time when people used a lot of clip art, and nobody thought it was corny. Offices were undergoing massive technological change and were moving at full speed to catch up. Offices still used a lot of paper and were often bursting at the seams with the need for more storage.

Photo of a “Cube Farm” in the 1990s. (Image Credit: fistfuloftalent.com)

During this time, offices were generally not designed for ergonomics. Monitors were heavy and bulky, and if it wasn’t at the right height, you would have to crain your neck to meet the screen. Traditional “cubicle farm” layouts made offices very dark, making employees long for the sun. Herman Miller changed the world when they released the Aeron Chair in 1994, which was a chair that was specifically engineered for the needs of the body (and not just aesthetics). This would popularize ergonomics, and lead to more focus on wellness and office furniture design as a way to improve productivity and happiness.

One of the most noticeable changes in 2020, is the (almost universal) transition to the open office. But, unlike the open offices of the past, today’s offices include sound-minimizing technology and design to boost productivity and reduce distractions. Offices today are keener on plants and utilizing design strategies to increase light flow in spaces. For many offices, the “Casual Fridays” that became popular in the 90’s have become normal office attire.

Offices Today - OFH Office Design Project: Fracht (2019)

In the last 29 years, Office Furniture Heaven has taken part in the transformation of offices environments into profoundly different places to work. While a lot of things have changed, it is clear that a lot of changes have been for the best: employees today enjoy wide open spaces, with technology that more effectively adjusts to their needs.

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