Prologue from “Playoffice- toward a new culture in the workplace“:
In less than ten years from now we will enter the 21st century. Our current era characterized by the post-industrial society of America, Europa, and Japan is reaching its maturity. The role of the office and its importance in this context is frequently a topic on conversation.
Now, one can be tempted to ask, why another book on the office? What is the significance of “PLAYOFFICE”? Other books on the subject, at least those we are familiar with considar the office as an inherent part of production. The true aim of the office is believed to be that of increasing production. Concepts such as office landscape, office automation, ergonomics, labor psychology, have always been the starting points but have never completely succeeded in ridding themselves of the industrial logic connected to them.
In the last few years new words such as facility management or office amenity have become popular and somewhat fashionable. Where did they come from? They might stem from the philosophy of functionalism and positivism, the concepts existed under other terminology but were transformed into these modern “key words”, or, on the other hend, they could be a mere phenomenon which has just a superficial effect and without great pretense of going into depth on the subject. The office taken from this point of view, however, is considered in the total absence of Man. Man, up to now, was not connsidered a “part” of the office!
For about the last 20 years we have been dealing with the office environment and have touched on various aspects of it. It has become irritating for us to look to the office from only this “consolidated” point of view. The “Prima Donna” of the office environment is a Man! Since we have always thought of man as an intrinsic ingredient to the work place, we wanted to try to view the situation from this strategic point. Even now, after having finished this book, we are not convinced to have arrived at the apex of this field but we wished to start our book from this point of view.
The reader is asked to be critical, and to use his creativity as a flexible tool to help make this book become a small reference point for the great development of the trend towards a new “culture” for the office world.
Milan, autumn of 1990