The 1970’s Offices Were Groovy, Man!

The 1970’s were Groovy, Man!

If the 1960’s were a time of pushing office design into new territory, the 1970’s were even more so.

It was the height of ‘flower power’ and ‘peace and love’.  Woodstock was a recent happening and the hippie culture was thriving.  It was a vibrant era of contrasts, creativity and connections. For the first time, a sense of global brotherhood underscored the social environment.

Along with the free and easy outlook came a time of technological advance. It was a golden era for tech with the dawn of the personal computer and video games.  (Are you old enough to remember ‘Atari’ and ‘Pong’?)
While the laptop had yet to make its appearance, people were already talking about telecommuting. Thanks, Star Trek for teaching us to challenge the ‘final frontier’ and to ‘boldly go where no man has gone before’!

World War II was, by now, a memory in the minds of the ‘older generation’.  The world belonged to a generation that had only known prosperity, safety and infinite possibilities and who were happy to push the boundaries in all respects.

Unfortunately, with all this social freedom came some incredibly ‘groovy’ interior design trends.  The color ‘pumpkin’ immediately comes to mind – available in both formica laminate and shag carpets, not to mention almost any other home item one cared to own.

Offices didn’t go unscathed. 

1970 Allsteel 2000 Desk line with Penta Seating

Unabashedly bright, ‘in your face’, often discordant contrasts heralded the era of modularism and technology.  It was all about the look. For the first time, comfort became a big factor in furniture design. More padding and organic curves jostling with highly glossed finishes, metal, glass and larger than life furniture.

This materialistic focus competed with a growing awareness and concern about environmental issues. The seemingly opposed philosophies of experimentalism and environmentalism vied for ascendance.

1970's Allsteel lateral FileThe evolvement of the lateral filing system revolutionized offices, making it easier to store and access all those felled trees pulped beyond recognition into paper, while the term ‘tree hugger’ began reappearing on a regular basis.

The debate over cubicles, open plan and private offices still raged… it seems that some things never really change!

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