European Green Capital Lahti Takes Remote Working to the Woods with Nature Inspired Workstations
In Finland it is now possible to work remotely in forests. Lahti, the European Green Capital 2021, wants to encourage its residents to enjoy the calming effect of nature and has therefore set up remote workstations in the city's nature sites free for everyone to use. The Viita-workstations have been made in collaboration by a Finnish design company Upwood and creative agency TBWA Helsinki, and a team of students from LAB Institute of Design and Fine Arts has been involved in the process.
Nature was strongly present throughout the design process of the Viita workstations. The design reflects ecology, locality and functionality. The workstations are unique in terms of usability, and differ from traditional camping tables due to their functions that are specifically designed for remote working. They include a telephone and a cup holder, an area for one’s laptop, a place to put one’s pens and a possibility to hang a bag or purse.
“The designing process started by thinking about the shapes, textures and elements that can be found in nature. They combine the roundness of trees and breathing nature, helping the workstations to blend into surrounding nature. The design of workstations guarantees a sense of privacy, but also a connection with surrounding nature while working”, says Umberto Onza, an industrial designer from TBWA Helsinki, who led the designing process.
The ways of working are changing at a rapid pace, and that is why Lahti wants to take into account the needs of remote workers.
“The ordinary workday looks very different compared to what it was a couple years ago, and remote work is here to stay. People now need solutions that combine different ways of working. Many have also found themselves to nature more often in between meetings and have awakened to the importance of nearby nature. The new workstations make it possible to work remotely while enjoying the calming effects of nature” says Human Resources Director Mira Keitaanranta from City of Lahti.
Locality is reflected in both the design and execution of the Viita workstations
Finnish design expertise and nature meet in Viita-workstations in a unique way. The workstations have been made in collaboration by a Finnish design company Upwood and creative agency TBWA Helsinki, and a team of students from LAB Institute of Design and Fine Arts has been involved in the process.
“In addition to taking into account the changes that are happening in working life, we wanted to highlight local designers and production. The result is unique and very high quality” says Saara Piispanen from Lahti – the European Green Capital 2021 project.
Viita workstations are made of Finnish spruce, which is durable material for outdoor use. The use of spruce has a long history in Finland, and as a material it represents the Finnish forest at its best. The workstations are attached to trees so that no harm is done to the trees after installation and removal.
Viita workstations will be in use for the first time this autumn as a part of the Green Capital Year. Lahti also encourages other actors to set up workstations and shares the drawings for open use.