When creating their new workplace, BVN, an architectural practice with 200 employees, wanted to easily move and reconfigure their desking environment, allowing them to rapidly reteam as projects required. This system required a mobile desking setup which allowed individuals to relocate their desks without external assistance. Due to their high-performance computing environment, BVN required each desk to have a cabled connection for both power and internet connection. After extensive research, it was discovered that no products existed to suit BVN’s requirements and that a product would need to be developed.
Project Octopus consists of two components: 1. The Data Boom - A circular installation with integrated lighting which allows the user to move a bundled power and data cable anywhere within a 2m radius. This cable connects into the second component. 2. The Octopus – This is a central hub for up to eight users to plug and play their workstations with ease. Mobile workstations can also be easily customised specifically to integrate with Project Octopus. To achieve this, we worked closely with our engineers, suppliers and experts in power and data systems during the 10-month development and delivery process.
Project Octopus provides companies an ability to tailor workspaces to their teams’ needs, enabling individuals to move their desk, reconfiguring to the new team layout. This provides a unique opportunity for rapid reconfiguring and flexibility, offering a ground-breaking workplace solution and response to COVID-19. Project Octopus vastly reduces or eliminates the ongoing costs of reconfiguring a floorplate to adapt to organisational change. These costs include planning, worker downtime, rewiring costs as well as the cost of moving fixed desks. The innovative use of fibreoptic technologies enables this system to reduce embodied carbon by 47% when compared to traditional copper networks.
This system has enabled BVN to transition away from traditional fixed desking arrangements which make it difficult to create efficient teams and provide users with little agency over their workspace. The ability for all users to move their own desks has resulted in increased engagement with the workplace and improves the collective sense of ownership of the space. When this system was pressure tested in a real-life scenario, BVN found it facilitated a complete re-deployment of over 200 desks, resulting in a total floorplate reconfiguration in less than three hours. This was all managed individually by staff, without external assistance from electricians, tradespeople or workstation manufacturers, with zero expenditure or extensive planning required. By making it easier to reconfigure the workplace, this system allows BVN to create powerful teams with increased agility and flexibility. This has enabled BVN to meet the needs of their clients in a greater capacity. This system is the first of its kind in the world, providing a solution to the very real obstacle faced regarding flexibility in the workplace. The system has been patented in Australia, the US and the UK in recognition of its uniqueness.