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Chiat\Day and the Invention of the ‘Open Office’

When Jay Chiat and Italian designer Gaetano Pesce set out to create a more collaborative creative workspace, the first ever “open office” in advertising was formed for Chiat\Day’s New York outpost. Just the thought of an open floor layout that nixed offices and assigned seating was enough to spark much debate. Was the elimination of cubicles a bit too out-of-the-box?

Dubbed by Peces as “the virtual office,” this workplace experiment was founded in response to the rise of internet and the technological revolution. Employees would enter the office, leave their personal belonging in lockers, and check out a phone and laptop for the day. They’d grab a spot on an open couch or in a table in the cafe. The space was colorful and the experience was open; oftentimes this proved to be a culture shock for people coming from a traditional work environment.

Though the idea of a virtual office was innovative and futuristic, it proved to be too much of a change. Many complained that it suppressed the creative process and resulted in too many distractions. Eventually, Chiat\Day moved back to a traditional office format. However, the idea of the open office lived on … eventually proving to be the ideal choice for major companies like Apple and Google.