THE NEW LOOK OF WORK WEAR
Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg
NEW YORK — Dress for success is taking on a new meaning.
A bag that doubles as a mini file cabinet; a scarf and jacket equipped with a compact computer screen, and cocoons designed for a little more office privacy are among the cutting-edge items on display at “Workspheres,” a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The show, which runs through April 22, examines the balance between work and life, as well as the integral role designers can play in creating new solutions for a time-starved, overworked society.
For the workaholic on the go, France Telecom has designed a smart scarf and jacket. Tie the scarf around the neck, and an earpiece sits near the ear, a voice piece rests at the mouth and a compact computer screen and keyboard is on the scarf’s tail. The scarf has a voice-activated telephone, Internet access, video conferencing, movie viewing, stereo listening and a Webcam.
If that’s not enough, Snowcrash, a Swedish company, has made a messenger bag to carry files and equipment to and from work. It also works as a storage container.
Swedish designer Jennie Pineus developed cocoons for laborers tired of trying to tune out cubicle chatter. Reminiscent of giant, soft Chinese lanterns, the garments are meant to be worn at work or in public in order to to take a break from the daily grind. There is a full-body version as well as another style that just covers the head.
And there may be hope for staffers who really don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Dutch designer Hella Jongeris has created “Bed in Business,” an extra-long bed with an adjustable computer screen at the foot of the bed, pillows embedded with a keyboard and mouse or with stereo loudspeakers and bedcorners that can tilt up or stay horizontal.
Jongeris, whose vases have been sold at Donna Karan’s DKNY store in New York, also made “Powerpatch” for the Workspheres exhibit. These portable cushioned mats make it easier to lounge while working on a computer. Made with textiles and a soft gel that molds to the body, the patches are supposed to make the idea of bringing work home more appealing.
She’s also designed a fresh take for the lunch-at-your-desk crowd — an ergonomic keyboard with a plate planted in the middle.