Forget coworking. Your next desk could be in the middle of a forest

The Finnish metropolis of Lahti takes the idea of distant work actually.

In partnership with artistic company TBWAHelsinki and Finnish design firm Upwood, the lakefront metropolis has put in a collection of open-air desks for distant understanding in the middle of the wilderness.

There’s a distant desk overlooking Lake Vesijärvi, a 45-minute stroll from the nearest car parking zone, and others positioned in forest parks nearer to residential areas in the metropolis of 120,000. In comparison with the makeshift work-from-home workplace setups many individuals have cobbled collectively in closets and kitchens throughout the pandemic, these distant work stations supply a bit of an escape.

[Photo: Iiro Immonen]

Made regionally with Finnish spruce wooden, the work stations characteristic a slender desk floor with room for a laptop computer and a pocket book, and have a built-in help to face up a telephone, a gap in which to position a cup, and a notch on which to hold a bag. Strapped harmlessly to bushes, the work stations are like standing desks, however in the forest. The work stations are free to make use of, on a first-come-first-served foundation. Except for cellular phone service which will or could not be accessible, there’s no web connectivity nor energy.


The COVID-19 pandemic was the principal driver for the challenge, however the metropolis and the designers behind the work stations additionally needed to faucet into the pure magnificence of the area.

[Photo: Toivo Heinimäki]

“In the Nordics and in Finland, individuals are at all times eager to be in the forest and near nature. We thought this was a good technique to encourage individuals to return out,” says Umberto Onza, an industrial designer at TBWAHelsinki, who led the design course of.

Working with a group of college students from LAB Institute of Design and High-quality Arts at the native college, Onza’s group refined a number of ideas for outside workspaces and settled on the tree-strapped desk. Via the design course of, a stable sheet-backing wall advanced into a collection of rounded panels with areas in between. “We needed the individuals who have been working to be in a position to see by way of to the forest round them,” says Onza.

[Photo: LAB Institute of Design and Fine Arts]

They employed a native carpenter, Upwood, to construct the desks in Lahti. Painted to forestall moisture and mould, the work stations are anticipated to be in a position to keep put in till the heavy snowfalls this winter. Onza says the work stations will doubtless be in a position to be used six months out of the 12 months, and the metropolis plans to reinstall them in spring.

The distant work stations have been put in in 5 places all through the metropolis, which is 65 miles north of Helsinki and is that this 12 months’s European Green Capital, a European Fee program centered on city sustainability. Lahti’s parks are amongst its key property, and the work stations are meant to provide individuals extra of a purpose to take pleasure in them, or a minimum of to make use of them whereas typing on their laptops.

“It’s actually peaceable,” Onza says. “You’re in the middle of a forest in the middle of nowhere.”

[Photo: Toivo Heinimäki]

Onza says requests have been coming in from round the metropolis for extra. He says the present work stations are in places which will require a two- or three-mile stroll, which is meant to be half of the expertise. “The thought is to do some trekking to get there,” he says.


Different locations are additionally reaching out about getting their very own distant work stations, together with different cities in Finland and a museum in Sweden. Onza says he’s hoping extra work stations will be constructed to accommodate these requests, and means that native craftspeople ought to be concerned in making them to scale back their environmental influence.

And although the idea of these distant work stations is to take work outdoors of its typical context, they might even be built-in again into extra conventional work areas. “Persons are asking for them to be put in in their workplaces,” Onza says.

For now, the work stations will stay tied to their bushes, a reminder to anybody telecommuting from their sofa that distant work can be much more distant.