Office Furniture Gets a High Tech Makeover

All that mobile technology we’re lugging around these days sure does give the average worker more freedom. After all, who needs to be tethered to an office cubicle any more when your work can go wherever you are?

That is until that little battery icon goes from green to red and you find yourself desperately searching for a plug to recharge your cell phone, iPad or notebook computer.

Even when you are working at your desk, finding a free outlet can be no easy task and might even involve you crawling into the sea of dust bunnies and potato chip crumbs under your desk to locate one.

Luckily, office furniture designers have taken note of the plight of the outlet-short worker. At the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago earlier this month, manufacturers showcased products that better integrate new technology.

And creating these new pieces isn’t as straightforward as sticking an outlet onto a desk, said a spokesperson for Haworth Office Furniture.

“You’ve got to take that furniture — that has a really long life — and marry that to technology, which has a real short life,” she said.

Rather then developing revolutionary new furniture, designers are tweaking existing pieces to accommodate the changing technology. For instance, Herman Miller’s Flo computer monitor arm can now hold a tablet computer as well. And with the focus on collaborative workspaces, Herman Miller has designed pieces in its Canvas collection to include flat screens where users can pull up their laptop screen. recently featured some high-tech desk designs – including several that had computers integrated into the workspace.

Check out some of the new ideas for high-tech office furniture. While many pieces just offer a spot for workers to recharge a device, others are super-integrated conceptual workstations that might make you feel like Captain Kirk on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Thinking beyond the basic workstation, this office furniture maker is now including plug-ins in a whole line of furniture including tables, chairs, couches and ottomans. Now you really can ditch the desk and kick your feet up in a comfier locale.

Flatmate Secretary

Designed by Michael Hilgers for Magazin, this uber-compact desk offers a streamlined space to stow all of your gadgets (including a shelf specifically designed for your iPad) and includes glare-free lighting and power sockets. The murphy bed of desks is just 5 inches deep (when folded out the work surface is 28-by-16.5 inches) so it’s probably cozier than your cube.

MWE Emperor 1510

This scorpion-shaped contraption is not just a desk – it’s an ergonomically-friendly work environment that allows you “to experience unprecedented comfort and quasi total immersion” in your computer for increased productivity. While we’re not sure what “quasi total” means, we’re digging the integrated audio system, LED lighting, floating monitors and the fact that we’re pretty sure we could take over the world with this thing.



Created by a 30-year-old Dutch man, this all-in-one desk features a Core i7 processor and 4.5 GHz and a water-cooling system with 17 ventilators to monitor the temperature. We’re sure it’s perfectly suited for whatever job you need to get done. Plus, it will look really cool at the next rave you throw in your office.



This 40-inch, high-def work surface looks kind of like a tablet on steroids. Your computer monitor sits behind this multi-touch screen surface, which gets us one step closer to the vision of interactive computing we saw in “Minority Report.” Sorry, Tom Cruise not included.



Similar to the EXOdesk but for the Apple enthusiast, the iDesk features the Mac operating system on a large touchscreen surface that can be synchronized to your computer using iCloud. The iDesk can run multiple applications simultaneously and can help you streamline basic functions (say updating your calendar, making a phone call, or writing a digital post-it note) on to one space. In short, you no longer have an excuse for that mess.