This issue of Harvard Design Magazine is about the design of work and the work of design. “No Sweat” challenges designers to speculate on the spaces of work in an accelerated future, and to imagine a world in which a novel ethics of labor can emerge. What scenarios and spaces can we imagine for the next generation of work? How can we anticipate and formulate work environments and experiences that are productive, humane, and ecologically responsible?
From corner office to kitchen sink, from building site to factory floor, from cubicle to car to coffee shop, work shapes our lives and physical world. Whether we produce objects, generate ideas, manage processes, or perform services, work is a hybrid of dedication and alienation, power and oppression. As work spaces morph to integrate machines that mimic, assist, or complement human abilities, the way we perform work, and the way we feel about it, change too.
To work (to put forth effort) and the work (that effort, or the result it generates) are sources of pride and shame, fulfillment and drudgery. As many jobs become obsolete, and as populations are displaced under the pressures of climate change and political turmoil, the boundaries of the workplace are shifting in space and time. Though some claim that a world without work is on the horizon, “labor-saving” innovations are enmeshed with human exploitation, and housework and care work remain at the crux of persistent inequalities.
Paradoxically, the more that work, as we once understood it, appears to be receding, the more omnipresent and ambiguous it becomes. The workplace is everywhere—or is it nowhere?
Table of Contents
Missed Connections in Bogotá, or Domestic Workers’ Commutes
Other Coworkers: Animals in the Workplace
Renewing the Model Factory
Willie Wiredhand: Personal Electrical Assistant
A Small Key, Rotating Along Its Axis
Community and the Disavowed Labor of “Participation”
Expulsion as Liberal Democratic Architecture
Porn, Work, Place: Beyond the (Set) Shop Floor
The Business of Pleasure at the Berrics
Almost a City: The Gaeseong Industrial District
Alone like the Horn of a Rhino: Reproduction, Affective Labor, and the Contemporary Boarding House in South Korea
Labor and Work in Architecture
Planetary Mine as an Archaeology of Labor Futures
The Home at Work: A Genealogy of Housing for the Laboring Classes
The Incorporation of Dissent: Bürolandschaft’s Legacy
The Missing Unions of Architectural Labor
Work as the Struggle against Entropy in the Anthropocene
Worlds without Work: From Homo Ludens to UBI Urbanism
Around the World in Six Coworking Spaces
Labor Utopia Post-Occupation
Recasting Figures: Choreographies of Maintenance
Rereading Studs Terkel’s Working (1972)
“If You Don’t Build Anything, You Don’t Exist”: Cementing the Future of Africatown in Seattle
Editor in Chief
Meghan Ryan Sandberg
Creative Direction & Design
Jiminie Ha & Immanuel Yang
With Projects, Inc.
Eve Blau, Neil Brenner, Toni Griffin, Mark Lee, Jeffrey Schnapp, Abby Spinak
Olivia Casa, Elizabeth Kugler
Michelle Benoit, Gina Ciancone, Linda Just
AS Printon Trükikoda, Tallinn, Estonia