Inanity Incorporated: The Ubiquitous Cube

Cubicles are often seen as being symbolic of the human condition of working in a modern office setting due to their uniformity and blandness.


“Uniformity and blandness” are actually the lesser evils inherent in the cube paradigm. The critical flaw in this model is the impediment it creates to collaboration and community. I’ve posted about how the more open architecture of the in-house studio where I currently work has encouraged the sharing of valuable ideas that have enhanced our designs and the free-flow of critical logistical information that has allowed for the more efficient operation of our group.

It is also conducive to a more communal, supportive and less paranoid culture where co-workers share personal stories, playfully tease each other and develop an appreciation of (and tolerance for) each other’s foibles and humanity. I can’t imagine many creative teams for whom the cube farm is the better choice.

Three important cube etiquette items. Ignore at your own peril!!!

(excerpted from essortment)

Hear no evil

Should you happen to overhear private or confidential conversations, pretend that you never heard it all. More importantly, don’t repeat what you heard to others.

Beware of smells

Don’t wear too much perfume or aftershave: you may think that it smells wonderfully, while your neighbor chokes on it! Keep snacking to a minimum. Would you walk into someone else’s office, pull out a chair and start snacking? Absolutely not! The same principle applies to cubicles. Yes, you are in your side of the room, however, the partition offers very little privacy, so your neighbor will be forced to listen to all the crunchy noises your apple makes, or worse, have the aroma of your fries wafting in her direction while she tries to get some work done.

Be careful of the impression you make

Your cubicle gives your colleagues and people around you an impression of the person you are. Recognize that, and make sure that it does present a good impression. That means that it should be keep tidy and clean, with documents filed in their proper places.

Some Sad Cubicles

(courtesy of Wired)


Perhaps a faux cube window would help brighten these sad cubes. You be the judge…

Where there’s territory, there’s warfare…

Start ’em young…

(appropriated from gizmodo)

It’s all about expectation management, you see. If you make your kid think he can be president, he will grow up disappointed. Tell him he’s headed for a life as an office drone and at least he’ll be mentally prepared.

Let us end on a high note – some creative cubes…

Google cubes:

Beam me up, Scotty:

Pixar’s hutville:

And everybody likes shiny objects:

One thought on “Inanity Incorporated: The Ubiquitous Cube

  1. Cailin

    Really like the Google “cubes.” A creative environment helps spawn creative thinking. I would love if my conservative company would buy into that.

    My department is pretty much set up like the last photo — minus the foil!