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This Nordic city set up workstations in nature – free for everyone to use

Feeling bored due to the dullness of remote work? Take your laptop and march into the forest to work in a calm, peaceful environment! This is now possible in Finland – the city of Lahti wanted to encourage its residents to enjoy the calming effect of nature and therefore set up remote workstations in the city’s nature sites free for everyone to use. The Viita-workstations have been made in collaboration by creative agency TBWA\Helsinki and Finnish design company Upwood.

The Viita-workstations are a part of Lahti’s year as European Green Capital 2021, and the campaign highlights the future of remote work and changing needs of workers by using Nordic design. Residents and tourists can use the workstations for free in five different locations around the city’s nature sites. Lahti also shares the design for open use and encourages other cities to set up their own workstations.

‘The ordinary workday looks very different compared to what it was a couple years ago, and remote work is here to stay. Many have also found themselves in nature more often in between meetings and have awakened to the importance of being close to nature. The new workstations make it possible to work remotely, while enjoying the calming effects of nature,’ says Saara Piispanen, Head of Communications from Lahti – European Green Capital 2021.

Finnish design expertise and nature meet in Viita-workstations in a unique way. The concept of remote workstations in forest was developed by a team of students from the LAB Institute of Design and Fine Arts, and the Viita-workstations are designed in the Innovation Lab of TBWA\Helsinki. The workstations are made of Finnish spruce by a Lahti-based carpenter from design company Upwood.

‘The designing process started by thinking about the shapes, textures and elements that can be found in nature. They combine the roundness of trees and breathing nature, helping the workstations to blend into surrounding nature. The design of the workstations guarantees a sense of privacy, but also a connection with the surrounding nature, while working,’ says Umberto Onza, an industrial designer from TBWA Helsinki, who led the designing process.

Locality is reflected in both the design and execution of the Viita workstations

Nature was strongly present throughout the design process of the Viita workstations. The design reflects ecology, locality and functionality. The workstations are unique in terms of usability, and differ from traditional camping tables due to their functions that are specifically designed for remote working. They include a telephone and a cup holder, an area for one’s laptop, a place to put one’s pens and a possibility to hang a bag or purse.

Viita workstations are made of Finnish spruce, which is durable material for outdoor use. The use of spruce has a long history in Finland, and as a material it represents the Finnish forest at its best. The workstations are attached to trees so that no harm is done to the trees after installation and removal. Viita workstations will be in use for the first time this autumn as a part of the Green Capital Year.

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