A pandemic, a walk along the river’s edge and a background in architectural design has led to a low-impact remote work concept that offers privacy with a view of stunning natural surroundings.
Called Enclaves on Vistula River, these floating pods are the brainchild of Agnieszka Białek, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, Poland. The idea is the result of an event like no other in our lifetime — a pandemic that resulted in lockdowns and dramatic increase in isolated, work-from-home situations. During a stroll along the Vistula River, Białek envisioned floating co-working spaces that could exist with no footprint on the land. The innovative design places the pods far enough from shore that a kayak is required to access the offices, effectively eliminating interruptions from anyone who may want to pop into your work zone. The location offers Wawel Castle as the backdrop, a symbolic structure in the historic city. The enclaves contrast dramatically in design with soft, curved edges and a contemporary look.
By placing the pods on the river, there are no utility requirements nor degradation of soil. The inspiration for the concept came from bubbles on the river. The natural foam creates floating, geometric shapes that grew into a larger version for the project. Białek also found inspiration in lily pads in the way that they float on the surface of water yet are anchored below.
Structurally, the pods are connected to the river bed and attached to one another in any number of modular design options. The structures could be 3D-printed within just a few days using waterproof and recycled or recyclable materials. Inside the enclaves, built-in furnishings create versatile spaces that can accommodate a variety of work styles. The location and schedule would allow for active work times, day or night. The plan is for the spaces to be rented by the hour as an opportunity to host Zoom meetings or simply escape the challenges of working from home.
The designer explained on her company’s website, Monolight Studio, “It is still difficult to define the changes that [COVID-19] will make in architecture in the long run. We know for sure that we are facing a new reality. Remote work has become the norm for most companies and will continue for a long time to come. Consequently, employees will be able to choose the time and form of work. To a large extent, we will notice fatigue with the home space. We will gladly move the work zone from home to another place. The concept makes working remotely possible, becomes a comfortable place for online meetings, or relaxing in the new reality of reduced touch.”
Images via Monolight Studio