Horizontal workers at Biennale Design Saint-Etienne

News | 10 April, 2017

Studio Banana participates at the 10th Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2017, that addresses current shifting work paradigms like the emerging figure of horizontal workers.

Studio Banana at Biennale Design Saint-Etienne

Digital labor, the end of work, horizontal workers or shifting work paradigms are some of the issues discussed at this edition of Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne. The contemporary art and design biennial, long-established in Europe since 1998, takes place from 9 March to 9 April 2017 in the emblematic Cité du Design at Saint-Etienne, France. Studio Banana has been invited to join the conversation with our napping creations OSTRICHPILLOW and Batband, part of the Cut & Care exhibition.

Cut & Care: the horizontal workers

It is unstoppable. It is fast. It is happening. The almighty digital age is here to stay. Working hours are being extended 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In a way, our homes are extensions of the workplace. New information and communication technologies are also generating previously unimagined forms of sedentarisation and “polar inertia”. To the extent that we are even starting to see the emergence of a new figure, the so-called “horizontal worker”.

This new phenomenon is discussed at the Cut & Care exhibition, that maps out the forces and flows to which existing and future “horizontal workers” are and will be exposed. It also depicts how forms of attention and care are born of this new horizontal system of organising values and bodies.

Cut & Care includes examples of horizontal furniture – beds, chaises longues, tatamis, etc. – as well as a selection of tools and accessories designed to “increase” and/or “reduce” the lying down condition of the horizontal worker. This is the case of our OSTRICHPILLOW Original, a napping invention that empowers dreaming and enhances imagination, specially in workspaces.

Audio devices scattered about the exhibition space enable the visitors to cut themselves off from the surrounding space, and at the same time take care of themselves. Our Batband outstands in this context as a sleek piece of hearable technology that allows people to enjoy their own personal sound experience, while interacting with their surroundings.

Design meets shifting work paradigms

“Design is a tool for shaping modernity. Now, as it happens, we are in the process of leaving behind the comfort of modernity for a period of major instability, which will challenge the model of society in which we have built a part of our lives. Work, with its internal contradictions, is symptomatic of this shiftDesign is also changing: it is moving on from illustrating modernity by designing beautiful objects to a service design, a critical design or a social design. The extension of the territories it occupies reveals a design breaking with its fundamentals (objects), but more and more powerful as a tool of social and political development: it was inevitable that work and a changing design would collide.” –  Olivier Peyricot, Scientific Director of the Biennale

In this scenario, the role of design is more relevant than ever. It faces tremendous challenges regarding the present and future of work. It has the power to redirect the focus of attention to workers – that is to say, people that happen to work –. The chance to reshape and invent new ways of working, living and being together are huge and exciting.


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