A cubicle, office desk or office box is a partially closed workspace, separated from adjacent working areas by partitions that are usually 150 to 180 inches high.
The purpose of a cubicle is to isolate employees from the places and the noises of an open space, in theory, this allows workers to increase their privacy level and helps them concentrate without distraction. Horizontal planks and shelves are suspended from the cubicle partitions.
Cubicles are often seen as a symbol of the human condition of working in a modern office between efficiency and privacy.
The term cubicle comes from the Latin cubiculum or bedroom. It has been used in English already in the 15th century. And eventually, it came to be used for small rooms of all kinds, and for small rooms or studio spaces with partitions that did not reach the ceiling.
Like the “Carrel” desk a cubicle tries to give a certain degree of privacy to the user through a minimal space in a large or medium size environment.
Like the modular desk of the 20th century, it consists of modular elements that can be arranged in various ways with standard hardware or custom fixing elements, depending on the design. Installation is generally performed by professionals, although some cabins allow for configuration changes that can be performed by users without specific training. The cubicles are configurable, allowing you to use a wide variety of items, such as worktops, storage cases, drawers, to be installed depending on your needs.
Some sources attribute the introduction of the cubicle desk to Intel Inc. in the 1960s. Its creation is generally attributed to Giovanni Shiflett, a Colorado designer (USA) who worked for Herman Miller Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of office furniture. It was based on a 1965 prototype and consists of modular units with an open plan. It was a highly innovative system for the era.
In America, an office full of cabs is sometimes called a “cube farm”. Although humorous, the phrase usually has a negative connotation. “Cube farms” are often found in high-tech companies, but they also appear in the insurance industry and other service fields. Many “cube companies” have been defeated during the dotcom boom.
From a positive point of view, the cubicle workstation offers user customization options that are not comparable to desktops, past or present.
The cubicle workstation is able to transform all the walls surrounding the user into productive work plans, or personal expression angles. The walls are on hand, and offer holes and hooks for hanging shelves, banners or other accessories (elements that were once placed only on the horizontal surface of the worktop).
Although cubicle desk makers usually use proprietary standards for their fasteners and attachable accessories, this has not stopped small desks manufacturers that can fit the cubicle walls of the most famous brands.
It is also possible to create an office box environment combining desks with particular types of self-supporting lightweight partitions. This type of solution was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s in Germany and Great Britain.