Cubicles are so 20th century. A growing number of people can now work remotely, and want the flexibility to do that wherever they want.
That’s the motivation behind the Greenpod, a futuristic office design concept with walls that can project different surroundings. The idea comes from Neste, an oil refining corporation that produces a renewable diesel fuel from raw materials.
The Greenpod is part of Neste’s “Pre-order the Future” initiative, which envisions five innovative products made from sustainable materials, Neste’s head of communications, Osmo Kammonen, tells Tech Insider. The public and the project’s jury will vote on their favourite concept, and then Neste will work toward making a prototype of the winning one.
Other projects in the series include a classroom where students use a hologram of the earth, and an app that directs users to businesses that only use sustainable fuels and materials.
The Greenpod looks like a transparent egg and would sit in a park or other public space. Anyone could book one to use as an office or meeting space, Kammonen says.
The pod’s walls would be transparent, but you could also choose the scenery shown on them using a remote — a snowy forest or a beach, for example.
The pod would be designed to block out surrounding noise and have speakers that play music or natural sounds to accompany the chosen scenery.
If you remember Marty McFly’s windows in his 2015 home from Back to the Future Part II, the Greenpod’s walls would be a lot like that.
Neste would construct the Greenpod completely from renewable materials. Though Kammonen is not sure exactly what those materials would be yet, he says biodegradable plastics are an option. The pod would fit two to three people and have all the modern conveniences of a normal office, like computers, outlets, and WiFi.
Kammonen says the pods would be available for rent by the hour, but it’s unclear how many people could actually afford to rent one (If the Greenpod wins, the team would then finalise the rate).
The Greenpod may seem ultra-futuristic, but other startups have actually made similar pods. London-based company Archipod sells funky $30,000 office pods for your backyard, called Podzooks. There’s also Nice Architects’ $87,000 Ecocapsule that lets you live and work off-the-grid. Granted, the walls of those other spaces can’t change, but they provide a similarly flexible workplace.
If the Greenpod comes to fruition, people could pick the wall scenery based on the surroundings that allow them to be most productive. Whether you work best in a coffee shop or at the beach, you wouldn’t even need to leave your Greenpod. You’d just switch the scene.