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At Work: The Female Executive, 1983

Table top set for executive dining. Armchairs are upholstered in velvet for a soft touch.

A multi-purpose, two-level space confined to 18 by 24 feet offers flexibility for work, conferencing, client meetings and dining.

Because of an increasing trend toward in-house dining and the decreasing availability of space, the compact, multi-purpose office is a current design challenge. Jack Lowery, former ASID national president, took up this opportunity recently in a special prototype project geared to a creative woman executive.

Working with a typical space of 18 by 24 feet, with one window wall, Lowery bisected the area with a raised platform placed on the diagonal. He thus created a sense of division and an illusion of spaciousness in a room that is equipped for daily desk work and conferences, as well as dining. The office has its own mini-kitchen, which Lowery predicts may well be integral to many executive office design schemes in the future, just as the executive bath is today.

Dining and conferencing are conducted on the raised platform, around a glass-topped table. The meals are served right out of the adjacent mini-kitchen, which is closed off with a pocket door when not in use. Tucked neatly up against the platform, sectional seating forms the informal conference area organized around a glass-topped coffee table on the lower level. For paper work, the executive operates from a sleek, granite-topped table desk, with an elegant buttoned swivel chair.

When there is no architectural character inherent in an interior space, definitions must be created with color and texture. Jack Lowery went all out out to establish femininity in this flexible workspace, using a palette of rosy punks and a counterpoint of slate gray. He recognizes that the female business executive is "different" and not the same as her male counterpart when it come to dress and interior design preferences.

Textures range from the rich, smooth velvet used to upholster the guest chairs, to tactile tweed for seating modules and high-luster steel seen in cylindrical table bases and kitchen detailing. Each element is carefully woven into the overall picture: a neat geometric in rose and white for the carpet, ceramic tiling for the kitchen, even the elegant tableware and crystal for the executive dining table top.

Daylight from the window wall is controlled via thin horizontal blinds, which themselves create a wall of color when pulled all the way down. Finally come the accessories - hand=crafted pillows, an impressive painting and greenery. Lowery adds that he is a great believer in making everyone who comes into a space feel attractive. Warm tones are often the answer for this psychological approach.

Plan of flexible office, which has four areas of activity: daily desk work, informal conferencing, dining-conferencing and kitchen.

Closeup of the food operations center, a fully equipped mini-kitchen that is capable of producing meals, saving the executive time and money when entertaining with help from an outside caterer.

Overview of workspace showing raised platform for dining and conferencing. Kitchen has a pocket door to close it off from the business area.

Designed by Jack Lowery and photographed by Roger Bester. Scanned from Designer' Workplaces by Beverly Russell, 1983.

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