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Case Studies

Hanna Andersson, Portland, Oregon
Manufacturing: Offices


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Design magazine (United Kingdom) "Best of the Decade" (1980-90) recognition for Ethospace interiors


What's In It For You


Product Story

The original frame-and-tile-system, Ethospace is adept at helping you make an original statement of your own. Dozens of tile options let you define—and redefine—how your workplace looks and performs, while steel frames provide incomparable capacity for power and data and support hang-on storage and worksurfaces. Built for technology, built for change, and built to last, Ethospace gives you a great way to stay ahead.



Offering an array of tiles, components, materials, and finishes, Ethospace gives you nearly unlimited design choices.

Go traditional or contemporary, sophisticated or splashy, understated or out there. Choose from 90-, 120-, and 135-degree planning options to create open environments, private offices, meeting rooms, collaboration zones—every corner of your workplace. Whatever your look, however you work, whoever you need to support, Ethospace gets it done.


Refresh, reconfigure, reimagine—Ethospace stays current no matter how much things change. If you decide to support mobile workers, open things up, change your density, or encourage collaboration, Ethospace can help you make it happen.

Tiles remove in seconds without tools, so it's easy to replace one or shuffle some around. Add a window or marker tile. Swap one fabric for another. Go from metal to veneer. Make changes—even to the point of adding or removing a section of a wall without having to dismantle the sections on the other side.

Return on Investment

Return on Investment

Ethospace becomes a better value with each passing year because updating your look or supporting new ways of working never means starting all over. Every tile and component added over the decades works perfectly well with the earliest Ethospace frames that hit the market in the early 80s—and that will remain true going forward.

Work styles change. Technologies change. Fashions change. Meanwhile, Ethospace keeps evolving—and your original investment keeps paying off.

Tailored for Technology

Power and data capacity is unrivaled—the Ethospace frame accepts dozens of wires and cables at the base and dozens more at every eight inches of frame height. Wires and cables hang on—rather than travel through—frames, so installation is easy. Set up the frames, lay in the cables, put on the tiles, and you're done.

Change is a snap because accessing wires and cables simply requires popping off the tiles. Want to remove a frame to resize a work area? Just connect the remaining frames, snap in power and data, and reattach the tiles. Ethospace even lets you locate receptacles at every eight inches of frame height, so you can plug in wherever you want.

Easy on the Earth

Easy on the Earth

Respect for the environment is integral to the ethos of Ethospace. Evaluated in its entirety, the product line is made up from 56% recycled content and is 79% recyclable at the end of its life. The steel frames at the core of Ethospace are even more recyclable-100%.

Ethospace emits no VOCs, uses only water-based stains, and insists on wood harvested using sustainable forestry practices. GREENGUARD® and level™2 certification provide further assurance that Ethospace is evergreen.

Design Story

Technology drives changes in offices, homes—virtually everywhere these days. In the late 1970s, technological kinds of change were first gearing up. Offices were being invaded by a demanding new tool: the computer. Sensing the waves of innovation that would follow, we asked two product designers to take a look at how workers were interacting with their spaces and how new technology could be accommodated.

Bill Stumpf and Jack Kelley researched office activities and processes and listened to what users said made a productive office environment. They concluded that the offices of the time weren't responding well to either people's needs or the changes affecting them. How could these rapidly changing environments be improved?

Stumpf's goal was to create a positive link between the user and his or her office. He focused on adding architectural interest through product scale, texture, ergonomic characteristics, color, and natural light. Kelley, who invented the first mouse pad, brought expertise in practical product applications. He stressed the need to address the increasing requirements for computers, telecommunication equipment, sophisticated power distribution, and cable management.

This collaborative effort resulted in the 1984 introduction of Ethospace, a new type of systems product. Its basic design was a system "wall" that surpassed industry product standards for both architectural form and practical function. Ethospace's first-of-a-kind frame-and-tile infrastructure adapted to the surrounding space and provided a flexible foundation for thoughtful change.

Since its introduction, Ethospace has been continually enriched with new components and capabilities as evolving business strategies, work processes, and designer needs placed different demands on workplace furnishings.