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Coordinated system for activity isolation

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US3418765A
US3418765A US57240266A US3418765A US 3418765 A US3418765 A US 3418765A US 57240266 A US57240266 A US 57240266A US 3418765 A US3418765 A US 3418765A
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Prior art keywords
activity
work
panels
panel
unit
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Robert L Propst
Ronald H Beckman
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Herman Miller Inc
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Herman Miller Inc
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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B2/00Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls
    • E04B2/74Removable non-load-bearing partitions; Partitions with a free upper edge modular coordination
    • E04B2/7401Removable non-load-bearing partitions; Partitions with a free upper edge modular coordination assembled using panels without a frame or supporting posts, with or without upper or lower edge locating rails
    • E04B2/7405Removable non-load-bearing partitions; Partitions with a free upper edge modular coordination assembled using panels without a frame or supporting posts, with or without upper or lower edge locating rails with free upper edge, e.g. for use as office space dividers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B83/00Combinations comprising two or more pieces of furniture of different kinds
    • A47B83/001Office desks or work-stations combined with other pieces of furniture, e.g. work space management systems
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47BTABLES; DESKS; OFFICE FURNITURE; CABINETS; DRAWERS; GENERAL DETAILS OF FURNITURE
    • A47B2200/00General construction of tables or desks
    • A47B2200/01Office wall with desktop function

Description

Dec. 31, 1968 P P -r ET AL 3,418,765

COORDINATED SYSTEM FOR ACTIVITY ISOLATION INVENTORS 505W 1. Pea/297 eat/Aw A 556.6%?

ATTOEA/ZV'J COORDINATED SYSTEM FOR ACTIVITY ISOLATION Filed Aug. 15. 1966 Sheet 2 of 4 1 I INVENTORB 305 3 05537 1. Pea/5r 4s za/ww A. Bide/v4 Dec. 31, 1968 R 1.. PROPST E'I AL 3,418,765

- CQORDINATED SYSTEM FOR ACTIVITY ISOLATION Filed Aug. 15. 1966 Sheet 3 of 4 INVENTORS 2&8587' A. P241967 24/0/4740 A. 495M441 Dec. 31, 1968 R. L. PROPST ET AL 3,418,765

COORDINATED SYSTEM FOR ACTIVITY ISOLATION Filed Aug. 15. 1966 Sheet 4 of 4 )U/ ml INVENTOR 05527 1. Beeps? 504/410 .44 555444441 /Q ,JZ

United States Patent 0 3,418,765 COORDINATED SYSTEM FOR ACTIVITY ISOLATION Robert L. Propst, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Ronald H. Beckman, New Canaan, Conn., assignors to Herman Miiler, Inc., Zeeland, Mich., a corporation of Michigan Filed Aug. 15, 1966, Ser. No. 572,402 2 Claims. (Cl. 5236) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention is directed to a space dividing panel system in which groups of panels are arranged in geometric patterns to form several semi'enclosed work areas related to one another in that certain of the panels are common to work areas. Other characteristics of the invention are that the panel groups are self-supporting, stable units capable of movement from one area to another and entirely support free from the floor, all of the furniture or work surfaces for each work area.

This invention relates to the furnishing of a work area to adapt the area to simultaneous multi-purpose uses and, at the same time, to provide a flexible furnishing system capable of rapid changeover from the requirements of one particular use to the requirements of another type of use.

It has long been conventional to erect permanent or semi-permanent space divider walls and then to furnish each individual work area created by these walls with furniture. This furniture has been of the conventional type, entirely, or substantially entirely independent of the walls.

Such arrangements were at least tolerable under circumstances in which the requirements of the activities performed within the work spaces remained relatively static over long periods of time. However, under modern conditions this is not true, and such systems have proved to be wholly inadequate and the source of both inconvenience and excessive cost. Such equipment, both the space separation means and the furnishings, are often used long after they have attained functional obsolescence because of the cost of reorganization and replacement necessary to restore function utility.

Because the concept of what is considered an appropriate working environment for a particular activity is changing rapidly, the tools used in a particular activity are changing from year to year, and the fundamentals of the activities themselves are changing, it is necessary that the concepts of furnishings and of the means of creating and defining the work areas be capable of rapid changeover from one arrangement to another.

The concept of using built-in or semi-built-in space dividing systems and of conventional furniture immediately creates a problem when a change is to be made. The cost and time requirements of changing the space divider systems is often so great that necessary and desirable changes frequently are not made. Furniture of the conventional type is static in design, often usable only for a single use. When not in use it is bulky and requires substantial storage space. To overcome this, some space utilization engineers have adapted the practice of providing large open areas with the various uses being grouped together in various portions of the open area. This is what might be termed a bull pen type of operation. This is unsatisfactory because of conflict between the various activities within the overall area. Such conflicts arise from noise and the nature of the activities. Also, many modern activities use specialized equipment not adapted to use in this type of operating environment such as television, projection screens, audio instruction and other types of audio monitoring or recording. Such equipment, in many instances, requires semi-private work areas and work surfaces or supports particularly adapted to the specific use to which they are going to be put.

This invention provides a solution to these problems by detachably joining together a plurality of panels to form cluster-like arrangements with the panels serving on both sides as the visual and audio barriers between small semiprivate work spaces. The arrangement of the panels is such that each group or cluster of panels constitutes a free-standing self-supporting stable unit which may be moved to a new area of the room. The panels not only subdivide the area but also provide the means upon which the work surfaces or supports are mounted. Thus, the work supports and surfaces are movable with the panels, or may be arranged anywhere within each of the work spaces as required to adapt the work spaces to the demands of different types of activities. The work supports, while supported by the panels, are wholly independent of them in the sense that work supports of a wide variety of types and designs are completely interchangeable and may be installed for use with any panel.

It is also an important facet of this invention that the panels are adapted to quick and simplified rearrangement from one pattern of organization to another. This permits the activity areas to be quickly changed over in size, shape, organization and arrangement of their service furnishings to adapt the equipment precisely to new requirements as the usages of the space change from time to time.

These and other objects and purposes of this invention will be understood by those acquainted with the problem of furnishing institutional and commercial activity areas upon reading the following specification and the accompanying drawings.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is an oblique view of a subdivided work area utilizing the concepts of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic showing of a basic module utilized in the practice of this invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic showing of the module of FIG. 2 organized into a unit;

FIG. 4 is a schematic showing of the unit of FIG. 3 equipped with work surfaces;

FIG. 5 is a schematic showing of a work unit organization composed of several of the modules of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a schematic showing of the subdivision of an area effected by the joining together of a plurality of the work unit organizations illustrated in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of a modified work unit organization consisting of modules of the same basic types as illustrated in FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is a schematic showing of a still further modified work unit organization incorporating the principles of this invention;

FIG. 9 is a schematic showing of an additional modification of the work unit organization shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 10 is a schematic showing of a further modification employing the modules of FIG. 2 joined together to form another type of work unit organization;

FIG. 11 is a schematic illustration of a cluster of the work unit organization of FIG. 10 arranged in a specific co-ordinated pattern;

FIG. 12 is a schematic oblique view of a basic work unit illustrating the vertical relationship betwen the floor, panels and illustrative modular furnishings for the work areas;

FIG. 13 is a schematic showing of a different type of modular work unit arranged in a circular pattern of relatively small radiuses;

FIG. 14 is a schematic showing of adifferent pattern arrangement for the work units illustrated in FIG. 13.

In executing the objects and purposes of this invention, a pair of panels are rigidly joined together along one vertical edge. Such a pair of panels forms a module or group. The modules or groups may be arranged in a pattern in which they are spaced from each other but interrelated for functional cooperation. Alternately, additional panels may be joined either to the free ends of these panels or to the apex where the first two panels are connected to form patterns characterized by the fact that the panels separate Work activity areas, one from another, with the activity areas being created on each side of the panels.

Each module provides two walls of an activity area or zone, thus giving the activity area or zone at least limited privacy. At least one of these walls provides one wall of another activity area isolated from the first activity area. As more panels are added, more activity areas are created, each isolated and defined apart from each adjacent activity area. The walls created by these panels mount and support all of the service units or work surfaces which are to be utilized within each activity area. The combination of the panels and work surface units which are mounted on them together form a stable, free standing and movable work unit which is complete within itself. Numerous patterns and arrangements may be made with the panels to form activity areas of different shapes and sizes all utilizing the same modular service furnishings (work surfaces, supports or storage facilities) with the furnishings being freely interchangeable from one work or activity area to another and the panels being quickly detachable one from another for reorganization into a different pattern to produce a different type of activity area.

Referring specifically to FIG. 1, the numeral indicates an enclosure having a large, open or unobstructed area bounded by walls 11 and having a floor 12. This area can be the result either of new construction or an existing facility from which the conventional panels or built-in walls have been removed to create a large, common open area. The space within this common area is subdivided by work units 13 and 14 and by clusters of work units 15, 16 and 17. It will be noted that the panel arrangement and organizational pattern of the work units and clusters of work units are different, providing activity zones or areas or spaces of different sizes and shapes and degrees of privacy. They also are adaptable to different internal arrangements of the work platforms or surfaces and other furnishings, thus making them suitable for different types of operating equipment as required for jobs having different environmental demands. It will be noted that in each of the activity spaces all of the work furnishings or facilities are hung upon the work units and, thus, the work units form the sole supporting structure resting upon the floor. These work facilities can be of many different types such as the audio visual unit 20 in work space 16a, the storage unit 21 and the work surface or writing platform 22 in work space 1612. These are but exemplary of the widely varying arrangements which may be made with this invention and such work furnishings are shown in only a few of the activity spaces.

FIG. 2 illustrates a basic module consisting of a pair of panels 31 and 32 detachably joined along one vertical edge with their planes intersecting at an angle to form a semi-enclosed activity area or space 33 and parts of non-enclosed activity areas 34 and 34a. FIG. 3 shows a work facility or unit 38 made up of three panels; a panel 31, a panel 32, and a panel 35, joined together at a common point 37. In the case of both FIGS. 2 and 3, the panels of the work facilities are joined by means which permit the panels to be quickly and easily detached but, when joined, the panels are rigidly locked together to form a single structural unit. The specific structure by which the panels are thus locked together is not illustrated or described in this specificationsince it is not part of this invention. However, reference is made to co-pending patent application Ser. No. 526,146 filed Feb. 9, 1966, entitled Space Divider, assigned to the same assignee as this application. Co-pending application Ser. No. 526,146 describes and claims one form of panel joint particularly suitable for connecting the panels of this invention.

In effect, the work facility or unit 36 made up of the panels 31, 32 and 35, constitutes a pair of the basic panel groups 30 arranged with one panel of each group common to the other group. For example, panels 32 and 31 can be considered one group. Panels 35 and 31 can be considered a second group. The resulting work unit consists of the first and second groups combined with panel 31 serving as a panel common to both groups. In the same manner, panels 32 and 35 can be considered a group, and panels 31 and 35 can be considered a second group. In this case the panel 35 is common to both groups.

It will be noted that in the module 30 the center of gravity, indicated by the numeral 36, is located in the partially enclosed activity area 33. In the work unit constituting a pair of the groups as arranged in FIG. 3, the center of gravity is at the center 37 of the work unit. In both cases the resulting unit is stable and free-standing and need not be attached to a floor or the ceiling, since the center of gravity is well within the silhouette of the unit. While it is not necessary for the purpose of this invention, in some of the configurations which will be described hereinafter, in particular, the configuration illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4, the planes of the panels are arranged at angles. Thus, in FIG. 3 the semienclosed work spaces 33, 33a and 33b are identical in size and shape.

FIG. 4 illustrates the work unit 38 of FIG. 3 with an exemplary group of modular furnishings or work surfaces attached such as the desk surfaces 40, the auxiliary table surfaces 41 and the elevated storage unit 42. The latter is mounted against its associated panel substantially above the desk surface 49.

FIG. 5 illustrates apair of work units 38 joined together, with one panel 49 common to each of the work units. The pair of work units as joined form a cluster 50. The cluster 50 might also be conceptually described as a combination of one of the work units 38 and one of the basic modules 30. The cluster creates four activity areas 51, 51a, 51b and 510, each having privacy from the other and each permitting the installation of at least two modular activity or service furnishings.

FIG. 6 illustrates a substantially larger cluster consisting of a large number of modules joined together. For example, the particular cluster illustrated in FIG. 6 consists of modules 30 and 30a through 30d joined together with the edge of one panel of each module secured to the apex of an adjacent module. The additional modules 30m through 300 illustrate how additional modules may be secured to establish a branch cluster. This arrangement produces the activity spaces 51d through 51;- along the main cluster and activity spaces 51s through 51v along the branch cluster. Except for activity spaces 51k and 51v, which are partially open to each other, all of the activity spaces are so arranged that each has privacy with respect to each adjacent activity space. Also, the activity spaces are of different sizes and shapes. For example, the activity spaces 51d, 51r and 51v are alike. The activity spaces 51c, f, g, h, i, k, l, 0 and p are similar. Activity spaces 51e, m, g, t and u are similar and activity spaces j and n are similar. Activity spaces 51s is dissimilar from all the other activity spaces.

The resulting activity space arrangement and variety is most important. Studies of the environmental effect upon efficiency norms indicate that the particular environmental conditions produced through the practice of this invention contribute materially to the work efiiciency of personnel. Privacy not only reduces interruptions, but it also permits greater concentration on the part of personnel. It largely eliminates distractions which have a tendency to produce chain reactions among personnel forced to perform in a non-private environment, such as is sometimes called a bull pen operation.

The variety of sizes and activity area shapes produced by the cluster 52 illustrated in FIG. 6 permits the cluster to provide activity spaces adapted in size and arrangement to a wide variety of space and environmental demands, yet without conflict between the activities conducted in one with the activities conducted in adjacent spaces. Should it be considered that the length of the cluster 52 is such that it unnecessarily limits accessibility between the ofiices on opposite sides of the cluster, a door or passageway may be created at 53 between the activity spaces 51 and 51s and these activity spaces used for communal activity servicing the other activity spaces, such as library or file storage areas. This can also be accomplished by eliminating the panel 54 which separates the activity spaces 51 and 51s.

Since any individual panel or any group of panels may be detached and removed at any time, without removal or disturbance of the functions of any adjacent panel, it is possible to modify the cluster by lengthening it, shortening it, or rearranging the direction of its primary axis. This can be accomplished quickly, by unskilled personnel using only basic tools. All such panels and modular furnishings can be reused. This permits the cluster to be rapidly modified to eliminate any unforeseen deficiencies which may exist in the arrangement as originally installed. It also permits the cluster ararngement to be adapted to changes in the character and requirements of the activities performed in the spaces.

FIG. 7 illustrates a different concept in basic module arrangement. In this concept, the basic modules p through 30s are arranged in a symmetrical pattern, forming an island 55 having a central, square enclosure 56 surrounded by four private activity spaces 57a, 57b, 57c and 57d. Again, the activity spaces are each screened from one another to provide privacy and eliminate interference between the activities of adjacent activity spaces. Each activity space can be individually equipped with modular furnishings individually tailored to the particular activities to be carried on in the space.

The central enclosure may be utilized as a common storage area for activity Work areas accessible through one of the activity areas. Alternately, as is suggested in FIG. 7, the space may be used to house specialized equipment serving each of the activity areas. For example, the schematically illustrated equipment may be a closed circuit television receiver 58 serving activity area 57a, an audio visual information feed-in complex 59 serving activity area 5712, a complex of read-out dials and tapes identified as equipment 60 serving activity area 570 and a group of Oscilloscopes 61 serving activity area 57a. The entire island 55, not being fastened to the floor or ceiling and being a structural unit having independent stability, may be readily moved from one location having the proper connections to service the equipment units 58, 59, 60 and 61 to another location similarly equipped.

FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate the versatility of this arrangement which can be accomplished by slightly modifying the basic activity unit. In the clusters illustrated in these figures, the basic unit 65 is of an unsymmetrical T-shape having a basic panel 66 and a wing panel 67 detachably secured at a right angle thereto and at a point offset to ward one end (FIG. 8). To do this within the concept of complete interchangeability, the basic panel 66 may be made up either of several smaller panels detachably joined together or of two panels, one being a full module in width and the other a standard subdivision of the module such as a half module in width. The wing panel 67 will be detachably joined to the basic panel at a point between two of its subpanels.

To form the cluster 68 illustrated in FIG. 8, three of the basic work units 65 are joined together in side-by-side relationship with each adjacent unit offset from the other. This creates three activity areas 69, 69a and 6912, each screened from the other. The exposed side of the last activity area 6% may be closed by the attachment of an extra, basic panel 66a. Suspended modular furnishings such as the desks 70 may be mounted in each activity area. The activity spaces 69c, 69d and 69e created on the opposite sides of the wing panels 66 may be used for functions requiring less privacy such as mail sorting (space 690), general reference text storage (space 69e) or filing (space 69d).

The cluster illustrated in FIG. 9 follows the same basic concept as the cluster 68. However, by a slight modification, an entirely different result is produced. In this case the wing panel 67 of each basic work or activity unit is not only offset toward one end of the basic panel of that unit, but it is also offset toward the opposite end of the basic panel of the adjacent work unit. This produces a cluster of generally oblique, parallelogram silhouettes with private activity spaces on each side of each wing panel 67. Thus, three work units 65 plus one extra basic panel 66a creates six activity spaces 76, 76a, 76b, 76c, 76d and 762. Each of the activity spaces may be suitably equipped with modular furnishings such as the desk 77, work table 78, elevated storage unit 79 and seating 80 shown in activity space 76.

FIG. 10 illustrates another island arrangement 80 consisting of a pair of basic modules 30 joined with their semi-enclosed activity areas 33 facing each other to create a partailly enclosed, private activity area 81, having the shape of a hexagon with two adjacent sides removed. The activity area 81 may be equipped with suitable modular furnishings 82 and seating 83. Once again, the panels create additional exposed service or activity areas 84, 84a, 84b and 84c, two of which are illustrated as equipped with modular furnishings such as the suspended tables 85. It will be noted that the island 80 provides an activity area 81 identical in character to the type of activity area 51 provided by the cluster 52 (FIG. 6).

FIG. 11 illustrates the grouping of three of the islands 80 in a symmetrical pattern to create three semi-enclosed private activity areas 81 and three non-private but clearly defined and partially screened activity areas 86, 86a and 86b. FIG. 11 also illustrates one of many possible arrangements which could be utilized in the activity areas 86, 86a and 86b by the use of suspended tables 87, a suspended storage unit 88 and suitable seating facilities 89.

FIG. 12 illustrates the suspended nature of the modular furnishings and the interrelationship between the panels and the furnishings. It will be noted that the furnishings are supported by the panels and thus are integrated for complete interchangeability from one work unit arrangement to another. Utilizing FIG. 12 as illustrative, it will be seen that the basic work unit 38 creates the activity areas 33, 33a and 33b. The atcivity area 33:: is equipped with a storage unit 90, a shelf 91, both related to the panel. This activity area also has a desk 92 related to the panel 32. The activity area 33b has a narrow desk 93 related to the panel 32 and a storage unit and a narrow work table 94. All of these units are suspended from the work unit 38 by means of the same structure used to connect the panels as is set out in detail in United States patent application Ser. No. 526,146 filed Feb. 9, 1966, entitled Space Divider. It will be recognized that some of the units, such as the tables and desks, may be provided with auxiliary supports such as the U-shaped leg 95. This leg is integrated with the panel by being detachably secured to it as is shown in United States patent application Ser. No. 484,389, filed Sept. 1, 1965, entitled Space Divider System. Further illustration or description of the details relating to the support and attachment of the modular furnishings is not considered necessary since they are auxiliary to this invention and are fully described and illustrated in the applications to which reference is made above.

FIG. 1 illustrates how the various types of basic units, clusters, islands and island groupings may be utilized in a basically obstruction-free enclosed area to provide a wide variety of activity areas of significantly difficult character, arrangement and functional interrelationship. At the same time, it is obvious that the activity area subdivision of any part or all of the enclosure may be quickly, easily and inexpensively rearranged to accommodate different activity environmental needs.

FIG. 13 illustrates an arrangement where it is desirable to organize the work units around a central unit 100 which services all of the work untis collectively. Examples of such a central unit might be a rotating card or index file or central communications complex. The work units 101 of this arrangement each consist of a pair of panels 102 and 103 joined together at one edge at a right angle to each other. The work units 101 are equally spaced in a circular pattern around the central unit 100.

In this arrangement, the panels 103 are each in a plane which is almost tangent to the edge of the central unit. Each of the panels 102 mounts a table, desk or similar work surface or furnishing 104 which extends into the space enclosed between the panels. Each of the panels 103 mounts a similar work surface 105 which, as illustrated, may be somewhat larger. The work surface 105 is mounted against the back surface of the panel 103. That is, it is on the outside of the work unit rather than projecting into it. The work surface 105 and its associated panel 103 of one work unit, together with an adjacent work unit, create a somewhat triangular activity area 106 having both exterior access and access to the central unit 100. The activity area 106 may be equipped with suitable seating 107 with relation to which both the work surfaces 104 and 105 are reaidly accessible. Despite the openness of the unit, it will be seen that each activity area 106 has a significant degree of privacy and particularly is it closed off from the activity areas 106 immediately adjacent to it.

FIG. 14 illustrates the work units 101 arranged along the arc of a circle of substantial radius. In this arrangement each activity area 108 is defined by the enclosed area formed by one work unit, and the outer or back face of the panel 103 of an adjacent work unit. Access to each activity area is only from the exterior because the passage between adjacent work units is closed by the barrier formed by the work surfaces 104 and 105 of adjacent work units. Once again, substantial privacy is achieved with minimum structure. Also, each activity area can be equipped with adequate work surfaces or other suitable, modular service furnishings.

The height of the panels used in the exploitation of this invention is not particularly important except that they should at least provide a complete visual barrier between adjacent activity areas when the person operating in the area is in normal operating position. This could be seated, standing, or some inbetween posture. A preferable height for the panels is that of a standard door-- 6'8". This leaves sufficient ceiling clearance to permit transportation of the work units from one location to another without interference from the ceiling and standard lighting fixtures. It also permits adequate ventilation and the use of group lighting from the ceiling to provide overall general illumination. Similarly, the panels may be fabricated of any suitable. material, such as wood, metal, plastics or various combinations of these materials.

The preceding description has described in detail the concept of organizing a given area into semi-private activity areas by means of portable walls which may be readily rearranged to meet different environmental and activity needs. It will be understood that the arrangements specifically described an dillustrated are not exhaustive of the potential of this invention and that other arrangements of the modular or basic units may be made. Such modifications as incorporate the principles of this invention are to be considered as included in the hereinafter appended claims, unless these claims, by their language, specifically state otherwise.

We claim:

1. Means for furnishing and simultaneously defining individual activity zones within an otherwise open area, said means comprising: a free-standing work surface support having simultaneous capabilities, as an activity zone definition system, said support having a plurality of panels and interconnecting means to lock each of said panels rigidly and detachably to at least one adjacent panel; said panels being arranged in groups with the plane of one panel of each group intersecting at an angle the plane of another panel of the same group, with the panels at least partially defining a pair of activity zones, one adjacent one face of one panel and another adjacent an opposite face of the other panel; one of said activity zones being between and partially enclosed by said panels; the angular relationship of two joined adjacent panels being such that the resulting panel group is a self-supporting, stable structure; said means having at least two of said panel groups joined together, with one panel of each group being common to both groups and the other activity zone defined by each group being separated by one of said panels from the one activity zone defined by each of said groups; means on each of said groups for mounting activity facilities against each face of each of said panels with the activity facilities wholly supported by the panels; said panel groups being arranged to form a unit having the shape of four sides of a hexagon with two of the panels being parallel and two of the panels being non-parallel; said other activity zones being adjacent said two nonparallel panels and facing away from both said one activity zone and from each other; said non-parallel walls forming a continuous, sinuous partition extending lengthwise along the center of said work surface support and each serving two activity zones 2. Means for furnishing and simultaneously defining individual activity zones within an otherwise open area, said means comprising: a free-standing work surface support having simultaneous capabilities, as an activity zone definition system, said support having a plurality of panels and interconnecting means to lock each of said panels rigidly and detachably to at least one adjacent panel; said panels being arranged in groups with the plane of one panel of each group intersecting at an angle the plane of another panel of the same group, with the panels at least partially defining a pair of activity zones, one adjacent another face of one panel and one adjacent an opposite face of the other panel; one of said activity zones being between and partially enclosed by said panels; the angular relationship of two joined adjacent panels being such that the resulting panel group is a self-supporting, stable structure; said means having at least two of said panel groups joined together, with one panel of each group being common to both groups and the other activity zone defined by each group being separated by one of said panels from the one activity zone defined by each of said groups; means on each of said groups for mounting activity facilities against each face of each of said panels with the activity facilities wholly supported by the panels; said panel groups being arranged to for-m a unit having the shape of four sides of a hexagon with two of the panels being parallel and two of the panels being nonparallel; said other activity zones being adjacent said two non-parallel panels and facing away from both said one activity zone and from each other; three of said units being equally spaced about a common center with each non-parallel panel of each unit facing and parallel to a non-parallel panel of one of the other units for providing three activity areas between said units each adapted to be served by work surfaces mounted to two of said units.

References Cited UNITED FOREIGN PATENTS France.

1 0 864,490 1/ 1941 France.

282,322 12/ 1927 Great Britain. 865,800 2/ 1953 Germany. 6,403,628 10/ 1965 Netherlands.

5 OTHER REFERENCES Product News: Architectural Forum 52/36, p. 214, July 1951.

Architectural Record: 52/239, p. 49, February 1941.

10 FRANK L. ABBOTT, Primary Examiner.

C. G. MUELLER, Assistant Examiner.

US. Cl. X.R. 15 52-239, 272

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US20040060253A1 (en) * 2002-09-30 2004-04-01 Elsing Robert J. Latch-type tile mounting system
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EP2787136A3 (en) * 2013-04-01 2016-03-09 Stanley Shao-Ying Lee Intergrated dialysis unit module and module compartment structure
USD764841S1 (en) * 2013-10-15 2016-08-30 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Display booth
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US6427389B1 (en) * 1997-03-13 2002-08-06 Steelcase Development Corporation Workspace display
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US6116326A (en) * 1998-11-20 2000-09-12 Steelcase Development Inc. Mobile screen
US20050284097A1 (en) * 2001-09-18 2005-12-29 Outdoor Merchandising Solutions, Llc System and method for localizing a zone
US20040060253A1 (en) * 2002-09-30 2004-04-01 Elsing Robert J. Latch-type tile mounting system
US7178300B2 (en) 2002-09-30 2007-02-20 Krueger International, Inc. Latch-type tile mounting system
US20080038709A1 (en) * 2006-04-25 2008-02-14 Kowalski Joseph C Apparatus for demonstrating coatings application techniques
USD740573S1 (en) * 2012-10-23 2015-10-13 Vitra Patente Ag Set of elements for office cabins and room dividers
USD733323S1 (en) * 2012-12-13 2015-06-30 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Display booth
EP2787136A3 (en) * 2013-04-01 2016-03-09 Stanley Shao-Ying Lee Intergrated dialysis unit module and module compartment structure
USD764841S1 (en) * 2013-10-15 2016-08-30 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Display booth
USD734627S1 (en) * 2013-10-24 2015-07-21 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Display booth
USD803464S1 (en) 2016-05-11 2017-11-21 Peter Stathis Lighting fixture

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