Robert Propst Designer Furniture

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    Robert Propst

    Robert Propst (1921 - 2000) was the inventor of the Action Office that evolved into the cubicle office furniture system.

    Robert Propst

    Robert Propst (1921 - 2000) was the inventor of the Action Office that evolved into the cubicle office furniture system.

    Robert Propst was from Colorado and worked for Herman Miller in Michigan, where he was hired in 1958 by Herman Miller Inc. president Hugh DePree.

    Propst's work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Henry Ford Museum.

    Propst has often been called "Father of the Cubicle", however this is widely considered a misnomer. When Propst designed the Action Office system, "cubicle farms" were not his intent. Propst's own research into developing the action office philosophically was

    against the cubicle in many ways. The Action Office system was designed to promote productivity, privacy, and health (they attempted to increase blood flow) at the expense of some inefficient use of space.

    The efficient "cubicle" became popular in office design because of the movable wall seen in the Action Office II (AO2) system, which initially saved money in construction and development costs. After their introduction into the marketplace, the Action Office II and other office systems were modified to pack in as many employees as possible into an office space. This vision was contrary to Propst's intentions, and he is quoted as saying that "The cubiclizing of people in modern corporations is monolithic insanity".

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