While the word cubicle may conjure up feelings of disdain and claustrophobia, cramped quarters and uniformity weren’t the intention of this storied office staple.
Some 50 years ago, Herman Miller designers dreamt up the prototype for what eventually became the cubicle we know today. In it’s early stages, these open-plan office systems were designed to encourage movement and adjustability. Oddly enough, they were regarded as flexible and liberating. Over the decades, cubes lost site of the designers’ original aims. Now, roughly 60 percent of Americans use cubicles at work, with varying sizes, shapes, adjustability, and features. Below, we discuss how the cubicle rose to popularity in offices across the nation.