Three Walls


One of the dumbest things you can do is sit in one space and let the world pass you by. — Bob Propst, inventor of the office cubicle.

Three Walls is an excellent short film about the development of the office cubicle.

We learn from designers that “systems furniture” was a purpose-neutral, Lego-like technology. The cubicles we see in offices today are actually an abuse of the concept.

Office bods are asked about their pre-cubicle ambitions. One wanted to be a journalist (“to have shrapnel in my leg”), one a cook (“my mum said I should get a degree before I ruin my life”), one a singer (“to sing all over the world”). Those jobs aren’t even particularly outside the mainstream–you can go to school for them–but the lure of the veal-fattening pen is somehow too great.

The cubicle workers interviewed are disarmingly lovely people. By the end of the film, every cell in your body screams we shouldn’t be putting people in these environments!

There’s also an hilariously sleazy motivational speaker to look out for. He’s the one who keeps saying “box”.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

2 Responses to “Three Walls”

  1. Brenden says:

    This was an interesting film. I work in a cubicle without a window. Sometimes it seems like I go the whole day without the sun. The prospect of a proper office with a window is kind of used as an incentive to work harder and get promoted.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pleasure. Office to office as a motivator though. You just gave me a cold shudder.

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