Meet the Winners: Team TWO – Work From Home Space

Meet Julie Wu, Yunzhi Ou, and Austin Tsai: three University of Michigan Alumni (Team TWO) WFH Space category winners with their innovative ‘Olli’ submission. 

Julie Wu, Architect 

Yunzhi Ou, Project Designer

Austin Tsai, Project Designer

To celebrate their win, we asked Team TWO a few questions about their work and the competition.

WDM: Since the pandemic what have you been up to / what are you working on? (approx. 100 words or less)

Julie: Baking sourdoughs, learning how to surf, and reflecting on how I can contribute to the AEC industry through Olli. The pandemic has certainly challenged me to re-evaluate my career path and reconsider how I can keep on enriching my skillset. I might have grown a few more strands of white hair since….

Yunzhi: Designing, writing music for independent films, working out with Team TWO, thinking about science fiction and sustainability.

Austin: I’ve learned how to cut my own hair.

WDM: What did you enjoy most about the competition process?

Julie: Collaborative problem-solving, working towards a shared vision with a team.

Yunzhi: Pushing concepts and boundaries with rigor with my team.

Austin: Designing at a more intimate scale.

WDM: It’s been a little while since you submitted, how have your ideas evolved since you submitted them? (approx 225 words or less)

Julie: The question of funding comes to mind. Throughout the design process for Olli, we frequently revisited factors of functionality, form, and constructability. What we sought out for is feasibility as a product – our sentiments towards making Olli a reality have not changed. One area that I have been picking at is the Immersive App Integration, our programming component. I am interested to develop it further, using it as a testing ground to navigate the Next Virtual Work Environment. Because of that, I have decided to step into software engineering to better understand what is possible. Olli became a highly personal project for me and my team, as it represents an amalgam of our shared experiences of working from home and individual impact from COVID. We are very excited to share our creation and appreciate everyone’s support along the way. As our next step, we would love to make an Olli prototype!

Yunzhi: Having Olli in the back of my head, I sometimes imagine its use, with its flexible configurations, in scenarios other than working from home. Perhaps we can take it to a retreat!

Check out their full submission:

In response to SIP, Working From Home has quickly become a new reality for many workers. The introduction of the work environment into personal settings calls for a flexible arrangement that can adapt to various living conditions. The optimal solution would allow the user to balance his or her personal and professional lives from home.

Meet Olli: your mobile, expandable, all-in-one workspace. Olli is a modular ensemble of four unique quadrants, designed to accommodate different users. Each quadrant is detailed for a particular function – visual, audio, seating, working surface – that can mix-and-match to suit the user’s productivity needs. Olli arrives at home folded in a compact delivery package and once inflated, it stands quietly and confidently, fitting into multiple home scenarios. The user will come to find Olli thoughtful and attentive, as it provides a fun and customizable work environment to support the social distancing days ahead and beyond.

View the full submission below. Click on an image to see it full size.

Comments from the jury:

This is a lovely and very whimsical proposal that really sought to address a lot of the cited concerns and considerations for working from home. I really loved how flexible and adaptable the Olli concept was and especially loved seeing all of the different renderings of the desk configured in different ways. I liked the fact that two desks could be one desk that could become two desks or two desks could be three desks.

I like the modularity of the concept. I thought that the ability to kind of get an immersive space and to block out some of the chaos around you I think is helpful. It was very well thought out especially down to the inflatable sections.

A special thank you to our sponsors: 

Adapting the Open Workplace: Safe and Separate with a higher level of acoustic comfort.
The first and only disinfectable fabric approved by the EPA
Crafting the Now, Near, & Next.


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