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‘88 Finishing Touches : A Better Workplace Can Come in a Box

At Mega-Erg, a Beverly Hills think tank aimed at creating the office of the future while improving the workplace of the present, founders Lawrence Lerner and Steve Diskin report progress in both areas.

“We’ve issued two more patents on air-purification devices and are negotiating for the licensing of MicroSystem, our hottest product,” said Lerner, an international pioneer in office design. “Our inventory is growing.”

He and Diskin formed Mega-Erg in 1986 after surveying the changing world of office design and finding too many “sick buildings” with unhealthy air and inadequate light, and increasing numbers of white-collar workers suffering muscular dysfunction and eyestrain from sitting at ill-fitting computer workplaces.

Mega-Erg aimed to come to the ergonomic rescue, providing an ivory tower atmosphere where products could be designed directly for the worker-user. They’ve come up with such ideas as a retractable “office tent” to provide privacy over a single work space, and an individualized cable tower to organize the desktop maze of high-tech cables and wires. The two new patents should clear the office air on large and small scales, said Diskin.

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One, a “little desk environment machine,” particularly suited to the “stragglers who still smoke,” can be mounted over a desk or cubicle, leaving the desk top free.

The second, a larger overhead air purifier for a conference room or large open office, is also lightweight. “The typical unit that does this is a hulking box,” Diskin said.

Their new MicroSystem is a “furniture system in a box.” A system of plastic panels can be snapped together and stacked to form file cabinets, shelves, work surfaces and enclosures, Diskin said. “These four items summarize all the structural and spatial needs of an office.”


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