Action Office 1 (A01)

N° 649 Series
Wood: oil walnut, oil ash
Base: polished aluminum
Tops: laminated plastic with soft vinyl edges

Action Office was the world’s first open-plan office system and resulted from more than three years of research by the Herman Miller Research Corporation under the direction of Robert Propst. Extensive studies on human behavior in the office, environmental influences on productivity, health, and enthusiasm at work, led Propst to propose a furniture system that challenged traditional, hierarchically office organization with an open, less rigidly structured one. Desks of differing heights were to encourage alternation between sitting and standing to promote concentration and creativity and thus increase efficiency. Desks with a closable rolltop would allow unfinished work to simply remain on the desk in the evening, to be resumed the next morning without delay. Shielded and soundproof telephone tables facilitated phoning within the open office. Action Office, whose design stemmed from George Nelson and his office, was awarded the Alcoa Industrial Design Award in 1965.

Produced by Herman Miller from 1964 to 1968.

1960 / 1964–68
Concept: Robert Propst
Design: George Nelson
The elegant appearance of Action Office 1 was the result of a successful combination of polished aluminum, plastic laminate, and wood.
Action Office
George Nelson and Action Office 1. Promotional photograph by Herman Miller, ca. 1964.
Action Office
George Nelson with Robert Propst, ca. 1964.
Action Office
Action Office 1, 1964, with roll-top high desk, Perch stool, a separate telephone table, and freestanding shelves. 
Action Office
With the advancement of Action Office to Action Office 2, the concept of an office landscape could be realized, as the system now facilitated spatial demarcation using integrated wall panels. 
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Highdesk Rolltop N° 64916 with Perch N° 64940
From the Vitra Design Museum Collection.
10_1960_Action Office 1, 649 Series, Lowdesk.jpg
Lowdesk N° 64903
From the Vitra Design Museum Collection.
12_1960_Action Office 1, 649 Series, Storage Unit.jpg
Storage Unit similar to N° 64915
From the Vitra Design Museum Collection.
11_1960_Action Office 1, 649 Series, Conference Table.jpg
Conference Table N° 64906
From the Vitra Design Museum Collection.

N° 64916–64919 High Desks
From H 39 1/2", W 49 7/16", D 32"
to H 43 1/2", W 65 7/16", D 32"
Tables with footrest, various sizes and models: with rolltop mechanism, to be folded out or for hanging filing systems

N° 64901–64904 Low Desks
From H 28 1/2", W 49 7/16", D 32"
to H 32 1/2", W 65 7/16", D 32"
The Low Desks were available in the same models as the High Desks.

N° 64909–64911 Tables
H 28 1/2", W 49 7/16", D 32"
H 28 1/2", W 49 7/16", D 19 3/8"
H 28 1/2", W 33 1/2", D 16"

N° 64905 Display Desk
H 32 1/2", W 49 7/16", D 19 1/2"

N° 64913 Typewriter Table
H 27 1/2", W 49 7/16", D 19 1/2"
Working height: 25 1/2"

N° 64912 Communications Center
H 45", W 33 1/2", D 19"

N° 64908 Mobile Table
H 24", Ø 30 1/2", on casters

N° 64920–64922 Conference Tables
H 28 1/2"; W 77 1/2", 83 1/2", 71 1/2"; D 39", 42", 35 1/2"

N° 64906 Conference table with matching file bin containing tackboard flipper
H 28 1/2", W 83 1/2", D 42"

N° 64915 Storage Unit
H 72 1/4", W 49 7/16", D 15"
Freestanding storage unit, consisting of several components: base, file bin with tackboard flipper, spacer shelf above it, and two more shelf units (one with organizer and one with display panel (see N° 64932)

N° 64933 shelf in three different versions:
Display Panel (N° 64931);
Spacer Shelf (N° 64936);
Shelf Organizers (N° 64966)

N° 64932 Shelf for the use of
N° 64602 Comprehensive Storage System Wall Poles
H 13 3/4", W 47 11/16", D 12"
Also available with various options:
Display Panel (N° 64931),
Shelf Organizers (N° 64966), and File Bin (N° 64930)

In addition, 30 different accessories were available for the Action Office range, including a desk light, drawers with various organizers, a drawer with a telephone platform, a wastepaper basket, as well as pencil and utensil trays.