Mackinac: Designed for All the Ways You Work

Mackinac supports collaboration, focus and respite all in a compact footprint.

Do you ever reach the end of your workday and feel like you can’t think straight? At the end of the week, do you find your energy depleted? It’s all you can do to get home, collapse on the couch and order in dinner. You’re not alone. Steelcase researchers found leaders and their teams are under increased pressure at work — so much so, it’s taking a toll on people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

So many or us are working in fast-paced environments where we experience:

  • Constant context switching — moving from one topic to another, from a broad to a narrow view
  • The need to manage and process large amounts of information and filter for relevance
  • Shifting from visible to protected environments — with a high need for access to privacy
  • Spanning topics and time zones and juggling highly-fragmented schedules
  • Highy-mobile work behaviors
  • High levels of stress while meeting high performance expectations

Researchers worked with designers to inform a new approach to helping people move, think and feel better. The solution: Mackinac (pronounced MAK-uh-naw) is a total re-envisioning of the work environment.

“While creating Mackinac, we thought about how to support collaboration, focus and respite all in a compact footprint – making it easier for people to move from one type of work to another,” said Bill Bennie, Steelcase industrial design manager. “We wanted to help people balance intense work with periods of rejuvenation and balance our needs for privacy with needs to connect with others.”

Mackinac contains a series of “microzones” — making it simpler for people to shift from individual work to group work and providing the privacy people need to get away for a bit and rejuvenate. The height-adjustable cantilever worksurfaces and shelving towers can combine in a variety of ways to support these different types of work either in a closed office or the open plan.

All the Ways You Work

Mackinac creates microzones that easily support the transition between working alone to working with others, or a quick moment of respite – reducing the time people spend looking for just the right place to work. (Seen here: Focus, respite)

All the Ways You Work

Shelving towers provide people much-needed visual separation to minimize distractions and allow for moments of respite during a busy day. (Seen here: Focus, respite)

All the Ways You Work

The cantilever worksurface unique to Mackinac makes it ideal for collaboration settings in a small footprint. By removing the legs typically found under most desks, designers literally were able to remove a physical barrier — letting more people easily gather and work together. (Seen here: Collaboration)

All the Ways You Work

Today’s leaders need to be visible within their organization while still highly productive. Designers created Mackinac to be beautiful and high performing. A broad range of material options include finishes that can create a sophisticated and luxurious aesthetic. (Seen here: Focus)

All the Ways You Work

The cantilever worksurface, with an expanse of up to 72 inches, creates a visually lighter aesthetic in the open plan. Shelving towers give people a way to personalize their space — displaying objects that express themselves. (Seen here: Focus)

All the Ways You Work

By removing the typical legs found underneath a worksurface, Mackinac provides people with an open end to their personal space, making it easy to invite someone to approach and collaborate. In addition to a display area, shelving towers provide shielding in the open plan. (Seen here: Focus)

All the Ways You Work

People are working longer hours and getting pulled in lots of different directions. Mackinac makes it easy to navigate the transitions between times of focus, collaboration and respite. (Seen here: Focus, respite)

All the Ways You Work

Leaders need to toggle between being visible and being able to step away. Mackinac supports a variety of settings within a private office. (Seen here: Focus, respite)

All the Ways You Work

Some visual barriers can make people feel boxed in or claustrophobic, and physical barriers can be obstacles to collaboration. Mackinac’s shelving towers are designed to create needed psychological and visual privacy while maintaining an open environment for collaboration. (Seen here: Respite)

All the Ways You Work

Personal shelving and towers can be customized to be two or three shelves high adding storage and display options. (Seen here: Respite)


Make Mackinac your own with our interactive visualization tool.

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