Does that cubicle come in "blueberry"?

Owners of Apple's new blue-hued G3 get some style pointers on fun furniture to complement their machines.

Published April 29, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

When MacCentral senior editor Dennis Sellers reviewed Apple's Power Macintosh G3, he found himself wondering how well the machine's transparent blue and ice color scheme would fit with the existing decor of potential owners.

After all, the blue G3 does not come in the five happy flavors of the iMac -- a palette that has spawned a side business in complementary peripherals. (The maker of QPS Que, a rewritable CD drive that comes in blue, offers an accessory kit to change the device's colored panels to "iMac strawberry, tangerine, grape, or lime." And, "in an effort to match all iMacs," ADS Technologies is introducing the USB Ultra Hub 4 with a black translucent case to match the iMac keyboard.)

The G3, though more powerful than the iMac, is clearly lacking such stylistic versatility. Its hue, officially known as "blueberry," could even clash with some users' furnishings. But, thought Sellers, the G3 could be just the excuse the Mac faithful needed to update their office image. "If you are going to have external modems and CD drives to match, why not some furniture too?" he asked.

So, last week MacCentral announced a contest seeking inspired ideas for Mac-compatible desks and chairs. Sixteen readers pointed Sellers to their favorite futuristic, ergonomically correct and funky furniture -- and a couple of people even drew up their own designs. Each day this week the independent Mac news site is publishing a link to one or two entries, and on Monday it will announce a winner, to be chosen by the MacCentral staff. That lucky person won't be getting a new G3, though -- just a matching modem.

There are some prize-worthy entries. The Kingston desk by Form+Function clearly lacks the imagination of the new Macs -- it looks more like something that would fit best in a college dorm. But the same company's Nido floor lamp has got the Apple party line down: Its hand-blown glass shade comes in blue, red, green, yellow, amber or white and promises that "each color gives a totally different feel to a room."

Levity, "a new suite of human-centered office furniture" by the designers at Herman Miller, boasts a desktop that can be raised and lowered along a vertical axis -- which would surely be popular with people who spend half the day sitting cross-legged on the floor and the other half standing at their desk. But it's not clear where the G3 would live on such a mobile unit.

Of the picks Sellers has revealed so far, it is the Aura module that best captures the feel of the future. It is a round cubicle for the Space Age, designed to gives workers "electronic control over virtually every aspect of their individual work environments such as air flow, seating, lighting, and even sight lines." It sure looks like command central -- and would be just the thing to house a G3. In fact, if it weren't for the $5,500 price tag, it would be worth having even if it clashed with blueberry.

By Kaitlin Quistgaard

Kaitlin Quistgaard, Salon's former technology editor, writes frequently about the arts and South America, where she once lived.

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