Creative officespace - physical characteristics.

Wish your workspace was more creative (inspiring)?

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Beyond creative talent, diverse experience, personalities, type of work, specific workloads etc, what are the physical attributes or characteristics that help make a work environment … creative! I am interested in comments, feedback and images relating to open studio Vs personal creative space, office layouts, furniture and furnishings (IDEO’s DC-3 wing) etc.


lots of horizontal workspace. (to leave things out)
lots of vertical wall space. (to hang things)

the permission to make a mess.

Can’t get much better than that.

Having a dog around is a great thing. Maybe even a few dogs…

Ideally, having a way to play music that is NOT FM radio… like a CD player (is that asking too much?) Ours broke last week…

I’ve been setting one up for my new design department, and have been looking at different styles of work that encourage creativity, such as:

  1. Quick, standing conversations (high table)
  2. Team brainstorms (low stools to encourage standing & “campfires”)
  3. Desk work (open cubes to facilitate commeradere) pull-up stools for impromptu teamwork

…And I’ve included:
WIRELESS LAPTOPS!!! A must that I pay extra for out of our budget
Lots of whiteboards–preferably the entire wall. Also movable A frame-style.
Music! iPod or iTunes server/ Internet streaming radio works well
Creative toys (big lego blocks, play-doh, juggling balls etc.)
Open storage (lots of bookshelves)
Magazine racks (stimulus)
Reading nook/comfortable chair & good lighting (permission to learn!)
Large “communal” table, for lunch together as well as work

Just like McDonalds designs their restaurant chairs to “not be too comfortable” designers shouldn’t be too comfortable doing one task for a long time either–especially sitting at their desks. I want my designers out of the office, or at least walking around the office working/observing/talking as much as possible. The open-cubes are a part of that philosophy!

I worked with Facilities and the best way I could describe the optimal designer workspace was “make it like kindergarten” and less like solitary confinement. Speaking of, “Inventing Kindergarten” is a highly rated book I’ve been meaning to read on the subject. As you may/may not know, the Germans invented the concept of Kindergarten in the 19th C. “it reconstructs the most successful system ever devised for teaching young children about art, design, math, and natural history.” Sounds like a good idea for adults too!

Quality lighting!!!

I have worked in too many places that undervalue lighting-- I would much rather have a utililitarian work space with nice suspended track lighting and plenty of windows than fancy furniture with those goddamned fluorescents. Also the lighting should only be located hwre it is needed-- task lamps for desks, directional for pin up/marker space, and wash for meeting areas. Don’t light the entire room like it’s a Wal-Mart or something…