Office design goes to the movies. Part 4 – Ikiru

Office design goes to the movies. Part 4 – Ikiru

Akira Kurosawa’s film typifies the way that office life is usually portrayed in movies. The crushing bureaucracy that the protagonist Kanji Watanabe is part of – and ultimately rebels against – is symbolised by the towering piles of paper that surround him and his colleagues. Even when he’s walking around, he seems to be carrying them […]

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We shape the world’s cities, then they shape us

We shape the world’s cities, then they shape us

The story of the world’s cities is often told not in words but in numbers. This is especially the case with the megacities – those with a  population in excess of 10 million – which obtain enough critical mass not only to produce eye boggling statistics but also to distort the fabric of whole regions […]

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Our hardwired response to patterns can be a useful trait for designers

Our hardwired response to patterns can be a useful trait for designers

Our ability to recognise patterns is hardwired. We instinctively and often unconsciously look for patterns everywhere. Where none exist we often impose them, grouping things  together according to their colour, shape, texture, number, taste, smell, touch or function. We do this to make sense of the world and to understand what goes on around us. […]

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Facilities managers: you didn’t notice us because we did such a great job

Facilities managers: you didn’t notice us because we did such a great job

Getting all hot under the collar about brushed chrome door furniture is an understandable but classic displacement activity when much of your work is messy, unglamorous and even occasionally dangerous. You work alongside designers and architects and look longingly at their apparent casual trendiness and clean lines, marvelling at the quality of the beech from […]

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Office design goes to the movies. Part 3 – Being John Malkovich

    In which John Cusack plays an unemployed puppeteer who takes a mundane office clerk’s job in the low-ceilinged offices on Floor 7½ of the Mertin Flemmer Building in New York. When he asks his boss why the ceilings are so low, he is told ‘low overhead my boy’.  Bad pun, great commentary on how […]

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Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

Where are the muggles in Terry Farrell’s architecture policy review?

One of the standard complaints commonly ascribed to facilities managers and others who work to manage our buildings and the people and stuff inside them is that they are not consulted well enough when it comes to the development, architecture and design of buildings. Well, now they may have a chance to see how that […]

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Video: Forget Yahoo – why telecommuting is good for your business

    Think you’ve seen every possible angle on the recent Yahoo-ha about flexible working? Maybe not because here’s a unique take on the subject courtesy of the guys at MinuteMBA. We’d like to invite somebody to animate the other side of the argument but while we can be certain that nearly everybody thinks they […]

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Why office furniture leasing is not necessarily a great option

Why office furniture leasing is not necessarily a great option

It seems like a perfect idea. The business needs new desks, chairs and cupboards and that refurbishment is long overdue. Or perhaps it’s time to move and the old furniture won’t make it in one piece. The furniture supplier wants to make the sale. Business has been slow and it’s the end of the month […]

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The resistance to flexible working is entirely reasonable

The resistance to flexible working is entirely reasonable

In recent media coverage of the decision by Yahoo to ban homeworking as well as a recent survey from Microsoft, the resistance to the idea that people work better when they are allowed to work flexibly has typically been put down to cultural inertia. Sometimes those who have resisted the uptake of flexible working have […]

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Office design goes to the movies. Part 1 – Zoolander

Office design goes to the movies. Part 1 – Zoolander

Zoolander may not be a great film but it has its moments and does come alive every time the Mugatu character arrives to eat up the scenery. Of course, as an unreconstructed deskhead, I am always tempted to  look over the shoulders of the characters in a film to see what they are sitting on. Mugatu […]

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Video: how networks of engaged people can achieve more than nations

  In spite of all its flaws, the Internet can empower people to address specific issues in ways that exceed the abilities of nation states. In this energising talk for the Royal Society for the Arts, Don Tapscott, a Canadian businessman and now one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on people […]

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What Alan Bennett can teach us about taste

What Alan Bennett can teach us about taste

The idea of taste is a strange one, not least when we’re surrounded by people guiding our tastes in everything from cars to wine, food, clothes, house design, office design, restaurants, holidays, language, art, music, books and film. The problem with an acceptance of what we mean by ‘good taste’ is that it acts as a […]

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