Office design goes to the movies. Part 6 – Playtime

Office design goes to the movies. Part 6 – Playtime

One of the few films to address office design as something worth commenting on per se. A film in which M. Hulot stumbles around a modernist dream of Paris, all glass, steel and cold straight lines. People inhabit box like apartments and box like office cubicles which separate them from each other and, by implication, […]

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SBID International Design Awards 2013 open for entries

SBID International Design Awards 2013 open for entries

Entries are now open for the SBID (Society of British Interior Design) third International Design Awards, which recognises design excellence across the built environment, ranging from super luxury projects, to innovative design and new talent on limited budgets. The fourteen categories include residential and contract sectors, entertainment space, transport, product and public space, visualisation (3d renderings) […]

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Five things the Wall Street Journal inadvertently told us yesterday about office design

Five things the Wall Street Journal inadvertently told us yesterday about office design

If I were to show you a headline from the Wall Street Journal announcing ‘Say Goodbye to the Office Cubicle’, you might date it at any time between the mid 1980s and 1990s. Maybe earlier. But it was actually in yesterday’s issue, dated 2 April 2013. Now, we could be amused by this or act […]

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Office design goes to the movies. Part 5 – Minority Report

Office design goes to the movies. Part 5 – Minority Report

We obviously like films like this. High concept noir sci-fi, based on a book by Philip K Dick of course; dystopian, chock full of ideas and technology that seemed cool and subversive in 2002 and is mundane in 2013. I mean, the screens are still cool but who wouldn’t rather have a file stored in […]

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New research from China highlights benefits of working from home

New research from China highlights benefits of working from home

A new report from researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Guanghua Management School at Beijing University looking into the experience of working from home at one large Chinese firm has found that the practice led to a 13 per cent increase in productivity. The research also found that workers reported increased levels […]

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Will an upturn spark a revival of interest in the idea of employer branding?

Will an upturn spark a revival of interest in the idea of employer branding?

You may recall that a few years ago there was a voguish interest in the idea of employer branding. This is the kind of thing that has always gone on but can always be defined and popularised,  in this case following the publication of a book on the subject in 2005. By 2008 Jackie Orme, […]

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Video: one of the keys to a productive workplace: micro-organisms?

The quest for the answer to what makes us productive at work is an endless one, of course. Partly this is due to misleading research claims from suppliers that the provision of a specific product will increase productivity by x per cent. But mostly it’s because the answers shift from case to case and over […]

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Facebook hits like button for low-key Gehry campus building

Facebook hits like button for low-key Gehry campus building

Normally it would strike you as a bit odd that a company would appoint one of the world’s most high profile architects to design its new headquarters, a man with an immediately recognisable and frequently stunning visual style, only to then ask him to rein it all in and produce something pretty sober and unobtrusive. […]

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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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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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