Have you ever seen a photograph of an office and thought… “Wow, I would love to work there!”? But what is it actually, that makes up a workspace for creative people? Well, in this post you will learn the basic concepts of creative workspace design.
Creative space – a definition
A creative workspace is any workspace that allows or even facilitates creative work. This includes team spaces for creative collaboration, but also individual spaces for the lone creative genius.
Many people think, a creative workspace is limited to the furniture and interior design. But the impact of the architecture itself is also important; as well as the location within a broader neighborhood.
Creative Space can have different Qualities
This is probably the most obvious quality of a creative space. The work environment can stimulate you — visually, but also regarding the other senses: smell, sound, and haptics. The first impression a space gives you is often related to this quality: colors, shapes and arrangements of furniture, light, and the sound determine whether you feel inspired or distracted. But beware: This quality is all about balance. Too much of a stimulation can also become annoying,
A creative space can express a specific (organizational or individual) culture. The work environment indicates whether a company is playful or serious, if it has strong hierarchies or resembles more a network of equal partners. The design of a space can indicate how one should behave in there. If it is okay to experiment and play, or if order and cleanliness are expected. These rules can be literally written down on signs and posters, or they can be inherent in the spatial design.
The workspace can serve as a knowledge repository and process information. For example, writable walls or whiteboards allow to store insights, ideas, and research results. Moreover, materials and books displayed in a library provide access to knowledge and information. And tacit knowledge within other people can be exchanged through casual conversations. These can be triggered by a workspace that provides meeting areas and lounges.
Often, inspiration stems from other people. A space can facilitate social interaction, for example by reducing distances or by deliberately installing meeting points (such as the famous water cooler where people meet by coincidence). On the other hand, social interaction might be not desired in certain situations, for example when working in focused mode. In these cases, the space can provide shields, wall dividers, or closed offices or booths.
A creative space is much more than just fancy furniture. Four different qualities determine whether a workspace is suitable for creative work: if it provides a stimulation in balance, if it expresses the right innovation culture, if it enables an appropriate degree of social interaction, and if it allows the processing of knowledge.
For some real examples of creative workspaces in relation to these categories, check out my post about 18 creative organizations I visited.
And please let me kow what you think: What is your most important quality for working creatively?