by Harvey Burrell

How do creative people share space?

This is one of the biggest issues when designing a multi-purpose space. The book Make Space draws upon the experience of the Stanford and design consulting firm IDEO. Both of these firms have been heralded as leaders in fostering creativity. The book raised a lot of great questions about space and challenges designers to think beyond the cubicle. It also offers a hands on approach to building a space. Building a space is also a way to build a community. The people involved then become “invested owners rather than entitled users”(31).

Questions to be Answered:

How do we define thresholds/ transitions into new spaces? How do we signify this change?

How do we balance the need to keep storage secure with the desire to have it visible? (Visible tools tend to foster creativity)

What is the attitude or ambience you want your space to create?

How do spectators enter the space? Can they observe quietly and engage when interested?

How do you account for a variety of learning styles in one space?

Ideas to Borrow:

Casters in unexpected places. Allow furniture to move and be reconfigured as needed.

Idea generation happens in a space separate from where we share our ideas. If you share an idea too early it can be squash

Labelled water bottles are an easy way to reduce impact and foster community.

Clear signage. Labeling cabinets and hooks makes it easier for new users and ensures things end up back where they belong.

Headphones = do not interrupt. Have them available.

Put writable surfaces everywhere you can.

The take away message from Make Space is that creative minded individuals need to work in a space that has a “bias towards action”. All the elements that go into a space need to be there to foster creative ideas.



It is worth noting that even companies as large as Facebook and Zappos have started designing offices that follow many of the principles outlined in Make Space.