The Future Office – IV – Design vs Creativity

The Future Office – IV

“Design vs Creativity”

The office prominent in the workplace today is insufficient for the amount of talent in – and the calibre of our current workforce.  We have had the privilege to be a part of designing and implementing the small – yet rapidly growing – innovative workplaces in offices that encourage growth in their employees and efficiency in their processes.  We’ve seen the energy change from subdued to energetic and heard the stories boasting a renewed life in old office space.  This is the future office, it is now, it’s not being created by us – it’s already here.  Our skillset is in our design by Boulder County Architects, which often can be mistaken for creativity – not to say we’re not creative, we just need to draw the line between where we know we are creating office space and where we are designing office space.

There is usually a battle to draw the fine line in between creativity and design, simply because with each different worldview comes a different perspective on what that really is.  The human mind is a very complex place; “the human mind is so complex and things are so tangled up with each other that, to explain a blade of straw, one would have to take to pieces an entire universe. A definition is a sack of flour compressed into a thimble,” – to quote Remy De Gourmont.

Speaking philosophically, we all aim to survive, whether that is through life in general or through our works; survival is a human instinct.  Because creation is unique to the creator (which leads to the generation of the creator’s legacy) people can interpret creation as survival. There is nothing wrong with striving to create, to leave behind your mark.  If you’re leaving your mark in the workplace, then it means passion in the workplace. But never mistake creativity for design.

As per a direct quotation from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Create “1 : to bring into existence ” Design is “1 : to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan” To create is when we attempt to solely express our character through our work, which is the exact opposite of what we need to do as industry professionals. We need to learn how to design. The idea of design states that there is a plan in place, or at least a set of overlying parameters that must be followed.  Can we be creative in design?  Most definitely!  But we need to first establish design as the primary objective of our actions and let creativity help address the requirements of the design; to be purely creative is to be self-destructive.  It will lead to deviation from standards as well as from the vision of those that empower us with the privilege to create. “Design is the conscious decision-making process by which information (an idea) is transformed into an outcome, be it tangible (product) or intangible (service).” – John Locke. In an application to the office furniture industry, another supporting idea that creativity is not design is that anyone can ‘create’ a visually breathtaking workspace. However it is design that dictates its feasibility, efficiency, total cost of ownership and return-on-investment.

Designers are a rare breed of skilled individuals whom apply their industry expertise to end user requirements. In our industry, design is the interpretation of those requirements into visual and technical specifications, all the while meeting jurisdictional building codes and relative environmental requirements. Usually there are interior designers and/or architects heavily involved in the acquisition and planning process of a project. In the instance that a project is void of both, dealerships have in-house teams that have the required experience and resources to substitute or compliment this role when necessary.
Now we’re not against creativity – without which design in itself is a flawed process.  Being creative is a characteristic that is appreciated by people in general. It means that there is a constant flow of ideas, even solutions, to the mundane of everyday life.  After all, everybody has a little bit of creativity in them. However people that design need to become experts in what they do, so they sacrifice creativity for acceptance; what, under a general consensus, is approved as correct by the parties involved.  There is a design in ‘Law,’ ‘Architecture,’ ‘Botany’ and all other accepted practices.  Some experts thrive off of creativity and encourage it.  However, a good handful of experts loathe creativity due to the negligence that generally follows the inexperienced.

Never let the battle of design and creativity get in between common-sense and the obvious. No matter how many pages and illustrations explain how efficient a new door system is, if I can’t walk through it without effort, all of that design and creativity fails right there.

Until next time – go change the world. P.H.

Sources cited:
1. Teknion Corporation
2. Design Does Matter Vol. 2 – Published By Teknion
8. Industry Experience and Client Interaction

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