What Office Designers Get Wrong

Verda Alexander questions the cushy, amenity-laden offices that her interior design firm helped pioneer, and what she got wrong. The way forward, she argues, is to introduce a little friction into the workplace.

I am proposing a workplace that is a little less comfortable and a little more challenging, a workplace that not only makes us work more deeply and in shorter bursts but also allows for stronger connections with our peers and the larger community around us.

What would such a space look like? Well it might draw on the character of artists’ residencies and writers’ retreats. Even the most well-appointed retreats tend to be austere. You often share a kitchen and communal chores; you get no free meals, and you sleep on a cot in the same space as your basic work area. There is no TV, and often no cell connection. Stripped down is always a good beginning when designing for the creative temperament.

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