creative spaces

I have just received a copy of Make space: How to set the stage for creative collaboration, from Stanford d.school’s Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft – [Link]

It is about the wonderful environment of the Peterson Building, home of the d.school, how it came to look the way it does, with its customized fittings, studios, prototyping facilities, spaces to meet and create. Scott and Scott were key figures in its design and offer, with the help of other d.schoolers, a menu of ideas about how to make creative spaces.

Flexible spaces that can be configured to the different stages in the design process.

The d.school’s enlightened White Room, Booth blanc, where you can write ideas on all the surfaces

I am particularly interested in just how environment affects what we think and do. My class on urban planning [Link] uses the design of ancient cities to define the human qualities at the heart of sustainable urban life – the way architecture interacts with creative urban experience.

Stanford Strategy Studio involved a series of experiments in staging conversations about matters of common and pressing human concern [Link]. We realized the power of saturated environments, places that resonate through rich ambience, staging, artifacts, media.

Crucial also is persistence – how certain spaces, with their artifacts, can maintain conversation, engagement with a task, shared experiences and findings, over time, by offering mnemonics

– rooms with memory

Our Revs Program is considering, under its aim of promoting a broad human-centered appreciation of automotive engineering and culture over the last 150 years, the way a museum can be a design space – offering artifacts and archives that inspire through their arrangement in a museological space,

artifacts reminding us, through their materiality, of where we have been, and hopes and prospects of realizing our projects to design a better world.

In the d.school the standard rule is to “reset” a studio after using it – tidy up, put the furniture and fittings back in storage, clean white boards, tidy up tools and materials. Wipe the space clean and erase the traces of what has been happening there. It means that most of the d.school, most of the time, looks remarkably clean, minimalist, and somewhat sterile – only ready-to-be-used.

From the studio of artist Terry Winters

I think that memory, history, the archaeology of a place, the embodiment of experience and event in a place, a building, a landscape, a studio is immensely important to creativity. Every artist’s studio I have encountered is saturated in such memory.

But we can drown in the past.

This is actually the manifestation of a classic conundrum of

an archaeological sensibility

– how much to conserve, how much to discard

Metamedia – my lab at Stanford – 2006/2007 – a saturated space here as an authoring studio, then
used for modeling conversations, now becoming again a studio space for the Revs Program.

Download PDF