Inspiration comes from strange places. I got the idea for devoting an issue of Buildings Interiors to art and creativity and its relationship to facilities management a few years ago, based on a small news item. This news clip briefly described the decision made by Reader’s Digest to sell some of its vast art collection. I wondered how the staff reacted to this difficult decision. This planted a seed in my brain. The commercial interiors covered in this issue explore the value of art in the commercial environment and how the workplace can support the occupants’ creativity.
Yet, when the time came to create this issue that I had planned for so long, I hit a massive writer’s bloc. In the midst of a major move, I was interviewing and writing surrounded by a jumble of packing boxes and upturned furniture.
During a recent business trip to the Netherlands, I was able to visit an office facility in Utrecht. In the Netherlands, it is mandatory that employees have access to natural light. While learning the site’s latest technological efforts, I was uplifted by the building owner’s use of modern artwork throughout the facility, the generous meeting areas, and the ample daylighting.
When I returned to my own humble office, I carried these images with me and was inspired. I organized my working environment, focusing first on functionality and efficiency. Family photos, a print of an antique map, my amateur oil paintings from vacations past: I added these favorite pieces to my environment as well. Once I created a comfortable work oasis for myself, I was really able to get down to business. In this column, I have repeatedly made the case to facilities managers on how much design matters; on the power of interior design to fuel productivity and the imagination. These artists and facilities – and even my own evolving office – show how true this really is.
– Regina Raiford Babcock, Senior Editor