BI Opinion

03/01/2004 |

More Than a Pretty Face

Recently, my teenaged sister was relaying to me her boyfriend woes. Jokingly, I shared with her the foibles of my own romantic place and urged her to look for someone who was responsible, smart, and kind-hearted, rather than just a pretty face.

The award winners in this issue are all aesthetically pleasing, yet each one excels in its performance. With intensive collaboration between the building owners and their design professionals, each facility was made beautiful and achieves a greater beauty because its design enhances the building’s functionality.

Muscatine, IA-based The HON Co., a leading manufacturer of office furniture, sponsored a survey of office workers in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago on how people from each city view each other, themselves, and the office furniture that impacts their work lives. A few of the survey stats include:

  • 92 percent prefer practical over trendy office furniture.
  • 55 percent would sacrifice a day off if they could have practical furniture all year long.
  • 70 percent say that office furniture affects how they do their job.
  • 38 percent say their desk influences their productivity the most.
  • 28 percent say their chair influences their productivity the most.

In my many years of covering interior design and commercial buildings, I have learned to appreciate the weight of design. On a personal note, I took the PATH train to the World Trade Center stop for the first time after September 11th to visit New York City’s Millenium Hilton. I was flooded with emotions, both solemn and awestruck. To see the hotel restored to its grandeur and made even better was a powerful moment.

Design matters. Perhaps the words of poet John Ruskin say it best:

“We require from buildings, as from men, two kinds of goodness: first, the doing their practical duty well; then that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it; which last is itself another form of duty.”

– Regina Raiford Babcock, Senior Editor (

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