Remodelista recently published the winner of the Best Reader-Submitted Office Space in their Considered Design Awards. We find the image of the office downright eerie: not a paper in sight, no evidence of…a person, the opposite of photographer Ralph Morse’s perfect capture of Einstein’s desk, where you could practically hear his thoughts. It made us think about our conceptions of workspaces; what they are meant to do.
These days we frequently read articles about how to declutter your desk, as though messy desks were a plague. There is a lot of pressure to be tidy. TIDY. Yikes! Sounds like something from Mary Poppins. Einstein himself wondered: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Good question!
We were delighted to read 99u’s recent The Perfect Workspace (According to Science), five aspects to consider when you’re setting up your workspace, like Taking Ownership of Your Workspace, and Taking Advantage of Color, Light and Space, Make Use of Windows and Plants…(and mirrors!)
Our favorite: The Benefits of a Messy Desk, something we’ve written about before (What a Messy Desk Really Means). Like many productivity posts these days, this one cited neuroscience:
Kathleen Vohs and her colleagues at the University of Minnesota found that participants tested in a messy room at a desk covered with paper came up with more imaginative uses for a ping pong ball than participants tested in a tidy room.
As much as we love these “findings”, we take them with a grain of salt. For our money, the essential thing to consider in making your workspace is: What works for you. ‘No guilt, no blame’, to quote the I Ching. We promise not to read anything into how neat you are or how messy…as long as it works.
top photo: Jane Archer; 2nd photo down: Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Related posts: mirrors as windows and views
a busy office disappears behind hafele’s sliding wall
how to disappear ugly power and electronics cords
signs on walls: ‘how to work better’
what a messy desk really means
design inspiration: hemingway’s makeshift standing desk