Workspring is a hosted Steelcase co-working environment in Chicago, and when they expanded to a beautiful new location TCondon got the call to partner with their architect and construction team to create a dynamic layout that supports individuals, groups, meetings, social gatherings and focused-work needs. Realize, too, that one day there could be 20 people utilizing the space, the next there could be 120, and that the way the space is utilized also varies day-to-day.
These realities seem to be, but could not be, contrary to each other. Rather, these needs had to coexist in harmony. TCondon had to develop a solution revolving around high flexibility for layout and use, with furniture and materials that could stand up to being reconfigured, moved, and repurposed. We also needed to be very careful that it didn’t “feel” temporary or impermanent and all the while allowed for comfortable interactions and rewarding experiences throughout.
We put on our empathy hats and imagined the many moments that would occur here. We imagined varied use-cases — from the focused, head-down individual laptop user, to a sales team meeting in town for the day, to team-building session attendees enjoying a casual refreshment break after a long day. Wondering for each: “What would I want from this space?”.
And, we landed at a solid solution that is getting terrific feedback. It’s a great space in a great location. If any of you are able to experience some time there, do so. You can’t beat that moment when you find your comfortable spot, hunker down with your laptop and a cup of coffee, and gaze down at the city below. Check them out online and book some time on your next trip to Chicago: http://www.workspring.com/
What do you do with your ideas? How do you share them? Where do you go with great ideas that you don’t use ? Is there a new technology that can help ideas grow?
The TEDx space at TEDGlobal started as a blank canvas, slowly becoming a masterpiece of great thoughts as we encouraged the TED community to draw on literally every surface in the room. It’s a fun way to be part of a collaboration and sharing of ideas and people are actively participating. As some express themselves with markers, others are smiling as they read the messages on the walls, floor, tables and chairs. Inspiration and new ideas are shared on every surface and in countless conversations, all spurring on new ideas that will change the world.
Thanks to the Gates Foundation for bringing 15 TEDx organizers to Edinburgh and for continuing to help make this a great experience.
TEDGlobal 2012 opens soon and we are on site building a radical space to articulate the theme of the conference – Radical Openness. We might hear the words, “You want me to do what?”, as we push the boundaries of normalcy into new realms. New forms of expressing one’s self will be introduced, promising to make this a unique and life-changing few days. More photos and ideas will be shared soon – registration opens in about an hour, so its back to work for now!
Nurture by Steelcase shared a very critical product development message at TEDMED: When designing anything you must start with an understanding of all the needs of the end-user. In that vein, their space allowed people an opportunity to try a “Third Age Suit”. Once you have the suit on your motor skills are instantly aged by 30 years. This experience helped attendees gain first-hand insights about the user needs to consider when designing a chair for the elderly. That’s me, Grandpa Tom, in the photos trying to reach the ends of the armrest to eventually stand up from the new empath recliner by Nurture. Another very interactive aspect of the booth were custom chalk table tops. These were also a big hit and a fun way to join the conversations about questions that were being asked and the big ideas people were taking home.
So, what do you put in a tent the size of a football field to create an incredible experience at TEDMED? Well, we did a lot, but start with an impressive list of sponsors and great food, then design cool common-spaces to pull people together. Our focus was to create a Social Hub and Simulcast Lounges that made it easy for delegates to connect with experts – both from the medical and non-medical disciplines. When these connections happen the event moves from interesting to magical. To help make these connections we provided a variety of different lounge and café settings. The 16-foot long tables, for example, worked well– they were very easy to approach, connect a device to the power supply, and meet a new friend. I also used a die-cut fabric from Designtex to create a ceiling cloud over two other settings to make a more intimate space. Intimate spaces yield open conversations and I love a comment that I overheard: “I can’t decide what is better. The talks from the stage or all the great conversations I’m having.” Perfect!
Check out the TEDMED blog below for a brief day-to-day summary of the conference. http://blog.tedmed.com/?m=201204
TCondon designed prototype spaces recently unveiled at a global Marriott Hotels & Resorts event. These spaces envision the future of meetings and work. For this event, we partnered with Steelcase and IDEO to build dynamic solutions that reflect hosted work experiences. Many factors are pointing to mobile, global, and business travel trends evolving the way people will meet, work, socialize, and collaborate.
The prototype rooms were very well-received and we love the immediate feedback being generated. Check out these links for more information and stay tuned as the prototypes evolve and we continue to design the future!
A vital step in the planning of any event is a thorough feeling of the space. For an event at a new space a site visit is an absolute necessity. No matter what pictures you may have seen, once on site your vision and imagination begin to connect with the physical and emotional feel of a space. I went to The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. which will be the venue for the upcoming TEDMED. This facility is unique in that it is a performing arts center and also a monument to JFK, the Kennedy Family, and their many contribution to the arts. The building is beautiful, and it is a great space for the event, but what I want to share with you is what I found on the walls back stage. Over the course of 40 seasons of presenting theater, dance, ballet and music, an interesting collection of stage sets and theater posters have been lovingly saved and displayed on the walls. To take them in is to walk back in time. You will recognize many of the images, they are icons in the art of entertaining the world.
I want to share with you some of the photos that are great glimpses into another successful gathering. The many months of planning and designing the spaces produced a virtual beehive, perfect for conversations and connections. A real focus was the Center Entry Space which seemed to naturally become the kitchen – where everyone at the party wants to hang out. So, we embraced this and positioned a variety of settings to enable those connections happen. As the last day came to a close our team was buzzing with ideas for next year.
The talks were once again moving, inspiring, and good for making us all think more deeply about the many great ideas. There are many talks highlighted on the TED site, but I would like to highlight some of John Hockenberry’s words from his presentation titled “Design a Life With Intent”. He begins with stories of growing up with a father who was a designer and continues to tell of the unfortunate circumstances around his own situation that resulted in him being in a wheelchair for the past 35 years. Frustrated by years of awkward stares and uncomfortable comments, he added these cool lights to his wheels and it totally changed his life. Now, “instead of blank stares and awkwardness, people say ‘those are awesome!’ Kids ask for a ride!” The difference? Intent. By adding electric flashing lights to his wheelchair wheels, “I’m no longer a victim. I chose to change this situation.” John observed the natural reactions of people over the years and knew that he could give them something other than his legs to look at. I love this quote “an object imbued with intent has power. It’s treasure; we’re drawn to it. An object devoid of intent is random, imitative, it repels us. It is junkmail to be thrown away. This is what we must demand of our lives, of our objects, of our things, our circumstances: living with intent.” Be sure to watch the entire talk and catch the last few minutes when John picks up a guitar and gives a TED-themed version of The Beatles’ song, “Get Back.” http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/design-a-life-with-intent-john-hockenberry-at-ted2012/