Creative Working Spaces

Here are a few thoughts on the working environment; not separating waste at the office or saving energy (this should be second nature these days anyway)! I am talking about the work place – and how it can inspire our working day.

I thought about this last weekend. Here in Amsterdam we have a building called “De Hallen” – the translation of this means “The Halls”. This old cluster of buildings used to be the tram depot in the west of Amsterdam; it is now a national monument and was built in phases between 1901 and 1928. The buildings are very characteristic with long, elongated halls and a passage at the end of them.

Unfortunately, when the building ceased to be a tram depot it fell into deplorable disrepair and remained that way for some time. A few half-hearted attempts were made to do something with it, but these were either financially non viable or the nearby residents didn’t agree with the plans.

About 10 years ago a social plan was realised to re-invent “De Hallen” and to re-design the building whilst retaining its historical characteristics. Anyway to cut a long story short, after opening last year “De Hallen” has become a much-admired cultural centre in the west of Amsterdam.

Last week my sister and business partner at The Creative Movement, Louisa and he partner Ian were over for a work/social visit and I though it would be interesting to take them there. The building incorporates a cinema “Film Hallen”, brasserie and food court, library, studio’s, art galleries, office units, a hairdressing academy, a car and bicycle park (which is in the basement of the buildings). We went to the cinema and had a bite to eat in the “Food Hallen” next door. There was a small art/design and craft market on in the main passage too, lots of people milling about and enjoying themselves. It is such a vibrant and “feel good” place to be in!

Thinking back on this and chatting about it later, we agreed that it must be a very creatively inspiring place to go to work . It also made me wonder about the value of having an office or workplace that offers a vibrancy or favourable environment – as it really does have an influence on how we experience our working day, which is the largest part of our day.

I think for all of the working community, this applies. Of course we don’t all work in fabulous cities and in monumental buildings, but let’s face it, nobody wants to sit facing a bare wall in a dark, poky room. I know this sounds like an exaggeration but this kind of working environment still does exist! So even if your working environment isn’t up to much you can still implement a few changes for immediate improvement.

Small changes can do the trick, such as re-arranging the furniture or putting some lovely flowers in a vase. Brighten up the walls with something good to look at. Get some new design tea mugs!! Lots of little things can make a big difference and contribute to renewed work energy and tons of creative inspiration.

By the way, if you are visiting Amsterdam, don’t forget to check out De Hallen, you won’t be disappointed:

Author Director "Logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will get you anywhere."