The season is changing, chocolate’s in the air.

We’ll all soon have that twinge of an urge to simplify, brighten up, change our surroundings a little.

Because we can. Can’t we?

In every office in which I’ve worked recently, I’ve been struck by how ‘zoned’ the space has become.  Privacy is the new status, and there are some fabulously imaginative ways of ensuring that subtle and covert signals are clearly understood.

(And overt signals have by no means disappeared.  I know a building where hundreds of young talented people work in which – still – carpet, wallpaper and a mysteriously wealthy fragrance greet those leaving the lift at the ‘Board Floor’)

Having just had a lovely little travelling time in a European city that has consistently appeared top of the happiness tables. (Copenhagen, Denmark. Britain was 23rd on this list in 2016) I’ve been struck by how profoundly and speedily, surroundings alter mood, morale, and possibly even world view.

A quick Google study will uncover many studies about architectural and urban design that promotes calm, or relaxes, or soothes.  But something much simpler is open to us all.
The effect of mixing, naturally, different ages, priorities, and expertise.

The interior effect in that extreme building (and it is intended, isn’t it?) to a visitor entering that floor is to feel inadequate, inferior, and clearly without power.  The interior effect of a Copenhagen street by contrast is very different.  An interior shift can be felt; a shift towards a positive yet relaxed feeling that anything is possible.  Because homes and business are mixed up. Because evidence of children’s lives are visible everywhere. Because the Civic Buildings (how thrilling to situate ‘Borgen’) are low –key and relatively open.

So simple. Mix us up more, and we feel better.

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