hundreds of undergrads looked at computer-generated pictures of room interiors and rated those filled with curvilinear (rounded), as opposed to rectilinear, desk furniture as more pleasing and inviting. Another study out this year found that people rated curvy, rounded environments as more beautiful than straight-edged rectilinear environments and that the rounded spaces triggered more activity in brain regions associated with reward and aesthetic appreciation.
Choosing the right color and lighting scheme for your office is one of the simplest ways your environment can enhance your performance in front of your work desk. Different colors and light levels have different psychological effects, so the ideal situation is to install a lighting system that allows you to alter the hue and brightness of your room to suit the kind of work and desk furniture that you are engaged in.
Today we have the means to measure the performance of modern idea factories. Even these early insights suggest a future in which we must aggressively change the definition of what workspace is, from where work is done to how it is done, and then design spaces—physical and digital as well as desk furniture around that. The office of the past was a literal box of cubicles and desks, meeting rooms and common spaces. In the office of the future, we will be thinking and working outside it.
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