Make Space

by Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft

The way we design our spaces can help us or hinder us, inspire new ideas or stifle them, make it easier to work together or set us apart — So states the review by Bill Moggridge, Director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, which sets the stage for this wonderful little gem of a book.

Make Space, a square-shaped book, entices the reader with it’s cool cover design, which has people sprawled out on a concrete floor laying out the type for the title. The authors, Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft state at the beginning that the book is based on the work done at the Stanford University and its Environments Collaborative Initiative. It showcases years of classes and programs at the including countless prototypes and iterations with students and spaces.

Make Space is designed as a tool for helping people intentionally manipulate space to ignite creativity. Instead of a table of contents, you get instructions on how to build stuff and design your space. On the left is a dialogue that states the authors intentions for the book, “Make Space is a tool for using space to shape the culture and habits of a creative community.” There are great suggestions ranging from how you can improve the space in your home to the various ways you can design a classroom to facilitate student participation, or an office space so that employees are encouraged to bounce ideas off of one another.

Make Space breaks down its content in 5 easy to read buckets. Tools has super easy DYI tips on how to build everything from furniture, to wall-treatments, and rigging. Situations offers spatial solutions for sparking creative activities. Insights has short lessons designed to give you the idea very quickly. Space Studies consists of candid stories with lessons on creating spaces for making, learning, imagining, and connecting. Design Template identifies the elements that go into a shared place.

The authors have prepared Make Space as a tool for everyone interested in designing and creating environments to support creative collaboration. This book is a great read for everyone concerned with the concept of space—from professional designers and architects charged with creating new spaces to owners of small businesses, and even the home-office owner who is more interested in revamping existing space as it offers do-able and more importantly affordable tips on how to max out one’s existing work area. According to Jim Hackett, CEO of Steelcase, “Make Space is a new and dynamic resource for activating creativity, communication and innovation across institutions, corporations, teams, and schools alike.”

Overall, this book is insightful, interesting, informative and fun. Plus it succeeds in its authors’ plans of encouraging creativity and providing a collaborative environment that will bring out the best in people within their space. Browse it for tools to enhance teamwork, configurations to enable activities, insights about communal behaviors, design templates and first person stories. Happy reading and redesigning!

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