Tech Talk: Takeaways from Design Museum Magazine’s Common Space Event
Design Museum magazine dedicated its most recent issue to the subject of “Common Space.” Taylor Design’s Ravi Rao, Assoc. IIDA, LEED AP, a council member of publisher and session sponsor Design Museum Everywhere, contributed an article to the issue titled “An Unexpected Space in Healthcare.” He also participated in a “Design Museum Mornings” panel discussion in San Francisco celebrating the publication of Design Museum Issue 025: The Common Space Issue.
In this edition of Taylor Design’s Tech Talk, Ravi and his colleague Aaron McKenzie, who attended the event, share a few highlights of this panel discussion, which included Shalini Agrawal, Founder, Public Design for Equity; Jennifer Devlin-Herbert, CEO, Partner at EHDD; Karen Robichaud, Strategic Communications Consultant; and moderator Rania Adwan, Independent consultant, strategist, and former journalist.
Finding unexpected opportunities. Ravi’s article tells the story of how staff members of a medical clinic were using a concrete stairwell as a private space to grieve and regain composure. This discovery helped to drive the idea that dedicated spaces for staff respite and recovery should become a priority. On future work, this observation underscored the potential of staircases as locations for hosting complex emotional experiences, with special attention paid to providing natural light, soft wall coverings and other design features consistent with the use.
Efficiently soliciting valued input from the user community. The panel discussed the value of soliciting input from the user community to mute the inherent bias (due to factors such as education and life experience) that the design team carries into a project. When an audience member asked how to account for the time it takes to collect this input, Ravi noted the importance of inviting decision-makers in the client organization to witness and experience how the space will be used to accommodate the needs of the people who will be using it.
Designing for purpose. When creating public common spaces that best serve the user community over time, designers must strive to fully understand and sufficiently represent – from both a technical and an emotional standpoint – the space’s underlying purpose. The appeal of a common space isn’t driven solely by the building or its environment, but by the programs that are housed within. By designing a common space that complements the purpose of the overall facility, a designer can create a feeling of belonging that endures.
The fascinating, wide-ranging discussion covered several other aspects of common spaces and more. You can see it in its entirety at Vimeo.