Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My Creative Space

My Creative Space: How to Design Your Home to Stimulate Ideas and Spark Innovation
Donald M. Rattner
Skyhorse Publishing, October 2019

Hardcover | 8 x 10 inches | 288 pages | 200+ illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1510736719 | $29.99

Publisher's Description:
A great deal of psychological and productivity research has gone into discovering how the design of the physical environment can improve creative performance, yet nearly all of it has focused on the workplace, commercial spaces, and schools. What has been largely overlooked is the one place we spend more time in than anywhere else and where more people than ever are now working: the home. My Creative Space shows how readers can boost their creative output by applying science-backed techniques to the design and decoration of their home regardless of size, type, style, or location.

With over 200 stunning color photographs of creative spaces, including many designed by top architects and interior decorators, this lavishly produced book will inspire readers while offering practical and specific ways to transform your own home into a creative haven.
dDAB Commentary:
One week ago I reviewed The Shaping of Us: How Everyday Spaces Structure Our Lives, Behavior, and Well-Being, a book that looks at the spaces we live, work, and play in from the perspective of environmental psychology. If Donald M. Rattner's My Creative Space (and before that, Sarah Williams Goldhagen's Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives) is any indication, the incorporation of environmental psychology into design practice and advise is on the rise. This trend — and I hope it is one, a long-term one — is refreshing, as it means that architects and interior designers are open to the wealth of research and studies that indicate not only that we are conditioned by our surroundings, but how they impact our daily lives.

For Rattner, studies on the psychology of space are best applied to the home in order to stimulate and foster our creativity. As he writes in the introduction, "Home is your creative haven," and therefore is the place to try out ideas anchored by scientific research. Elsewhere in the intro, Rattner touches upon a couple major scientific discoveries:  J. P. Guilford's 1950 address to the American Psychological Association, in which he promoted the study of creativity, and the more recent scholarship of Roger S. Ulrich, specifically his 1984 paper on the effects of nature upon healing (his findings led to much of what I wrote about on Houzz many years ago). In between some of the book's four-dozen "creativity tactics" he inserts "explainers" that, well, explain the science behind his advice.

The four-dozen techniques for "stimulating ideas and sparking innovation" are structured in three sections, or "creativity tactics groups": Appearance and Appurtenance, Ambience, and Action. A couple spreads from the first group and one each from the second and third groups are highlighted in the below spreads, revealing how photos illustrate some scenarios that fit the techniques, how Rattner's text is structured the same way for each technique, and how he cross references the tactics and explainers. A good way to tackle the book is read the short "What to do" and "Why do it?" sections at the beginning of each tactic to get a sense of the whole package, making note of which tactics sound most appropriate and doable in your situation. I couldn't help but be drawn to tactic #46: Read, falling into the Action section. While this bibliophile doesn't need to be convinced on the benefits of reading, I wholeheartedly agree with taking steps to create both places to read and places for books. The photos accompanying that tactic weren't as convincing as the text (Ron Arad's Bookworm might cut a cool profile, but it's inefficient and potentially damaging to books over time), and that's my main quibble with My Creative Space: the photos don't always best portray the tactics — or they could have easily, with the addition of some short captions.

Author Bio:
Architect Donald M. Rattner, AIA is the principal of an award-winning consultancy dedicated to maximizing occupant creativity in workplace, residential, wellness, hospitality, and retail environments. He works with architects, interior designers, educators, developers, business owners and creatives from all fields.
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