Living Stages: What can workplaces learn from theatre design? by Imogen Privett @RCAeducation @HHCDesign

The Department of Architecture of the Royal College of Art in London conducted an architectural study on how the scenographic techniques of stage design can improve the psychological experience of working in an office.  The outline of this study by Imogen Privett  and an interview can be found on the website of the Royal College of Art.

Living Stages: What can workplaces learn from theatre design?

The drive for management efficiency in modern office design has tended to overlook the importance of individual psychological comfort in the workplace. As a result, many workplace environments are designed as psychologically impoverished ‘lean’ spaces, which do nothing to enhance company culture. When more psychologically enriched settings are attempted, these are often highly customised and expensive one-offs that are difficult to build and replicate.

The study explores how theatre design can provide inspiration to create more expressive and effective office environments for people, using a simple ‘kit of parts’ approach and drawing on the idea of ‘maximum effect through minimal means’.

A set of six scenographic techniques used to create mood and atmosphere was identified, based on the application of:

  1. light & shadow
  2. projection
  3. screens
  4. levels
  5. colour
  6. vista

The study explores the ways in which we might move from workspaces that are lean, static and fixed to ones that are enriched, dynamic and flexible. Living Stages, which is part of a long-term research collaboration with global furniture company Haworth, provides a new framework for office designers and their clients to think about the psychological wellbeing of the work-force and not just their physical comfort.

Read more here.

Theatre stage set