Wandle II – The DNA of a river

I enjoy my walks along sections of the River Wandle, and after my recent abstract painting ‘River Wandle‘ sold within minutes of going into my Etsy shop – I decided to revisit the idea.

This time I have scaled up from an A4 size work to this much larger 20″ x 16″ canvas.

Wandle II

I really like how this work has turned out and I am grateful that Carole suggested I leave some spaces in among all the colour. I’ve subsequently entered this painting and my drawing titled ‘Bookcases‘ into the 2016 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. My entries are among a further 11,998 pieces of work so this is a long shot – but you’ll never get picked if you don’t enter. Fingers crossed!

People and Places : Senses and Spaces

Some initial thoughts on the recently announced collaboration between BIFM and CIPD

We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us. Winston Churchill

This week I learned of a collaboration between BIFM and the CIPD. Although in its very early days, the potential in this match up interests me. The plan is for the two organisations to collaborate on ‘a number of research and insight projects that will investigate how both communities of professionals are evolving and adapting to the changing workplace.’ So long as that work feeds quickly through into action and doesn’t become just another talking shop (lest we forget I still wear the scars of being heavily involved in Engage for Success, I know how underwhelming these well meaning get togethers can be), then I look forward to being of some use to this initiative. Here are a couple of interactions I was involved with on Twitter as the news emerged.

BIFM CIPD Collaboration Tweets Two BIFM CIPD Collaboration Tweets One

Good architecture is often invisible, but it allows whatever is happening in that space to be the best experience possible. Pezo von Ellrichshausen

Peter Cheese said he’d like my thoughts on this matter, so I’d like to follow up on his tweeted observation about making good practice common practice, by sharing a few examples of where I believe these connections are already being made. I’d also be really interested to learn of other examples you’ve seen too, please? Feel free to drop me a line via the comments on the blog.

Neil Usher

Neil is for me, a great example of people and place personified. I don’t mean he looks like an office block, but he gets this important connection. I first met Neil at ConnectingHR a few years ago and he is regularly blogging, thinking and working at the crossroads between people and places : senses and spaces. Neil twists the two marshmallow strands of people and place together into an almost perfectly formed Flump. Here’s a recent, excellent post of his about how to help people and places work better.

Social Capital in the Workplace

In january 2014 I was fortunate to be asked by Mark Catchlove (another great example of someone who ‘gets’ this and is doing good work in the people and places space) of Herman Miller, to facilitate a consultation on Social Capital in the Workplace at St George’s House within the walls of Windsor Castle. This was a fascinating conversation among a mix of people across a wide range of industries and disciplines. We talked about people and places, senses and spaces. A detailed report of the conversation has been published here. The same group is reconvening again very soon to share our experiences since the initial conversation in January. What have we learned, what have we done? Doubtless more to follow.

In a city the atmosphere is all around you and is ever changing. New things will become old things…Time is a great architect. Alvaro Siza

People Property and CSR

I previously worked with a client in a financial services firm. She was the Director of People, Property and CSR and did a great job of coordinating these important, related activities. This person would always consider the people aspects of property moves and changes, and vice versa. Breaking down silos was a hobby of hers, and walls would regularly be knocked down and moved as attempts were made to foster a more collaborative way of working. And she would regularly invite contributions and criticism from colleagues around the business related to planned work. Why wouldn’t she – after all, getting this stuff right was the responsibility of her and her team!

Sensing Spaces

In February I wrote a blog post titled Mood Lighting. It was about a trip I took with Mervyn Dinnen to visit the Sensing Spaces exhibition at the Royal Academy. After our visit, as we spoke about the exhibition, Mervyn told me that one of the biggest impacts he observed while walking around, was how the mood of our conversation altered depending on the space we occupied. This exhibition was an enjoyable and interesting look at the impact space has on your senses. If the art world can explore the possibilities, then why can’t more of us in business do likewise?

Allowing room for the visitor’s imagination is essential if a space is to become a satisfying physical experience. Li Xiaodong

I’d like to wish good luck to the bridge builders at BIFM and CIPD. I have a slight reservation about building bridges, and that is that when we do this, the bridges typically connect one place to another. For this collaboration to work, I expect it will need to connect many people to many people, and many spaces to many spaces. For me, these connections already exist. They may not yet be strong enough, and there may not be enough of them, but they are out there.

People and Places : Sensing Spaces.

Here’s a related post about next steps, just published by Simon Heath.

Mood Lighting

Mervyn Dinnen and I had a wander round the Sensing Spaces exhibition at The Royal Academy this week. The exhibition, which is as much if not more about the space you occupy and the mood that emerges from that occupation, rather than art you look at, feels a little outside the Royal Academy’s comfort zone. You are encouraged to move around the exhibition in any direction you please, so we started with an ascent to the ceiling via an enclosed series of ramps and spiral staircases.

On top of the platform we admired the ceiling close up, and (mostly) kept our hands off the historical architecture.

Please Do Not Touch The Historical Architecture

We moved round the exhibition drifting through various degrees of light and shade, standing on and touching different surfaces (no keep off signs this time), occupying different spaces.

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We continued our wander around and afterwards, stopped for a coffee (him) and a beer (me). As we spoke about the exhibition, Mervyn told me that one of the biggest impacts he observed while walking around, was how the mood of our conversation altered depending on the space we occupied. He was right. Earlier on, as we ascended to the ceiling we talked optimistically and enthusiastically in the bright open space. Our conversation became playful as we moved through a brightly coloured environment made of plastic straws. Here – you are given the option to play with the straws and integrate your work into a mass of colour. We drifted through darker spaces too, and just as the light dimmed so did the volume and tone of our conversation.

I enjoyed catching up with Mervyn, and the exhibition has caused me to think on about the spaces in which we work and play, and the extent to which their design can and does affect us. The exhibition runs until April 6th and if you find yourself in London with an hour or two to spare before then, it’s well worth a visit.