This experiment by Google and the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University, is interesting. I don’t think that I read in it the “scientific proof,” claimed by the title of the review, however. As reported, it was a cool way of illustrating for people that they react differently in differently design spaces. But when we say, “Ooh, this is a cool space,” haven’t we already affirmed that? Is neuroscience essential to prove the evident?
If we were to extend its observations into the world of workplace planning and design, though, there are some things we might test, some sense of how we might design. In many cases, a workplace is designed with a consistent theme, an alignment with a company’s brand or culture. It is rare that a workplace is designed to reflect the reality of changing moods or emotions in the course of the day. It is rare that neuroaesthetic “science” influences the design of physical settings for to support the psychological mindset for each type of work. We say conference room or office, but we rarely say, “essential,” or “vital,” or “transformative.”
Rather than a branded environment, then, would we serve the people in the organization better by providing a variety of settings where they’d find the right mood for the type work they’re doing at any time?