Run & Walk for the American Heart Association

Hurray for Scott Hines, who’s been busy organizing a Mancini•Duffy/TSC team to participate in the American Heart Association’s 2012 Wall Street Run & Heart Walk on Thursday, May 31st. Participants start the three-mile race at the World Financial Center, and weave their way through the streets of the Financial District, raising money for the organization, which is dedicated to “building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”

As part of Scott’s efforts, he organized a T-shirt design contest, which got a lot of worthy contenders. The ultimate winner was Hendy Bloch’s smart take on the running man Olympic pictogram – it’s made up of little hearts, if you look closely – which edged out the cartoon running dot designed by Scott Harrell (with an assist by Aris Carlot). Amanda Colonna, Herby Joseph, and Filippo Paccagnella also contributed great designs to the contest.

Hendy Bloch’s winning design.

Scott Harrell’s running dot – a close second.

As for the actual run, good luck to everyone on the 31st!

Mancini @ ICFF

Quite the Mancini crew navigated through the crowds yesterday at ICFF.  One of our favorite plumbing fixture exhibitors had us smitten with their fantastic "Sofa Tubs".  Here we are taking a break from our extensive furniture hunt at the brightly designed Kohler booth.

Being a new mom, I recently found myself talking with a group of friends about lack of sleep. From there the conversation quickly turned to how to get the best sleep, and then to the best places to sleep. Some of the more interesting crowd favorites included:  the library, the theatre, on the train, or at church/temple/place of worship…  But the one that caught my attention the most was: in the office, during meetings!  It was also concluded by common consensus that such sleep-worthy meetings were always the ones that involve a large group (10+ people) and that last a long time – factors that generally mean that only some of the people present get to contribute.  As for the others?  They simply get some shut-eye.

Now, being a workplace consultant constantly finding ways to make the places where we do our work more productive – especially collaborative spaces, which are seen as the most important part of a physical office space – I was forced to ponder this phenomenon.

Even though we might be seeing an increasing need for small, informal, and dynamic collaborative spaces, the need remains for presentation rooms and enclosed meeting rooms able to host larger groups. Apart from the fact that meetings of such size and nature should be carefully planned by the facilitator to maximize engagement, how can we, as designers, lend a hand? There’s a lot of research, buzz, and momentum behind the design of incidental, informal collaborative spaces, but it seems that the spaces for planned collaboration/meeting aren’t given as much attention.

Maybe we should approach the design and utilization of meeting spaces differently.  Instead of a meeting space being designed based only on the capacity it can seat – which is the usual practice – what if it’s based on the type of collaboration and nature of the meeting? That is, what if spaces were designed with a specific function in mind?  For example, a presentation room would have shorter sight-lines to the presenter, while an interactive brainstorming room might have reconfigurable furniture, and multi-directional screens and whiteboards. And then a room could be chosen by users not by its description (“12-person,” etc.), but whether it’s a presentation room, a brainstorming room, a work session room, a review room, etc.

Of course, this would mean that the conferencing needs of the user group would have to be profiled in as much detail as possible at the onset of a project in order to successfully provide the right mix of such specifically designed collaborative spaces. Also, since these meeting spaces would most likely be shared by various groups rather than be “dedicated,” their location would have to be carefully planned in relation to the floor plate and main circulation paths – they would have to be easily accessible and able to work with changing business requirements and team sizes. And maybe we could also take a few cues from biophilic design principles in order to make the collaborative spaces more productive.

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this topic, and I’m certainly open to more discussion. Feel free to respond to this or email me separately. In the meantime, here’s to a good night’s sleep.

Partners in Preservation

Only one of 40 worthy contenders: the Museum of the American Indian.
Partners in Preservation, a community-based program that provides grants for the preservation of local historic places, is coming to NYC. What does this mean for us? Well, it means that up through May 21st, everyone can vote for their favorites among 40 historic places throughout our five boroughs to receive preservation funding. There are many worthy institutions on the list, from the Caribbean Cultural Center to the Henry Street Settlement to the Louis Armstrong House Museum to the Brown Memorial Baptist Church, and you get one vote a day, so vote early and often! Registration is quick and easy. The total giveaway (which is funded by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation) is three million dollars – so help spread the cheddar.