More or less creative spaces

Wherever you go, there you are—and it matters. Robert Gifford, 2014

Gifford (2014) reminds us that we are “always embedded in a place (p.543).” Environmental psychology pursues the investigation of how space whether virtual (new reality) or physical (old reality) effects what it means to be human (Gifford, 2014, p.565). Place and identity are inextricably linked to how we see the world, find our way in it, manage the different spaces we find ourselves in and engage with them. Evidence from environmental psychology also supports the impact of built environments to provide restoration or stress (Gifford, 2014, p.541).

Space designed to inspire learning, creativity and innovation, to paraphrase Pasteur, “favours the intentional mind” (Kelly, 2014). So what makes these spaces feel more innovative or creative than other spaces? It is the essential ingredients of intentionally designed spaces and opportunities to inspire, encourage visualising the impossible, encourage meeting and collaboration (Brown, 2009, p.80-81). How? Through the use of colour, texture and open, flexible, organic spaces where learners or employees can create. More creative spaces provide opportunities to “project fantasies into ordinary spaces” (Chan, 2012).

Innovative spaces succeed and become more rather than less when “rich conversations between designers and educators” connect to reimagine built and virtual spaces (Newton, 2011).


Here is my workspace…

office workspace

© Hyacinth Steele, 2016


… and here is Pixar


Chan, K. (2012, January 11). Stockholm’s school without classrooms [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Gifford, R. (2014). Environmental psychology matters. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 541-579.

Kelly, T. (2014). Invite serendipity to your cafe and expect innovation. Wired magazine, January. Retrieved from

Newton. C. (2011, September 1). Innovative learning spaces [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Office Snapshots. (2012, July 17). Pixar headquarters and the legacy of Steve Jobs [Web log post]. Retrieved from

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