Weaves for the Wall (Elle Decoration)

Expect to see blankets migrating from beds and sofas to the walls of your home this year. As our homes become more digitalised and music, books, and photo albums follow cameras, calendars, and computers into the tiny technology in our smartphones and tablets, the question of what to fill our homes with becomes less driven by function and more about emotion. With less need for stuff, we can become more selective about the objects we choose to display in our homes and what they say about us. ‘We are surrounded by fabric from the cradle to the grave and yet it still has the power to inspire, stimulate and challenge us,’ says textile artist and designer Ekta Kaul. ‘The colour, texture, patterns and symbols of textiles all convey narratives and define identities.’

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Quilts, blankets and embroidered textiles have a rich history of storytelling and have been used to mark special occasions such as births and weddings for thousands of years – and in more recent times have also been used for everything from therapy to protest. ‘Textile artforms are amazing carriers of meaning and expression,’ says Forest and Found’s Abigail Booth. ‘More and more artists and crafts practitioners are turning to textiles as a way to explore ideas through making – people connect more deeply to such a familiar language.’

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Traditionally wrapped around our shoulders, or tucked over our beds, there is a warmth and immediacy to blankets that provokes an emotional response to art in this medium. ‘As well as being visually stimulating, textiles have a domestic quality that means people can relate to them in a way they don’t relate to formal art forms behind glass,’ explains printmaker Mark Hearld. ‘They can be used to soften the severity of architectural spaces and bring texture, richness, depth and often a sense of playfulness to contemporary interior design schemes – in times of uncertainty, people need their homes to feel like a sanctuary and textiles offer that warmth and comfort.’

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In our ever more harried lives, they also argue for a slower pace. ‘There is a palpable sense of time in textiles-based art,’ says artist and maker Maxine Sutton. ‘The time spent making – the slowness of the textile processes – can be seen in the final piece and enjoyed by its owners, encouraging them to slow down too.’ Invest in a piece of blanket art you love and we’re sure it will be cherished for generations to come, just like the heirloom quilts of the past.

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MONTHLY JOURNAL POSTS (PELDON ROSE)

Peldon Rose approached Katie Treggiden to write monthly editorial blog posts for their website as part of a broader content marketing strategy. Katie worked closely with the marketing department to put together an editorial calendar to support their marketing objectives and position them as thought leaders. Having agreed monthly topics, she interviewed industry experts and undertook desk research before drafting each post and then working with the in-house SEO team to optimise the copy for the web. The website has seen increased traffic and dwell times and the work is valued within the organisation. ‘Katie brings a fresh approach and valuable advice which helps shape our strategy and deliver successful marketing’. says Benjamin Murray, Head of Marketing at Peldon Rose. ‘She seeks out a diversity of voices for her insightful and well-researched blog posts. Working with her is also really enjoyable – she’s great to collaborate with.’

Please find below an example journal post about using workplace design to attract and retain talent.

Attracting and keeping talent is one of the most pressing issues for businesses today – and something in which workplace design plays a significant role. When we say ‘talent’, what we mean of course is talented people. But what if there was another perspective? In her TED Talk ‘Your elusive creative genius,’ Elizabeth Gilbert argues that creativity does not come from within us, but instead visits us when the conditions are right. In ancient Rome ‘genius’ wasn’t a word used to describe a person, but a divine entity that lived in the walls of artists’ studios and occasionally chose to pay them a visit. The American poet Ruth Stone describes poems barrelling across the landscape towards her like a ‘thunderous train of air’ sending her running for a pencil and paper so she could write them down before they passed her by in search of another poet. In the deserts of North Africa, people used to gather for moonlight dances and occasionally one of the dancers would become ‘lit up with the fire of divinity’ and people would chant ‘Allah, Allah, Allah’ at the incomprehensible brilliance – ‘the glimpse of God’ – that had momentarily inhabited the dancer. It was only with the advent of the Renaissance 500 years ago that creativity started to be understood as coming from within us and with that the usage of the word ‘genius’ changed from something people had to something they were.

What if we went back to these earlier understandings of creativity – to the belief that our most brilliant moments of talent are only ever on loan to us? The brief then becomes not about attracting and retaining talented people, but about attracting talent to the people we already have, coaxing the genius out of our walls and creating spaces that enable our people to do their best work.

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With that in mind here are three ways to coax the genius out of your walls:

Ambiverts
There has been a lot of attention paid to creating spaces for introverts as well as extroverts – cubby holes for those who detest open plan offices. But the truth is two-thirds of people don’t strongly identify as either one or the other, leading to Adam Grant’s research into ‘ambiverts’. It turns out that most people oscillate between the two extremes depending on how they’re feeling or what they’re working on. Getting the best work out of ambiverts is about designing spaces that support different types of work, rather than different types of people. Creating opportunities for dynamic collaboration, spaces for focused introspection, and everything in between – and most importantly encouraging people to move freely between these spaces – enables people to do their best work regardless of where they sit on the introvert-extrovert spectrum today.

Play
Jeffrey Davis recommends the best way to solve a problem is to clearly define it, analyse it, think about it until your head hurts, and then ‘step away and play.’ Creating spaces for seemingly idle recreation attracts moments of genius, whether you believe in the spirit in the wall or just the power of the subconscious mind. The cliché of the table-football table in every advertising agency across the land is actually backed up by science, but it’s not the only solution. Anything from a climbing wall to an Etch-a-Sketch on every desk will encourage breaks from work that foster new connections.

Ownership
Research shows that people work best within environments for which they feel ownership and control. Bickering over the thermostat rarely has as much to do with the temperature as it has to do with autonomy and power. As communal spaces, hot-desking and clear-desk policies risk de-personalising individual workspaces, it’s important to ensure staff feel at home and empowered to do their best work. Involving staff in designing their own office spaces has been shown to increase productivity by as much as 32% and companies that encourage personalisation have better cultures and lower staff turnover rates than those that don’t. Customising digital spaces, team areas or mobile carts that move from desk to desk are all ways of supporting personalisation within a flexible office.

You can read all Katie’s journal posts on the Peldon Rose website: peldonrose.com/insights/