Art and Science; Bridging Abstracts With an Absolute

Feb 6, 2012 5:00 PM ET

Sodexo Workforce and Diversity Blog

by Kevin Rettle

Kevin Rettle is the director of marketing, Sodexo Facilities Management Solutions

In our recent Workplace Trends Report, I explored the resurrection of evidence-based space design (EBD).  I know, I know – many of you are asking, what is EBD? If you read the brief with its history, application, and business case for using ebd, you will realize it’s all quite logical. Consider this: as corporate real estate executives transition their roles from administrative tactics to enablers of their companies' performance, the use of evidence based design becomes a natural instrument to the creation of space and service architectures that maximize performance of individuals and organizations.   Architects, designers, and service professionals are being challenged more than ever to create inspiring space that is both beautiful and functional; offices and workspaces that are collaborative, but also contribute to effective individual work; amenities that contribute to efficient output while creating places that people want to work at; hard services that safely maintain mission critical plant operations 24/7 and contribute to healthful environments. EBD connects end user needs and expectations with architecture and design considerations, while enabling fact-based decisions that are also fiscally responsible.    So how do we bridge the subjective “art” with the objective "science" to create space that works? EBD acts as the conduit between emotion and architecture; intuition and investigation; idiosyncratic and metrics based outcomes.  A number of tools are employed by practitioners of EBD. Modality studies, psychographic analysis, ergonomics, color studies, end user preferences, environmental impact, and health impact are a small sampling of these.  The use of these methods not only influences architectural and service design, but also serves as a predictive model of future performance.   Sodexo has long used proprietary evidence based design methods in developing service architectures that yield highly performing individuals, contributing to the progress of the organizations that they serve, and spaces that are inspirational, while also minimizing environmental impact.  Still wondering what I mean? Learn more by reading our Nokia case study.   SODE20857