Thursday, March 26, 2009

Random thoughts: Reception

A company’s reception area offers a big clue to its character. I’m sitting in one now. Beautiful minimalist décor and elegantly designed lighting, but receptionists who have spoken to me with a mixture of suspicion and irritation. Steel, grey and white. Modernist leather chairs that feel like Mies Van Der Rohe designed them whilst in a particularly sadistic mood. Counter-intuitive doors on the toilet that open the wrong way so they feel locked until you pull them.

It’s all semiotics. The body language of an entire company.

I’m considering what all this tells me and waiting for someone to collect me. That’s always an awfully apprehensive feeling when you have an interview. The hope of someone grabbing you quickly when you see people approach, then the anticlimax when they walk past, looking at you looking at them and knowing you’re waiting for an interview. One feels exposed and a little foolish.

I’m not here for an interview, however, so at least I can relax, feel my arse go numb in this torturous piece of furniture and look high-powered and dynamic by writing this on my laptop. It seems to me that we spend a great deal of our working life trying to look high-powered and dynamic when, in fact, we’re flawed and a bit foolish.

Or am I simply driven to introspection by this stripped-down corporate purgatory?


Brother Tobias said...

The counter-intuitive toilet doors are the product of in-depth health and safety studies. People are more likely to rush into a loo in a hurry than to rush out of one. Toilet doors are the third highest cause of accidents in the office, after photocopiers and stationery cupboards.

Tristan said...

Bruv - are you making that up or is there quantitative data that proves these claims?!

Steve said...

Sounds like my dentist's waiting room. Apart from the toilet. Strangely there isn't one.

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