What does a private office have to do with a bathroom door? Privacy, certainly, but it’s not about the executive washroom; it’s about the design of private spaces in the office and on a cruise ship. In the former case, the Wall Street Journal challenged four design firms to come up with the ultimate executive office. They all worked separately, but they all came up with a common theme: glass walls.
One commentator thought this was a way for leaders to be more transparent. But who wants to work in a fishbowl? Or live in one? The same day the Journal article posted, USA Today ran a piece on a new design for cruise ship cabins. The big news was that the Norwegian Line is abandoning a “compact” cabin design that put the bathroom in the open. It seems the experience gave the phrase “sea-faring adventure” a whole new meaning. Privacy, in all kinds of forms, is a necessary part of life. In the office, some people may need floor-to-ceiling solid walls and a door. For example, Herman Miller executives work in glass-walled pods with open ceilings and doors, but the glass walls can be made opaque at the flick of a switch. Plus, the offices are small and meant for intensive work. Meetings and private conversations are held elsewhere. What do you think: Is glass the answer?