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GenslerOnWork examines the modern workplace and how design can help us become more engaged and productive as we earn our livings.

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Seeing Through the Hand: Why Drawing Remains Relevant in the Design Process

Concept Sketch, Syracuse University, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Renovation

Drawing. We’ve all done it. So why is it the exception not the norm in design today. Architecture and design schools have, for the most part, stopped teaching hand drawing, so students don’t regard it as an integral part of the thinking process. Now that computers can create just about any virtual and real-looking environment, drawing is perceived as old-fashioned and slow. Contemporary culture pushes us to celebrate the newest approaches and the latest and greatest gadgets, devices and software. This is unfortunate, because while drawing currently resides on the “out” list, it should be a go-to tool for all designers. Instead it’s become the refuge of senior designers like me, who still appreciate drawing’s capacity to incite creative thinking and engender high levels of understanding.

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Do I Really Need My Office? 

Image © Bethany Legg

As the debate over next generation legal offices carries on, we are seeing an acceptance of open plan settings amongst fee earners at a number of U.K.-headquartered law firms. This slow yet growing trend is still far from the norm when it comes to legal office design, and it may always pale in comparison to the percentage of firms who oppose a cellular occupation.

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The 3D Printing Revolution 

Image © Gensler

We’re always being told that the world is constantly changing and that innovation is increasing at an ever growing rate. This is true for the most part. Walk down the street and you’re likely to bump into someone who’s staring intently at a smartphone that 10 years ago was just an idea in Steve Jobs head. The ways we communicate, shop, and socialize are profoundly different than they were in the recent past, and further advances in fields from artificial intelligence to augmented reality mean much more change is still to come.

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Why Corporate Bathrooms Stink and How Good Design Can Fix This

Bathrooms in hotels, restrooms and even airports tend to carry a touch of class that bathrooms in corporate offices so often lack. Pictured above: a ladies room in SFO Terminal 2. Image © Bruce Damonte.

When I started my career, I never thought I would spend so much time talking about corporate bathrooms. But the truth is people feel passionately about them. They might be the most underappreciated and most necessary spaces in the workplace. Everyone has to go there (no giggles please), and the experience usually falls somewhere between bland and horrifying. It’s no wonder that so many people I talk to on projects—from executive leaders to employees—bring up bathrooms as one of their top complaints.

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How Technology Has Changed Workplace Design in the Financial Services Sector, Part 1

Every iteration of technology changes how people work. Image © Gensler

Recently, while discussing some tweaks to the layout of his own office, I was asked by an investment industry leader, “What’s changed in office designs?”

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