At AdventureLAB, much of our work can be defined as adding value to a place or creating a place of value altogether. To do this successfully, we strongly believe the concept of value has to have a deeper meaning than that of the monetary payoff for the owner or operator.
What is valuable and what is not, is in the eye of the beholder. Under the feet of the traveler. On the tongue of the gourmet. Or in the excitement experienced by the attraction guest. Value is as differently perceived as we are as human beings.
Different people, different values
I am writing this at DOKK1 in Aarhus, Denmark. It is a library, in fact, it has been awarded as the World’s best new library by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and it transcends the common perception of such a space. If you are thinking dusty books, please think again. You will find books and other media here, but it is also a modern event space, in fact, we are taking part at a business event here on this day It is a public speaking space. It is a space of dwelling, exploring, meeting, collaborating, playing, and much more. It is of immense value to a lot of different people regardless of age, nationality, and profession. If you ask these people about their reasons for appreciating DOKK1 will be as diverse as they are. Still, they feel as if this space was created for each and every one of them, carefully taking their interests into considerations.
Valuable spaces are more than mere function. When they are no more than this, some places will appear lifeless and dead, regardless of how aesthetically pleasing they have been designed to look. Physical frameworks have so much more potential than just being something to look at from a distance. Valuable spaces are capable of creating emotional connections between people and events with the power of presence and immersion. These connections can let us travel across time, as we stand in awe at a historical site, or create bridges across cultural differences through shared affection. They let us experience something that can create small and big change inside of us. It can be a transformative experience that will give you a fresh perspective on things, motivate you to make a change, a few moments of joy that we share or even a touch of peace and serenity.
More than bricks and stones
That is the power and value of valuable spaces. They are not about bricks or stones, but about how people can become happier, wiser, inspired or more knowledgable simply by being there. Such spaces are about hearts and minds, and by considering this and putting people first in your spatial design, you will learn the value of creating valuable spaces, regardless of what kind of space it is. It will open a new dimension to you and your guests, visitors and customers and their reason for visiting, staying and coming back again and again.
If you want to learn more about how the creation of valuable spaces works and how it is applicable to you and your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact the author of this article, Klaus Sommer Paulsen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustration by Diana Dovgialo