The importance of the right chair
I’d never pondered the effect a chair could have on creativity until I turned up at SCA in April. For the first few weeks, our small cohort sat in a side room when we weren’t taking classes. We did this mostly out of awkwardness given the year that was finishing at the time had their favoured spots and to break the sacred order seemed a tad presumptuous. For two weeks we sat in our room and singularly failed to remember what seems to be the key aspect of creativity, surrounding yourself with creatives and their work. As much as we’d all like to think if we sit at an empty desk in a silent room for long enough, we’ll come up with a diamond it’s demonstrably not true, as anyone who’s ever attempted it will realise. Creativity is sitting in a crossfire of ideas, events, and discussion and catching things flying past your head before jamming them into a new mould and having someone else help you beat it into shape.
So where do the chairs come into this? Well after a few weeks of being cooped up we all gradually shifted out to new tables amongst the other year. To nobody’s surprise, except maybe our own, our ideas improved. It was almost like creative isolation without reference to experience or critique didn’t produce quality work. So apparently the key to creativity is sitting twenty feet to the right. To move away from unhelpful sarcasm for a second I think this moment of change taught me a fundamental lesson about myself. For some, the monk-like silence may be ideal but clearly, it is not for me. I need to be sitting in a blender of other people’s conversations, suggestions, discussions, and work to not just produce better work, but also at a simpler level, to enjoy myself.
With this thought in mind when I came into the new term, I wedged myself firmly into a corner of the busiest and loudest floor I could find at the school. Agreed, the sound of Beyblades being fired off in the background, comments on my angry octopus mug Hank, and the ever-present chaos of littered scamps may not be for everyone, but if there was ever a place for me to try and improve my creative work, this is it. So, if there is a point to this rambling discussion of seating and odd life-choices it would most probably be this, if the desk you’re sitting at is creatively cold, maybe the answer might be as simple as picking up your work and wandering out to find a little bit of chaos of your own. It may not work for everyone, it may not work every day, but now and then sitting at the centre of a conversational whirlpool might just hand you the raw materials of a great idea. For all that advertising is a serious industry selling serious concepts in serious rooms it is underpinned by creativity, and I’m starting to realise that no creative ever produced their best work when they weren’t having fun.