Wall, floor and other coverings stimulate action and reaction.
It always amuses me to watch the couples featured on HGTV’s “Love It or List It” announce, upon entry to a new room of a house they’re being shown, “Well, that wallpaper has got to go!” It’s often a valid point, but my amusement stems from the distance that wallpaper has traveled along its value spectrum – through no fault of its own, mind you – from loved by the previous owners to immediately listed for replacement by the potential new ones. It’s evident that we want our interior surroundings to be our choices, not someone else’s. We want our walls, windows, ceilings and floors to make us feel safe, warm, happy, entertained and inspired.
The same is true for our work and public spaces. It’s well established that vinyl wallcoverings introduce branding and corporate identity benefits to office environments, including color schemes, images, messages, logos and more; productivity can also be positively influenced. Conversely, work environments lacking comfortable, branded and stimulating surroundings lose those opportunities. Interior wall-coverings of public spaces similarly affect their inhabitants. If you’re like me, you’ve probably felt vaguely sick inside public buildings with walls painted “institutional yellow.”
PROJECTING THE POSITIVE
This brings us to the Baltimore Library Project, which invests in community infrastructure improvements – books, technology, staffing and even food assistance – to improve its patrons’ lives. Backed by a $10 million commitment from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation combined with more than 40 local government and business entities, the Project launched in the summer of 2011.
Partially because printed wall, floor and ceiling graphics are among its tasks, the Project tapped Dan Proctor of Kirk Designs Inc. (Baltimore) to produce kid-friendly concepts for the first few library branches to be renovated. In turn, Proctor collaborated with Baltimore-based Stuckey Design and Company B Design, as well as Dave Gimbel, owner of Signs by Tomorrow Alexandria (SBTA; Alexandria, VA). “We all worked closely together … to stimulate imagination in the spaces,” Gimbel said.
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