Quite often when working in a corporate environment, we find inspiration by staring out the window, or by taking subtle looks at our party photos on Facebook (although both of these things can only be done when our supervisors back is turned). We usually don’t find inspiration on the walls of our office or cubicle, since decoration is often limited to “funny” (but really just dull) cartoons and those slightly annoying inspirational posters, like that “hang in there” kitten, and such posters in the same vein. The correct selection of office artwork can create an atmosphere that encourages productivity and an oft-needed sense of serenity. So how do you choose the best artwork for your office?
A “Classic” Office
The Internet is awash with stockists that offer framed replicas of masterpieces ready to hang in your office. In some offices, these can have the intended effect of lending a bit of class to your establishment. But of course, this is not always appropriate—a Mona Lisa print might not necessarily make dentist patients think that they’ve accidentally wandered into the Louvre. And of course, the beauty of a classic painting is rather subjective, and your customers might not appreciate the finer elements of a Salvador Dali.
A Classic Office on a Budget
Larger companies can actually amass large collections of valuable pieces of art, depending on whether the board deems it to be culturally significant. Senior management at Germany’s Bayer Group might find themselves lucky enough to work in an office with a Picasso original. While smaller offices might not have the budget to acquire artworks of this magnitude, they can certainly invest in pieces from up-and-coming artists that might have a significant cultural and financial value in the future. Another perk is that office artworks can be subject to a corporate tax deduction.
A Personalized Office
Allowing employees to put up whatever they want on the walls can get tricky, but is a nice idea. Personal photos can actually be a great way to brighten an employee’s personal space, and while it has negative connotations, it helps them to “get through the day.” There’s a great episode of The Simpsons, when the family wonders why there are no baby photos of Maggie Simpson, only to discover that Homer keeps them at his office, which makes his day bearable. Not all photos of friends and family are appropriate for the office (drunk photos, for example), and so it’s up to management to set the tone about what is acceptable.
Selecting artwork for the office is never an easy task. It can be best achieved through a collaborative effort—actually asking your employees about what sort of thing they would like, since they’re the ones who will be staring at it all day long. Taking a bit of time to decide will yield the best possible results, otherwise you might end up just taking the easy option and buying one of those genetic Ikea prints that have graced the walls of thousands of homes and offices all over the world.
Georgia Webster is a freelance blogger writing on behalf of Acrylicize, an art collective and consultancy group.
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