In his 1933 book, In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki gave the world a gift, a quiet meditation that forever changes the perspective of anyone who reads it. Although his focus was on the decline of the Japanese aesthetic in the face of mounting Westernization, his descriptions of the subtle pleasures and beauty to be found in things as they are will leave an imprint on your mind.
Tanizaki was disturbed, in particular, by the Western need to electrically illuminate every corner of every room – and this was well before the electric light had conquered so very many corners of the planet. Nowadays, with the sheer number of hours people spend in their workplaces and artificially lit spaces, shadows and natural light have become the exception in our experience. But their value is no less than in Tanizaki’s time.
There is, of course, no shortage of great office design out there, but here we praise the beauty offered to us by companies that have brought the outdoors into their interiors in innovative and sensitive ways.
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