Welcome to The Midnight Lunch

Just Full Of Ideas by Cayusa, on Flickr There are many interior design and architecture blogs that feature new and beautiful projects, products, art and design inspiration, both Australian and international. This blog aims to be something different. A place to discuss the process and practice of interior design.

Even in a larger architecture or design practice interior design teams can be fairly small and particularly for senior designers it can be hard to find much in the way of professional development and continuing education. I’m really impressed in this regard by the way psychologists have to have a more experienced mentor (usually they actually pay for this), its generally not someone they work with and there is a formality to the number of hours and how the whole process works. Some people offer group sessions which offer a lot of opportunity for discussion and the chance to realise that others are challenged by the same problems you face. That is what I’d like this blog to be about.

For me, interior design is also not just about interior designers. My background is working in an integrated design practice alongside project managers and engineers. Going even further, a truly integrated design project will bring other external parties including the client, the contractor and the quantity surveyor along the design journey too. This is the ideal for a truly collaborative and integrated project but in our industry do rarely achieved.

I’m sure many readers are wondering where the name The Midnight Lunch came from – as it is not an obvious architecture or interior design reference. I found the term first of all online as the title of a new book – a biography of Thomas Edison, one of the worlds greatest innovators and collaborators. I’ve reproduced below the explanation of what the term The Midnight Lunch came from, which comes from a blog post written by the book’s author, Sarah Miller Calidcott.

“Starting at about 7 PM, all who were still present at the Menlo Park lab would roll up their sleeves, and share insights about the experiments they were undertaking. This meant that employees from any area of specialty could mingle with others holding completely different backgrounds, and learn from them. Often these casual, unstructured conversations yielded deeply creative outcomes.

After an hour or two, there would be a pause in this heady dialogue. Edison would order in sandwiches and beverages for everyone from a local tavern. Everyone present would kick back, eat, sing songs, tell stories, play music, and generally let their hair down. Regardless of title or tenure, there were no limits on participation.

During midnight lunch, no one was ‘monitoring’ things. No one was dreaming up something negative to put on your performance appraisal. From apprentices all the way up to Edison himself, during midnight lunch, everyone simply engaged their best thinking in a casual, hands-on environment. In short, workers became colleagues.”

If you are interested in the full blog article, here is the link:
http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2012/12/16/what-is-a-midnight-lunch-closing-the-collaboration-gap/

I am aiming for this blog to discuss topics such as design management and leadership, managing the creative process, professional development and learning as a designer, managing clients, documentation and the use of tools such as BIM or other new ways of working and using technology to help us better manage our time. As many people who know me will have heard me say the better we can manage and process all of these routine things the more time we have to focus on the design itself and the greater chance of ending the project with a satisfied client, a design project the design team have enjoyed working on and are proud of and most of all an interior which the occupants believe is beautiful and functional – and improves their day in some way.

So if you’ve got any suggestions of topics you’d like to see discussed please post a comment. What are the things you think could be improved upon in design practice? What are the little mistakes or annoyances that hinder your work? Or how have you improved your practice?

Image credits:
by CayusaCreative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License

One Response to Welcome to The Midnight Lunch

  1. CeilidhHiggins

    Swanilli – Thanks for sharing your knowledge of Edison. I myself am not so well read in this area. In any case, I like the idea of a casual collaboration, and as so many architects tend to work long hours, the notion of a midnight lunch seems a good one!

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