Question of the week:

We’re just finishing off our August issue here at CR and couldn’t help noticing that, in two of our major features, lunchtime arrangements are cited as a key factor in maintaining the right kind of studio or agency culture. So what do you do for the mid-day meal?

We’re just finishing off our August issue here at CR and couldn’t help noticing that, in two of our major features, lunchtime arrangements are cited as a key factor in maintaining the right kind of studio or agency culture. So what do you do for the mid-day meal?

Our August issue (out July 19) includes a lengthy profile piece on illustrator Marion Deuchars. In the piece, Deuchars talks about the importance of maintaining a place in a busy studio rather than working as a “lonely artists in a garret”. In particular, she cites the importance of lunchtime: “The thing that’s crucial in our studio,” she says, “is that we have a big communal table and we all eat lunch there, we don’t eat at our desks.
I think it’s something that a lot of people are giving up in favour of munching a sandwich alone but there is a lot of cross-fertilisation that takes place…” The inference being that it is at lunchtime that all this cross-fertilisation, as well as stimulating discussion, comes about.

Lunch time at the Total Design offices, as featured in Unit’s new book on the seminal Dutch design firm. Note all the milk bottles: the last time we saw that many pintas being drunk was after a 1970s FA Cup final

Then, later on in the issue, we have an extract from Unit‘s new book on Dutch studio Total Design in which Ben Bos talks about the culture of the place, some of which they adapted from that of UK studio Fletcher/Forbes/Gill, the precursor to Pentagram. “Another practice copied from Fletcher/Forbes/Gill was taking lunch together every day,” he says. “This was the moment when the management team mingled with all the staff without formality.”

Pentagram preserves this tradition to this day. In advertising too, some agencies place great importance on the communal repast – staff at Mother, for example, are encouraged to sit at long tables together just inside the agency’s main entrance (shown above).

The feeling seems to be that having lunch together is vital in maintaining cohesion and an internal culture. That it saves time on formal meetings. That it helps new staff to integrate. And that it’s so much nicer than everyone munching a take-away sandwich at their desk.

So where do you stand on all this? Big family lunch or sandwich of solitude?

 

 

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