A series of short interviews about how creative professionals play at work. In the fifth installment, we hear from architect and designer Lars Vejen.
What is the value of play in design?
Playing basically keeps your “inner unspoiled senses” alive and awake! At best, it makes you forget both time and place - makes you interact and engage 100% simply because nothing else exists in that moment! Playing “cleans the table” and sets you free from conventional thinking, references and “how we used to do”. Playing makes you one with pen and paper chasing the idea into physical form.
As a designer, how do you use play in your creative process?
For me - mainly working alone in the major parts of the creative process - play is often as simple as doodling with a pen on paper or cutting and folding the first primitive paper models to consider a form and a function. Doodling also works very well without the tools - as thoughts turned upside down during a walk in nature, everyday tasks at home or in the changing scenes of a journey - where the focus is naturally forced in numerous directions.
What advice would you give to those who wish to incorporate more playfulness in their work?
For me, it works well to never tie myself to a specific workplace - or playground if you like! For me creative thinking is genuinely set free when simply becoming a part of whatever other activities I engage in during my day. It is never something turned on or off just because I sit down at my desk. Another good piece of advice is finding someone to play with - whether it is a creative family member, friend, or professional client. Having other people’s eyes and thoughts on your work will often give you valuable input for use in the ongoing and never-ending creative process - aiming for perfection but knowing it will never be achieved.