What’s in a name?

How much has the name your parents chose for you affected you during your education or or even your career? What influenced them to choose the name as well? My parents chose Mark, a simple short concise and easy to say name, as they were annoyed that my brother Michael was never  called by his real name – he was Mick to everyone, and even eventually to my parents. Some names conjure up a social class, some give an insight to parents musical or cinematic preferences. For most people, that name will be with you for the rest of their lives, so choosing a name comes with huge responsibility.

If you have gone through the challenges of choosing names for either a building, or rooms and spaces within a building, you will know that this is also is fraught with difficulties. I do, however have a simple piece of advice, try not to create names which in some way direct the activities that the rooms are intended for. If you want to stifle creativity, then call the space ‘The Creativity Lab’. If you want to discourage collaboration, then call the the space ‘The Collaboration Space’. I can’t back this theory up with solid peer reviewed research, but it is based on observation of spaces. I love the story, if somewhat apocryphal, of the executive who was invited to a meeting in ‘Johannesburg’ . Not until he arrived in his Johannesburg office did he realise that it was meant to be the Johannesburg meeting room back in his UK office – oops!


Our International Headquarters is an award winning  building in Chippenham, designed  by Gensler, and has recently undergone a redesign of the interior space. We have been excited to host a great number of our dealers from the UK and around Europe. After an internal naming competition, we chose VillageGreen as the name of the building. This name was chosen with excellent intentions; Village captured the feeling of community, and Green reflects the Environmental credentials of the building. However, try explaining the name to our overseas visitors and you suddenly realise that maybe it wasn’t quite as obvious as we had hoped.

How did you choose the name of your building, and and more importantly the spaces withing the building – or did you avoid any misinterpretation and just settle for numbers?


About Mark Catchlove

All views are my own
This entry was posted in Design, Learning, Psychology, Workplace. Bookmark the permalink.

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