21 October, 2009

"Pondering Happiness . . . "

Good Morning,

Yes, you are correct. I'm actually going to write a design blog post about being in Disneyland. It's taken me over a week to shoehorn this in, but seriously, I think I might be on to something here . . . so put on your Mickey ears if you have them handy, and read on.

So here's what I've been thinking - Disneyland is commonly referred to as "The Happiest Place on Earth," and well, that's a big title to have to live up to each and every day. And it doesn't just happen by accident. Here are some ideas that help to make that happen -

1) Even though the park continues to evolve - so that it feels new and exciting - it's also able to tap into those visceral memories of childhood and of the park from years ago. Nostalgia can be a very powerful emotion. And having that sense of history gives the park some emotional depth.

2) You know how long you're going to be in line. I *LOVE* this about Disneyland! There are signs at the beginning of each line saying "the wait for this ride is XX minutes." I didn't mind waiting for 45 minutes for a ride, as long as I knew that's what the wait would be. And, of course, we would all look at our watches and see how close the prediction was. Most of the day, it was within 2 to 3 minutes. (p.s. and the only moment of crankiness during the entire day - was when that prediction was wrong. and let me tell you - it was late, and we were cranky. lol)

3) The park is just incredibly clean and well organized. I've never heard of anyone running out of change. All the bathroom stalls have proper locks. and toilet paper.

4) There will be moments of unexpected magic. Maybe just waiting around the corner. Street performers. Wandering musicians. Little girls in princess dresses seeing the park for the first time. People from every culture. Families laughing and taking photographs.

Ok. So what the heck does this have to do with interior design? How can one have the "happiest design on Earth?" Well, let's try to apply the aforementioned thoughts -

1) Though the style of your interiors is always evolving, you still need it to have a strong sense of history. I've had the great pleasure of helping clients change the way they live - and that's a huge change for most people, and a difficult one if you're not careful. I love when we're able to re-use, or at least re-purpose, existing items from the house. I want people to feel a sense of history in their own home. Those personal mementos can give a brand new room a depth of memory. It gives a sense of continuity to the space.

2) You understand how long the process is going to take. And this is one of the "big ones." I've never had an issue with a client over a delivery date as long as we all knew, when an item was first ordered, that it was going to take 12 weeks, or 16 weeks, or whatever. Setting a realistic expectation can make everything run more smoothly.

3) Everything is clean. One of the best bits of advice I received as a new designer was to be ready to roll my sleeves up. In the trunk of my car is a workbag of tools and cleaning supplies. Glass cleaner, furniture polish, a hand steamer, picture wire, hammer, nails, drill gun, tape measure, and so on. One of the best ways to solve a problem - is to solve it quickly. There's little more frustrating than needing a staple gun to fix a tiny problem, and not having one handy. Or being out of staples. lol. Have a look in your tool drawer at home - do you have everything you need?

4) And prepare yourself for moments of unexpected magic. And sometimes this one is hard for me - lol - as I tend to be a voracious planner. But, when the truck pulls up outside - or you unpack the shopping bags from the trunk - relax. Use the plan you've been working from, but let you're creativity soar. You'll be amazed by what can happen when you don't limit your imagination.

And 'unlimited imagination' is what Disneyland - and great design - is all about.

Told ya I could make that work,


GrannySmithGreen said...

Your points were so true and insightful. #3--the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared! I really liked that one. Doesn't it just stink not to have the proper picture hanger, etc...

Mrs. Blandings said...

Not that I didn't have faith, but that was very impressive.

Anonymous said...

happy, happy, happy! You nailed it on the head on all four points. Nicely done.

christina fluegge said...

love disneyland- great post.. it is always the best to be prepared and use your imagination!

maison21 said...

great post, scot- nicely said.


Great analogy - This is the kind of posts that I know take time to create, plan and elaborate. It is Brilliant!

I had so much fun reading your thoughts and I have to say that one of my biggest hits as designers is my tool box in my installations - I even carry princess band-aids for Echito.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

OK, I'm impressed. You brought that full circle and taught me a thing or two.

Let's hear it for the magic moments.

Anonymous said...

I loved your analogies, but I didn't love Disneyland.

katiedid said...

Being a Disneyland junkie myself, I have not heard such a perfect description before. And now that you have connected my two loves so well, I will hve to excuse but to follow your advice. Who doesn't want to have the happiest clients on Earth?

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