The Next Generation RDS
for the World Economic Forum
2006 and Beyond
In 2005, the Davos WorkPlace was created. The story of its creation [link: innovation studio at wef] and first use [link: images of the 05 davos workplace] is told elsewhere. The physical environment part of this System (made up of work processes, environment and knowledge augmentation tools), was an effective and well received piece of architecture. It was, however, designed to the wrong specifications due to a set of circumstances that prevented the necessary level of collaboration between the World Economic Forum and MG Taylor [link: november 7 update]. What was created was a full capacity MGT RDS NavCenter. What the WEF requires is an RDS design space capable of supporting a variety of specific collaborative activities in a diverse set of circumstances.
In early October, 2005, the WEF and MGT agreed, in principle, to reuse RDS elements in the WorkPlace in support of the 06 Annual Meeting, to transfer the way of working to the WEF and to build a new generation RDS environment [link: 7 domains vision 2005] appropriate for multiple deployments around the world and capable of supporting a wide variety of processes and events based on the Taylor Method and other modes of work and meeting styles. This specification will require a new generation RDS and one very close to the vision first dreamed of in 1983 [link: 1983 rds concept paper] [link: index of rds history and ongoing development].
The next generation RDS will make its debut in the Spring of 2006. As of this posting, November13, 2005, it is still in the Program/Schematic phase of development. At present, the design team is: Matt Taylor - concept; Bill Blackburn - design; Brian Ross - manufacturing - Irina Sokolova computer modeling and rendering. The WEF logistics, media and technical team will join the design process in early December.
The Armature system of this new RDS is a grouping of “Trees” that can be adjusted for height and connected together in various configurations. These trees are of three sizes and are supplemented with two different types of horizontal Armature trusses. Like all Armatures, lighting, power and media wiring runs through the Trees and trusses bringing lighting, power and multimedia where needed to almost any spot within the space. New to this generation Armature is the ability for the Trees and trusses to roll and, in some cases, hinge so that the entire set up can be reconfigured as needed in real time.
The geometry of the Tree clusters create rooms within rooms and layers of spaces - both horizontally and vertically. These areas can serve different functions and provide many places which express an unique sense of place. The dull boring meeting hall of undifferentiated space-less empty-ness, of no view and poor light is transformed into a landscape of rich materials, niches, vistas and spatial variety highlighted with shade and shadow and acoustic interest. The full scope of Pattern Language can be accomplished with manufactured components while allowing the environment to adapt, intimately, to the work and human mood within it - moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, season by season. This is an organic environment which expresses and supports life and facilitates human dialog and creativity.
The Trees mediate between human scale and building scale. Most of what happens in most buildings is from 8 feet (two and half meters) down. Large rooms, necessary for large groups, are top-empty. By creating layers (fore ground, middle ground, back ground - horizontally and vertically), space - not emptiness - is created. Properly placed elements make a fine gradation from room-size to human-size to small-size (those objects smaller than people). The rhythm and modulation of these gradations of size serves architecture as does beat and syncopation does music. Scale relates to human-size. Proportion is the relationship between all of the parts. Proper scale and proportion is necessary for harmony to exist. Harmony is a major factor in the creation of peace of mind. Peace of mind allows one to reach beyond a just-personal concern and focus. Art shifts context - it opens the door to aspiration [link: ayn rand definition of art].

The Tree “Canopy” can be covered with a variety of materials such as metal, wood and fabric. Each provides a different sense of prospect and refuge and each has a distinct light, sound, tactile, smell and visual signature. A great variety of metals, woods and fabrics can be employed providing a rich palette for creating connotative meaning and brand essence. The WorkWalls, WorkFurniture and Armature make up a “platform.” The RDS environment is made fit for its specific time, place and use by the shape and profile of its members, the selection of its colors, materials and the configuration of its components.

Human-made light shining up to the Canopy (of Trees and down on it) can be controlled at each Tree column. This allows the space to be sculptured as is appropriate for the activity being supported. Natural light adds to this and can be “controlled” by the placement of the Trees and other elements. Light becomes playful like is found in a forest. It reflects, refracts, projects highlight on shadows, changes tone, hue and intensity - this is not your father’s painted box. If you want life to prosper while in an environment - give that environment life-like qualities. If you want people to be creative - put them in a place that celebrates it. If you want people to be collaborative - build them an environment that can only be made by the close collaboration of designers, engineers, craft-persons, logistics and project managers and do it with speed and economy. Show them that collaboration works. If you want people to be healthy - build with healthy materials. If you want people to be at ease, even as they work intensely - make a place abundant with positive social symbols and patterns. If you want intellect to flower - create a geometry and space ripe with rigorous, intricate, never-ending layers of precise relationships. If you want intuition to emerge and the soul to fly - then compose a symphony of visual music. Do this and then populate this PLACE with ideas, books, art objects, toys, puzzles and invite people in to play in a process environment of interaction, movement, engagement. Ask them to work on things that matter. Support them with augmentation technology that brings forth their genius. And, DEMAND their best. Make the creative economy/ecology. If you want dreams to come true - build dream-stuff.
There are three sizes of Trees. The largest can be adjusted vertically, when being set up, by adding units at its base. This Tree has to be set up in clusters of three or four for stability. The clusters can roll as a unit. Different clusters can be connected at their apex as desired to form a “forest.” The middle layer Trees are connected by a truss. These connections are hinged, and roll as a unit, so that a variety of geometries can be accomplished. The smallest Trees attach to the the WorkWalls and move with them. In addition, the WorkWalls can be fitted with a light trellis for detailed illumination of their surfaces. All WorkFurniture and stacking chairs are on wheels. This makes an environment that can be reconfigured almost instantly.
The smallest Trees ride on the WorkWalls and fit under the larger ones. This allows a progression of levels and a subtitle control of light.
This is one layout in the Aspen Room of the Davos Congress Center. All of the pictures shown here illustrate this single layout. It can be seen that a great variety is possible. This layout shows 40 chairs in the Radiant Room and nine breakouts. Different set up will accommodate greater numbers of participants and a wide variety of processes. The set ups can be changed in real time while the work progresses uninterrupted.
The Trees and natural planting are clustered to make a landscape. The work process determines what is the best combination of elements: armature pieces, WorkWalls, WorkFurniture, technology components (videos, screens, computers, sound system) knowledge objects, plants, models and works of art. These combine in a way that meets the utility requirements of the work to be done while also fusing into a stimulating environment expressive of collaboration and creativity.
The “room within a room” ability breaks a large space into regions, without losing the use and presence of the greater space, while facilitating a finely tuned control of the making of prospect and refuge. Each work area can be made to the exact size, and kind of openness, closure, view, light, furniture and tools as is appropriate for the work task, the participant’s mood and work modality - and, the stage of the creative process they are in. Critical adjustments can be made in real time as the work and itscircumstance changes.
A basic premise of the Taylor Method is that “everything speaks.” Every object has connotative and denotative meaning - also utility. Form and function are one. The environment sends thousands of messages that effect human health, energy and behavior. It “instructs.” It facilitates and supports work. Colors, textures, smells, masses and forms connote different things to different cultures, and with in cultures, to individuals. There is both difference and universality in this. Patterns prevail. This makes a powerful but largely unconscious language. By paying attention to these things, the environment can be adjusted to deliver the the right message at the right time with great subtly and nuance.
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GoTo: Davos 2005 - IMAGES
Matt Taylor
November 13, 2005

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posted: November 13, 2005

revised: November 18, 2005
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(note: this document is about 40% finished)

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