The Quirky World of "Manspaces" and Bachelor Pads

Our working environments are an area of great interest here at WebWorkerDaily, with some great advice from our writers on equipping and styling a home office for pleasure and productivity. So I was interested to see this interesting tongue-in-cheek talk from Sam Martin on “manspaces” at last summer’s TED Global 2009 conference.

According to Martin, a manspace is a custom-built hangout where a man can work, play and generally be himself. In his brief talk, he describes how he built a home office at the bottom of his garden for around $3,000, as well as name-checks Superman, Batman, Elvis and Hemingway as legendary owners of manspaces.

Surprisingly, in investigating over 50 contemporary manspacers, Martin discovers that manspaces are largely about articulating a passion — everything from Japanese tearooms to full-size boxing rings — concluding that each space was intricately designed to reflect its owner.

In a related piece, The New York Times recently ran a fascinating photo slideshow on the “Decline and Fall of the Bachelor Pad,” noting that the recession has curtailed the more excessive tendencies of the manspace.

One industrious architect has purchased a 900-square-foot loft space, which he’s refitted into a live/work space, where private “pod” bedrooms sit alongside large shared workspaces in a kind of “coworking plus” configuration.

Though I divide my time between coworking and working from home, I’m fascinated by the home working environments of web workers. My own workspace at home is a spartan $100 IKEA table and a Macbook, but I know others with much more elaborately personalized spaces.

Of course, “manspace” is an unnecessarily gender-biased term. I don’t believe there’s any fundamental difference here in the underlying motivations of women or men.

I would love to run a series of posts on people’s various home working environments and, more importantly, how they’ve gone about personalizing and customizing them to reflect their passions. Leave your stories and thoughts in the comments, and I’ll see if I can follow up with some more in-depth posts.

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