Inside Courtney Loveman's Office at CP+B

The organized chaos of past and future

Organizational gurus and professional closet cleaners go on about the emotional benefits of spatial cleansing—"It's as if you've lost 10 pounds" and "You'll be able to think more clearly." But the only thing I ever felt after "cleaning up" was that there was a lot less to smile at. 

I'm preoccupied with emblems of childhood, in a mostly anthropological way but also maybe sometimes in a midlife crisis kind of way. In my thirties, I felt pressure to clean my stuff up in order to prove I was a grownup. Someone with influence must have told me that purging was a measure of adulthood, although I can't remember who. My office looked nothing like me. It was a miserable time creatively. 

The gift of age is a sharper sense of my own clumsiness. Pretending to have it all figured out is something you do before you're old enough to know it's impossible. When I add together all the things I've dreamed I wanted, all the things I had and threw away, and all the things that found me while I wasn't looking, I'm pretty sure that control is mostly a delusion. My space is acknowledgment of that. 

I get sentimental about the inconsequential stuff, the clutter that gets lost in the grandiose stories adults tell. Our industry puts so much weight on "big ideas" that it's tempting to think big ideas are the only ones that matter. Every time I look at something in here, I'm reminded that we too easily abandon our exaltation of small things. In my job, it's mostly the tiny crumbs of uncomfortable truth that give rise to the insights.

My story isn't about any one of these objects; it's about all of them. The ladder, the broken toys, the junk-drawer miscellanea and cheap art scattered among the I-beams and tubing and plywood, they're reminders of my preference to exist in a brimming and unfinished space. Every surface is an opportunity to provoke or arouse or imagine. Together, they form the organized chaos of past and future, the places I might go and have maybe been. At our best, we are all colorful and unfinished creatures.

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Courtney Loveman
Courtney Loveman is vp/co-head of strategy at CP+B Boulder.

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