patina (noun): a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use – the beautiful patina of this antique table (Merriam-Webster)

I got to go “home” to my undergraduate music building last night for an amazing concert. On the way home, we reflected on the beautiful patina a space can acquire in individual sets of eyes. For me, the Dalton Center Recital Hall contains 20+ years of patina, from high school camps to hundreds of events over my undergraduate years. I could see friends, colleagues, musical legends in the space.

Patina is more than just memories – it’s the fact that a space can hold extra meaning for people, and that those meanings can enhance every experiences in that space. The concert was better for me because it was in that cherished space. It added an additional layer onto the thick patina of that building, one that will further enhance my next experience.

What spaces are utilitarian for you? What spaces have patina? Can you work to give your most-used spaces patina?

Seth Godin says of his office that the patina of past projects drives him to better discernment about future projects – his work must live up to the patina of the past work. That’s an aspiration – to give your workspace patina to spur success.