In 1903 the architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed something that looked nothing like a modern office. The Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York, had the form of an enormous brick.

Yet it marked the start of an era. The innovations included air-conditioning, filing cabinets and wall-hung toilets. In case those features didn’t maximise the output of Larkin’s mail-order employees, Wright chiselled into the stonework huge motivational words such as “Intelligence”, “Enthusiasm” and “Control”...

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