Paul Morrell ("Are you being served?", 17 October, page 41) commented that we ought to know how much well designed offices aid productivity.
I recommend that he, and anyone else who wants to understand the impact of open plan offices on creativity, reads Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister. This book reports on experiments conducted by the authors into the factors affecting the productivity of software engineers. In the section on the office environment, they clearly demonstrate both the significant benefits of private space versus open plan but also address the false economy that results from open plan.