What are the factors
that go into designing a building or space?
We have a fairly ridged methodology as a studio, because we
value the science of built environment and design, as well as the artistic side
of it. We spend a lot of time with our clients, trying to understand their
requirements, their needs, what they expect, their aspirations and goals for a
project. We do this through a process called evidence based design. It doesn’t
matter what our design ideas are, we always want to hang them on a clear piece
of data evidence that shows it will add value to the project. Evidence based
design is our mantra and touchpoint for all of our projects.
The way we break that down, is we look at two key factors
when starting a project. We look at the special parameters, constraints and
objectives; then we look at people based objectives for a project and we put
them both together. We believe that the built environment can have such a
positive impact on people, behaviour and life in general. Whether it’s how you
lay out your desks in an office to get people to work better, or how you lay
out a space when you arrive into a new building to get an overall experience.
So we have a strict process to bring people and spaces together.
How do you judge how
people are going to interact with a space?
We have an extensive tool kit. We spend time with people, we
interview people and, if we can, we like to speak to every member of staff in
an organisation. So we give everyone a chance to tell us how they want their
space to look. I guess one thing that’s a USP for us is we have people here
that don’t design for us, they just observe people in space. They look at the
dynamics of an organisation and how people are performing, not the space, but
absolutely focused on the people. So for example on Sea Containers for Ogilvy
& Mather, which is our flagship project in London, it took us nearly 4
years from competition pitch to the end, we spent 9 months with the client.
What is your biggest
There are two sides of that. There’s the biggest achievement
that we are best known for and that is Sea Containers for Ogilvy & Mather. It’s
our biggest refurbishment in London recently and it’s won awards for innovation
and fit out. People know about it now, so we’re getting contact from new
clients wanting to see the space and know how we did it.
I think the second achievement as a business is 6 years ago,
just before pitching and winning that project, we were a small niche design studio
of 15 people. Off the back of winning this pitch against stiff competition, we are
now a studio of 50 people and developing in 9 different countries around
Europe. This has all happened in the space of 4 to 5 years, so as a leader of
the business this is a massive achievement.
What does the future
hold for BDG?
We had a very successful 2017, both creatively and
financially, we won awards for projects with major clients. As we come into
2018, even though it’s all very doom and gloom in the media, I don’t see our
success diminishing. I can see a longevity to the workflow at the moment, so
the future looks good.
What are the current
trends in architecture and what are your views on them?
We have two types of clients, we have end user clients and
developer led clients. In both clients we are seeing a big emphasis on the
wellness agenda; providing staff amenity space. Base build developers are doing
it from day one and using this amenity to sell their space. Then there are end
users doing it within their own fit out to retain staff talent. I think this is
a good thing for the individual because if you can go into an environment that
keeps you healthy that’s a real positive.
My concern from an industry perspective is we are drifting
down the route of wellness becoming a tick box exercise. The danger is because
you can measure it, people just assume you are doing it right. We are all
saying we are doing it, but are we really pushing that agenda forward? As a
company we are actively trying to make sure we are approaching our wellbeing
projects with a holistic, slightly more creative differentiator than our