We’re now half way through our Ideal Studio project with Represent Recruitment and this week has seen another five studios sharing their ideas about what they believe makes for the perfect creative environment.
We kicked off with Mat Heinl of Moving Brands who told us about the challenge in making sure that crit culture is constructive and focusses on the right things. “We want to have crits of the work not crits of people," he said. "Sometimes you say, ‘Let’s go and sit next to John’ and you end up talking about John. We want to talk about the work and you can help that by physically changing the perspective, by standing up.”
Mat said that Moving Brands also believes in a culture where people can speak up in a more informal way as well. “We like the happenstance where people can walk past something and say ‘That is interesting’ – everyone is encouraged to comment and ask and learn.”
Mathew Wilson of With Associates echoed this idea of constant, vicarious learning and idea generation but he and his team also have a secret weapon in their creative arsenal – a blackboard table. “It’s been here four years now and features in an awful lot of what we do. Everybody is able to stand around it and you can make gesticulations and ideas manifest. The language here is “Let’s do a table” and not a single day goes by when the table is not used at least once. The analogue factor of it as well is great."
Making opportunities for free and easy discussion was also important for Andreas Friberg Lundgren of Swedish studio Lundgren + Lindqvist. He said: “We try to uphold a rather strict schedule. The reason for this is that we, in our work process, constantly use each other for feedback, by bouncing ideas back and forth. Having people working outside the immediate reach would mean running the risk of losing some of the spontaneous discussions sparked in the heat of the moment.”
For Andy Stevens of Graphic Thought Facility creative spaces should be geared to producing the best possible work rather than impressing outsiders. “Our space is good for us and it’s not a space to win clients – people want to work with us because of the work we do," he said. I don’t think anyone would be impressed by coming to our studio by the space. We don’t look like what they might expect a creative business to look like but in some ways that’s not a bad thing. If they do not feel our space because it’s not swanky enough then it’s probably not a good fit.”
But for Mills of ustwo, their eye-catching ground floor does play an important role in attracting, and repelling, potential clients and employees. He said: “I believe this space is a big selling point for clients and new employees – it makes people want to work with us or for us." But he agreed with Andy that the way in which a space reflects a studio’s personality is important in matching up clients and agencies. " If they don’t (like it) then they are probably not right for us and we are probably not right for them.”