April 30, 2013

The new London office is beautiful. The wall in the picture above is created from reclaimed wood custom designed for the space wall and the graphics around the office were done in house. The space spans between the two top floors of the building. Reception is on the fifth floor and the studio is on the fourth. There is an outdoor deck off the kitchen, a beautiful place to have lunch on a sunny day.

The hospitality team graciously integrated me into their team when I arrived to the office a few weeks ago. They are such a diverse group! Luis is Mexican, Luciano is Italian, David is British, Melissa is a fellow American, and Farah is Lebanese. I have been working on a luxury spa and resort in Roha, a small an inland city in India. This project is in schematic design phase currently. It was very cool to see the site photos taken from a helicopter and learn about some cultural aspects that will impact the design of the villas.

Luis Zapiain gave me an overview of the hospitality teams design intent and goals for different projects and most importantly mentioned that the overarching purpose is the experience for the guest. I found this very relatable to the realm of healthcare design which I am most familiar with, except the ‘guest’ would be the patient. I believe architecture and interior design have the greatest positive effect if it is relatable to human scale and surroundings. A state of the art building can make a beautiful statement, but if a guest or patient cannot relate to the building then they may not feel comfortable in their surrounding space, lessening the overall experience.

I am used to working in a large office that has one sector focusing on healthcare and every project utilizes a different mix of team members. The Detroit office is loosely separated by planners, interiors, project managers and architects. The London office has five sectors including education, interiors, hospitality, healthcare and sports. The sectors sit in junction with each other which is great for communication.

Recently the past few days I have been working with the education department on the Silverstone UTC project. An engineering university located right next to Silverstone racetrack that was an old airport converted in the 50’s. It is about 90 miles north of London in Northamptonshire.

On a non work related topic I was able to attend my first football (soccer) game. Chelsea VS Fulham, a big rivalry, it was very exciting! I am also planning a trip to Paris with a friend over the long weekend coming up!

Ciao!

Tagged design, Diversity, London, Office Life