THE concept of the working environment is fast changing. Companies are beginning to value the importance of creating an environment that inspires creativity and collaboration more than ever. Business performance research suggests that many offices are environments that are not conducive to work, inspiring neither good ideas nor high levels of productivity.
In the design industry, offices are being overhauled and designers are investing heavily in their work spaces. Among them was the regional office of the globally renowned Singapore-based architecture practice RSP, which redesigned its Middle East design hub in Dubai, UAE, last year. The vision of the in-house design team was to create an all-round sensory experience designed to nurture creativity and inspire innovation to meet the high demands of the Middle Eastern market.
The 4,000-sq-ft creative studio was designed by the practice’s own pool of talented designers and all 60 employees located in the Dubai studio were encouraged to contribute during the design process of their work space. This approach empowered the team and encouraged everyone to take responsibility and pride in their new office.
The collaborative and inclusive approach was a true reflection of one of the pillars of RSP’s principles – nurturing creativity in the team.
The result? A dynamic, vibrant and adaptable creative studio and the birthplace of unique concepts and ideas.
While the physical environment affects creativity and plays a key role in the design process, the way in which we interact within a team is crucial in enhancing productivity. The mindset of the team on a collective and individual level has a high impact on the design process.
To enhance creativity, the global design leaders of RSP conduct seminars called ‘creative workshops’. Once a month, the design team and all 1,300 members of staff worldwide are invited to use the creative workshop platform to connect and learn from one another. The role of the global design leader is to host the seminars and facilitate the team in sharpening their design thinking skills.
These sessions are led by RSP’s global design and technical directors based in all 15 of the company’s international design studios. This approach ensures that the team is kept informed of the latest trends from all over the world.
RSP’s principal design philosophy embraces the notion that a good space should effectively contribute to improving the human experience. By ensuring spaces are designed to holistically adopt this philosophy and address their functional requirements, the overall character of the spaces and quality of the lives of its users are harmoniously enhanced.
RSP values the importance of engaging with the design community and offers its key leaders to lecture and critique at the best universities in the country. The company’s philosophy on education is that it is “our responsibility” to ensure that the next generation of budding designers are nurtured and encouraged to become more actively involved in the industry as early as possible.
As well as engaging with the young design community, RSP has built strong relationships within the design and construction industry. Its network includes many prestigious developers and world-class consultants in the region. Its collaborative approach to business and design has been commended by its clients, and its ability to produce award-winning designs is the quantifiable result of the impact that a well-designed working environment has had on a company that delivers.
*Michael Magill is RSP’s global design director.