DesignAgency is an award-winning studio with a talent for envisioning inspired environments and brands. With exceptional design driven by a collaborative spirit they value the evolution of unique and functional spaces through innovation and creativity.
DesignAgency’s (DA’s) work spans a diverse set of projects – Hospitality, Commercial, Residential – tell us about how these diverse types of projects may overlap or influence each other?
We have also always challenged ourselves to pursue diverse clientele and to vary the places in which we work and the style of our designs. You’ll probably notice that DesignAgency doesn’t have a “house style.” This is purposeful because we start by looking at the business challenges and objectives and then reflect on how design can respond and address those concerns. It’s very rewarding to overlap ideas and learnings from different segments of the industry and also our understanding from working in different places and cultures around the world. As society is demanding more purpose and function from its environments, we are able to apply our learning from overlapping influences and experiences. For example, health and wellness are now an essential part of hospitality, and hospitality is blending with workplace. We are experiencing unprecedented changes and evolutions that will give rise to new experiences. As designers, this is tremendously exciting.
How do you decide which projects are the right fit for DA?
Historically there has always been some kind of a relationship or story behind many of our clients and their work with DA. You can never really plan it out or foresee how projects will develop. We’ve always had an honest and egoless approach to our conversations with future clients and I think listening and understanding a brand is key to success. We’ve always said that we are only as successful as our clients will be and we want to be part of that process. To be a good client means a mutual respect and an understanding of what is achievable and what isn’t. We love the collaborations with clients. We feel fortunate because we are constantly learning and understanding their challenges and exploring how design can address their needs in ways that they hadn’t even envisioned. When there’s trust on both sides and a desire to create something new, incredible things can happen.
“When there’s trust on both sides and a desire to create something new, incredible things can happen.”
Tell us about your agency’s view on discovery and collaboration. Why is this vitally important to the success of a project?
We work in a digital world in which things are discovered and created instantly. But to do things well, it’s important to slow down and take time to research and understand a project’s data and business objectives. Taking the required time to understand these aspects is important because the examination will guide the best solution. You need to look backwards and forwards to have true discovery, inspiration, collaboration and creation. Secondly, for us collaboration is everything. We’re most successful when we not only engage with clients and consultants, but also with the brand, the end users and all the other creators that connect to a project.
What kind of rules, culture or structure need to exist to foster team and/or client collaboration?
Fostering creative collaboration is really important given the current state of the world and the pandemic. Maintaining a strong studio culture through collaboration is still paramount to our process. How to do this is something that we’re discussing a lot right now. Our designers have been amazing about carrying that collaborative spirit forward, but it is somewhat unclear how we will work in the future. Our structure remains the same as we lead clients thru the design process and organization and communication is key to success. Internally our teams work remotely now but come together often thru the design process to share ideas and collaborate. We strive to involve our clients at the right time in the process and to allow them to have a voice and be part of the process. Regular check-ins and presentations exist to keep the projects moving, but listening and distilling the best design path forward is where we add value.
What elements define your style? What are the consistent traits someone can see throughout all of your projects?
Funny enough, we have always tried to not have a house style, but rather to keep evolving. We strive to make each project unique and responsive to its brand, core idea and unique circumstances. Maybe our process or our collaboration with clients defines our style of working. Each challenge and space take on their own life based on a variety of factors: brand, narrative, location, demographic, purpose, budget, etc.
“We strive to make each project unique and responsive to its brand, core idea and unique circumstances.”