17 April 2013
Balmond Studio, London
I have been working at Balmond Studio, founded by Cecil Balmond in 2010, for slightly over a year now and the experience has been more than holistic to say the least. Working on design projects, writing articles, discussing new initiatives and debating over theoretical issues, are just some of my experiences.
Beyond its design, what I find interesting about working in Balmond Studio is discovering the way the practice is fundamentally managed and shaped through the constant bustle of activities and projects. Based on my observation and experience within the practice, I have listed some thoughts on how an organisation can constantly engage its staff and maintain a high level of creative output.
With the rise of the post-industrial era, corporations have been experimenting with developing the right working environment in order to increase their staffs’ productivity and creativity. From linking interior colour schemes with business psychology in the early 1990s to the recent slides and ping-pong tables found in the workspaces of Googleplex, offices have been designed to simulate the notion of fun and leisure, in the hope of increasing one’s output.
However in Balmond Studio, there are no staff working on yoga balls or meetings conducted on astroturfed carpets. Instead, the studio is simply a typical office space, filled with rows of tables laid out with PC desktops, sketches and drawings; and shelves stuffed with reference books, project files and physical models. What the practice offers in experience is not via playful spaces and objects but rather through the direct involvement in projects and decision-making.
In addition to commissioned architectural and art projects, employees at Balmond Studio are actively involved in developing and managing the content of two key initiatives, Thinking-in-Practice (TiP) – an online publication – and Learning-in-Practice (LiP) – an academic engagement with universities globally.
TiP, features essays, interviews and reviews by contributors from various fields, ranging from art and architecture to mathematics and philosophy. Each online issue is comprised of articles contributed both internally and externally by invited writers, carefully researched and curated by the studio.