Today is a special day for DesignStudio as we formally announce our presence in New York City with our very own purpose-built studio in the Hunters Point neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens.
Anyone familiar with the final scenes of the 1980s action-fantasy epic Highlander will know Hunters Point, even if not by name. Home to the iconic Silvercup Studios (Sopranos, Sex and the City, Mad Men), the landmark waterfront PepsiCola sign—built in 1940 on the site of the Pepsi bottling factory during the neighborhood’s industry heyday—and a seemingly infinite number of breweries, Hunters Point is a neighborhood with a rich history and vibrant energy fuzed together through a unique concoction of art, food, and waterfront vegetation.
We landed on Hunters Point, and on Queens, specifically in an effort to integrate into a community that has not previously been home to many global design companies. Earlier this year we introduced a new articulation of the philosophy that drives everything that we do at DesignStudio—from how we interact with each other to how we work with clients and the communities they serve. We call it Radical Collaboration. One facet of this involves going deeper into the communities in which we live and work and we do not feel like we can do that sufficiently without embedding ourselves in an eclectic and diverse community. We are now proud members of the Long Island City Partnership, have begun investing in local organizations and initiatives, and set ourselves the target of working exclusively with local suppliers and vendors for 80% of all our studio-related services. Finally, we are in the process of building a number of strategic non- and for-profit alliances that will help our aims of building a talent pool that is as diverse as the communities around us.
There’s been plenty of debate around the role of physical space in the future of knowledge work. We believe every industry and every company is different and, at DesignStudio, we invest heavily in giving our team the opportunity to grow into well-rounded practitioners. This goes beyond craft to an ability to lead and facilitate, learning from, and with, each other. This can, and should, happen virtually. But it is super-charged when complemented with moments of in-person collaboration. For the last six months, we have been working with local interior design partners Gala Magriñá Design, renovating a 4,200-sq ft space (located within an old Plaxall thermoplastics factory) to create a studio based on our vision for the future of work that prioritizes employee experience. The layout of the studio caters to a wide range of different working modes with multiple places to come together and collaborate. Access to natural light has been considered, as has using as many eco-friendly materials as possible.
Despite committing to this new space, it doesn’t change our stance on supporting our team’s ability to work from all different corners of the world — we’ll continue to offer everyone four weeks per year to Work From Anywhere — but it's important to us that we have an authentic hub in the US, where our employees, colleagues, and partners can all come together and meet face-to-face. We know that we won't get it right on our first attempt, but we are committed to experimenting to perfect it over time. If you have any ideas on how we can do it better, feel free to drop by and we can discuss it over whichever local brew or food truck delicacy takes your fancy.