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Bespoke Careers

18 November 2017

18 November 2017

Be yourself says Kai-Uwe Bergmann of the Bjarke Ingels Group

WAF Berlin 2016

As part of our "What Employers Want" series, Bespoke Careers sat down with Kai-Uwe Bergmann from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) at MIPIM 2017 in Cannes. He spoke to us about the BIG design ethos and office culture, what they look for in a CV, how to stand out from the crowd and his advice to those just starting their architecture careers.

What is your design ethos?

Thinking about how we want to live, work and play in the cities that we live in today.

What are the best things about your practice?

For me it’s going in every single day and not necessarily knowing what I’m going to be doing that day but really being inspired by all of the creative people around me.

How would you describe your office culture?

We call ourselves BIGSTERS, we really like to share the knowledge that we have within the office with each other, so we have things like Big School where we actually teach each other the things that we’re best at. We also go on study trips every two or three years where we get inspired by the places that we find most stimulating.

What makes someone a BIG person?

A Bigster is someone who is in some ways a generalist, very good at many things, but also hungry, learning and curious, someone who wants to add more to themselves that is continuously growing.

What are you looking for in a CV?

I’ve actually looked through thousands of CV’s. I think you can tell in the first few seconds or minutes that you’re looking through these materials if that person’s passion or persona is explained or presented, so I’m looking very often for the passion within a person. 

What makes someone stand out to you?

It never hurts to have someone vouch for you. Someone that we may know and respect. Having them saying this is a person who is doing a lot of great work really helps. When we do interview, I think it’s just being yourself. Saying clearly what you have done, where you’re going and what you still have to learn.

How do you prefer to receive portfolios?

We tend to receive all of our portfolios digitally at first then during the interview process people can actually bring original works that they have done. 

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in architecture?

I think that architecture is a very important profession. Primarily in the kind of political environment that we’re in, which is very polarizing, architecture actually brings people together of all socio-economic cycles. Whether they come from different countries, race or religion, architecture really serves in terms of the public realm in bringing people together. 


Author: Kat Hall, Bespoke Careers

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