16 July 2018
16 July 2018
wHY, Los Angeles: Diversity, Multiplicity, Experimentation
The Culture of Practice
wHY is a cross-discipline, ideas-driven design workshop that sees design discourse as a process in which designers and architects act as connectors to integrate the diversity of goals and objectives encountered. The firm wants to find richness and meaning through inclusion and layering the arts, community and environment. This requires a good amount of listening, observing, researching and experimenting and has led to a studio comprised of people with a variety of backgrounds, including urban designers, object makers, artists and strategic thinkers from various fields. A four-workshop model embraces this and permeates the practice culture.
wHY Los Angeles has been able to expand in its current location over the last 13 years. The family-like work environment is completely open which reflects core principles of transparency and awareness, with an outdoor space that gets used for events in the summer. From there you can see the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. “People often hike up the hill during their breaks,” explains Managing Principal Misa Lund, “and having this piece of nature essentially as our back yard has been truly great.”
In New York, wHY is now in its second space in Soho, with a configuration that allows for more separation between what was more ‘open, flexible, shared’ space vs space for a specific purpose. “It also is long and linear so actually had less flexibility, but the intensity and energy level seems to have elevated,” says Lund.
In terms of practice evolution, wHY envisions continued expansion of the non-architectural aspects of the practice and will continue to work on processes that allow for more seamless integration between disciplines and locations. wHY has high aspirations, but they want to have fun along the way. “To do what we do with a small group of people, every single person matters and we have to really be a team,” explains Lund. “It’s an environment that pushes you to grow as a designer and think about what you want to contribute through your career.”
Author: Kat Hall, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers