28 June 2018
28 June 2018
Chrofi, Sydney: Curious, Adept, Enthusiastic.
The Culture of Practice
Sydney-based practice CHROFI rose to fame in 2008 when it completed the competition-winning design for the TKTS booth in New York’s Times Square. Since then it has worked on high quality houses across Australia from its office in a pair of joined converted apartment buildings in the coastal suburb of Manly.
The studio layout, with its walls covered in white magnetic boards, allows the staff to work together and to collaborate across different projects. “Design often involves trying to synthesise such a wide variety of inputs whether it is technical, cultural or economic. We use the walls of the office to collectively design and think through things,” explains Founding Partner John Choi. “The walls allow us to put up each project we are working on and it helps everyone to get a sense of the different kinds of projects in the office and enables them to interact with them.”
For the practice, which now has 27 staff, it has had to work out how to cope with fast growth. There had been less than ten people in the office until about three years ago. “We won a couple of large competitions and suddenly we had to expand the team so we went from 12 staff to 24 in the period of just one year,” says Choi. “Since then we have just been getting comfortable at that size and trying to work out how we do that effectively.”
The growth has led them to introduce more structure and a greater visibility to how the practice works. The project leads have become the main point of contact, freeing up the founders to be more effective at a strategic level.
The change in size has also affected the way they socialise as a practice from smaller more intimate lunches to more trips out of the office, group activities and sports. Choi adds: “When we were smaller we used to eat together every lunchtime – now we are bigger we have to take other social opportunities and we do more sports. But there is a good dynamic. All the staff really enjoy being with each other.”
Author: Josefina Luna, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers