19 June 2018
19 June 2018
Smart Design Studio, Sydney: Artistic, Technological, Resolved.
The Culture of Practice
“We are dedicated and critical but we like to have a bit of a laugh at the same time,” says Founder of Smart Design Studio, William Smart. His practice, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, really focuses on design.
“When we recruit, we find people come to us because they want to do buildings where we are really committed to the detail and fight for great design,” he says. “There is a really strong design culture here. We put a lot of effort into it.”
Smart, who worked at Foster + Partners in London before setting up his own firm, now employs 45 people who work across five teams focusing on projects from bespoke private houses to large-scale masterplans. “Our buildings are designed from the inside. For us that means finding opportunities to be spatially creative by creating ways to bring light and volume and shape into our spaces in unique ways. There is a drive from the interior to shape the building,” comments Smart.
The practice uses a number of methods which ensures this level of design flows through the firm. Each Monday during design reviews work is pinned up and the practice talks about how it is progressing. “Design review is the springboard for how we enable collaboration within the office,” comments Smart. Then once a month the office holds masterclasses where everyone comes in early for croissants and coffee and someone gives a teaching session. These vary and have covered topics like talking to clients, how to deliver a job on time, and how to design to meet new and changing regulations. Smart also looks outside the architectural profession for inspiration. The practice’s ‘brown bag talks’ bring in industry experts from choreographers to book editors and artists to talk about their passions.
For Smart Design, who will very soon move into a new office in a converted warehouse in the Alexandria area of Sydney, the focus now isn’t about getting bigger but about diversifying the projects it works on and continuing its collaborative, design-led studio culture.
Author: Josefina Luna, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers