29 June 2018
29 June 2018
Bennetts Associates, London: Collaboration, Excellence, Ambition
The Culture of Practice
Bennetts Associates has been based in its Clerkenwell home since 2002. It was just a group of derelict buildings – an old barn, printworks and restaurant – when practice Founders Rab and Denise Bennetts bought it at an auction and transformed it into a personalised studio for their expanding practice.
“It was a complete antithesis of what we wanted,” says Denise Bennetts. “There were different floorplates, it was irregularly shaped, it had a very strong character but it didn’t say studio,” she adds.
“We applied the lessons from our major office projects into our own studio space. We aren’t all in one room but we use different spaces to allow people to bump into each other.”
The office reflects the mind-set of the 75-strong practice which Rab Bennetts says “does not specialise” or “place its staff in silos.” Its four studio spaces are arranged depending on project and staff move between the studios based on what they are working on whether it be the current Jaguar Land Rover project or recent schemes like the RIBA Award -winning Storyhouse Theatre.
“We don’t particularly want to get too big,” adds Rab Bennetts. “We’ve always tried to limit our growth.”
For Bennetts Associates, which in September 2016 became employee-owned, the size ensures everyone knows each other and binds the company together. The move was part of its succession plan and a move to ensure staff wanted to stay at the company.
“It binds us as a whole and the entire endeavour is owned by the employees,” comments Denise.
Each year the whole practice – including the smaller Edinburgh and Manchester offices, gets together for what they call CPD days, but Denise adds, “they do become big parties.” In summer, the practice hosts its CPD party in the studio, but in the winter, they head abroad on an all office trip that has in the past taken in Lille, Hamburg, Milan, Copenhagen and Rotterdam. It’s part of the office culture which comes from a shared attitude and a clear enjoyment. “We have a culture, where everyone knows each other well,” concludes Rab.
Author: Molly McCloy, Marketing Coordinator, Bespoke Careers