17 June 2018
17 June 2018
HASSELL, Melbourne: Open, Collaborative, Curious.
The Culture of Practice
HASSELL has studios across the globe and the one in Melbourne is one of the largest with 120 staff. Spread across two floors of a converted warehouse, staff sit in project teams which can be either discipline or sector specific. Each team has its own wall where they can pin up and discuss work.
“We have a culture of questioning and discussing,” explains Principal Ben Duckworth. “This is the best way to get something out of our projects. Good ideas can come from anywhere. It has to be about having informed conversations.”
They hold a mix of design reviews from virtual ones which connect to HASSELL’s offices across the world, to monthly whole office discussions where everyone in the studio meets to talk about what is going on. These monthly Friday afternoon meetings are always curated by a different member of staff and encourage people to take ownership and add personality to the presentations and format of the meeting.
The culture of discussion continues on an individual staff level where career paths and goals are continually taken into account. “As individuals, you are responsible for your career and as a business we are just here to give that chance,” comments Duckworth. “We make sure we understand what people want to do in their careers both through formal and informal discussions. We then try and put that into our planning decisions about what people work on.”
The practice continually looks for avenues outside project work to help people grow, from conferences to pro-bono projects.
An annual competition is a much-anticipated part of the HASSELL calendar. Each year a design-focused challenge encourages staff to think beyond their current projects. Last year they were asked to propose an idea about how an underused space in the city could be better utilised. Not just open to designers, the competition can be entered by all members of staff and the winner of last year’s won themselves a trip to San Francisco design week.
Author: Kat Allenby, Global Head of Communications, Bespoke Careers