16 June 2018
16 June 2018
Lead 8, Hong Kong: Open, Creative, Inspirational.
The Culture of Practice
When the founders of Lead 8 set up the practice in 2014, they deliberately wanted to create something that was radically different from a corporate environment. “We realised that part of our philosophy and mindset was coming from our environment,” explains John Denton, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Lead 8.
Denton sets the tone by sitting in the studio in jeans and a shirt rather than a suit and tie. The aim was to create a studio, rather than an ‘office’ – a creative working space with atmosphere, variety and character. Housed in an older style warehouse building in Hong Kong, the industrial space promotes the firm’s core values of openness and collaboration. “We’ve followed the context of the old industrial building and so there’s lots of raw steel, wired glass and exposed brickwork. The honesty in materials promotes a nice relaxed environment that expresses the personality and culture of our brand,” says Denton.
The meeting rooms have massive sliding doors that allow half the side walls to open up, and the end wall has a set of pivot doors to create openness and connectivity between spaces. When it’s not in use people are encouraged to have meetings and leave the doors open. That’s very much part of Lead 8’s ‘knowledge share by osmosis’ culture. Denton incorporated a large central kitchen, the engine room of any home, to foster a family atmosphere, while informal meetings can take place on sofas in doorless lounges off that.
Other inventive, freethinking ways to broaden staff horizons include a ‘study trip’ programme where teams have an opportunity to explore, learn abroad and have fun outside the studio. They come up with their own itinerary and are given a budget. “That’s something we do that will hopefully build team morale,” says Denton.
The firm also engage in pro-bono work that is architecturally associated. They have created an initiative called ‘HarbourLoop’ which is a vision to transform Hong Kong’s famous waterfront into a 23-kilometre urban cycle, running and walking network. The idea is to promote a green future for Hong Kong, which fuses the firm’s thinking on architecture and urban planning with a desire to make its home city a more connected and liveable place.
Author: Kat Allenby, Global Head of Communications, Bespoke Careers