13 July 2018
13 July 2018
Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Los Angeles: Messy, Optimistic, Collaborative.
The Culture of Practice
Partners Mark Rios, Julie Smith-Clementi, Frank Clementi, Bob Hale and Mark Motonaga recently relocated their staff of 120 people to a vast 32,000 square foot warehouse in one of the most kinetic parts of Los Angeles, adjacent to Baldwin Hills to the west and Jefferson Park to the north.
Growing up in Southern California, Mark Rios saw no distinction between indoor/outside spaces. “The foundation of the firm through Mark is really one of seeing the entire environment as a continuum,” says Partner Bob Hale.
The proximity to Metro’s Expo line, which stops just a block away from their new office, and runs alongside the building, was a deliberate move, providing accessibility to both clients and staff. “It encourages us to dream a little about what we want to do in the future: expand our fabrication abilities, our model shop and prototyping,” says Partner Mark Motonaga.
The office consists of one big space organised into a series of clusters, which allows the firm to maintain the culture of a smaller office while having a resilient model that can adapt to future growth. “Nobody is isolated in terms of their discipline,” says Principal Greg Kochanowski, “which allows you to interact and mix with different disciplines and to understand the breadth of what everybody is doing.”
Underlying the cluster structure is the notion of overlapping intelligence, which facilitates the distribution of information through proxy share. “We try very hard to be non-hierarchical,” says Partner Frank Clementi. The practice, which designs everything from plates up to urban plans, offers landscape, architecture, planning, interiors, branding, product, graphic, and environmental design services. “Most offices don’t have the richness of disciplinary diversity built into them as we do,” says Hale.
The border-bending practice is spear¬heading discussions around sustainability and the built environment in a city that itself has a legacy of boundary-pushing design. Today’s discussions about sustainability, which have always been latent within the sensibility of Los Angeles, are embedded into the fabric of the firm, which has been at the vanguard of a synergistic approach to design for over 30 years.
Author: Kat Hall, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers