Evolution Design is a Swiss architecture and design studio that focuses on human-centred design solutions. The practice has offices in Zurich and London.
Evolution Design ("ED") interviewed on Tuesday, 20 March.
ED : Evolution Design is an internationally recognized Swiss architecture and design studio with offices in Zurich and London.Every of our projects - whether it‘s a pioneering workplace design, functional residential building, a campus masterplan or a simplistic sports hall - starts with fresh thinking, which leads to a solution that is tailor-made for the specific end-user. We have developed unique research methods and survey tools to find out the practical and emotional needs of our clients, which we translate into functional, lasting and meaningful design that brings value and joy to clients and users. The strategic direction of the practice is set by the founder and executive director of Evolution Design Stefan Camenzind and his partners Tanya Ruegg (creative director) and Marco Noch (technical director). Together, they are the driving force of the continuous evolution of the practice.
ED : Our project ‘Google Zurich’ was actually our first office design project. In fact, when we started the project we did not know anything about ‘office design’. But this challenge turned out to be a really exciting starting point as it gave us the opportunity to approach the project without any particular opinions or ideas in mind and to look at offices in a complete new way.
ED : When we worked on Google Zurich project, we developed a ‘user-inclusive design process’, focusing on the various needs of the users and ensuring that the office strongly supports their daily activities and strive for excellence. But we did not just create an innovative and creative design, we rather developed a unique architectural identity for Google based on the company’s outstanding culture, vision and values. To this day we follow these same principles with all of our projects and additionally make sure to comprehensively include people in the change process. But of course, over the years we have become better in understanding how to collect significant data and how our clients may continue to collect data themselves in a bid to keep their office exciting for their employees. Furthermore, we also support companies in developing their own strong architectural identity based on the company’s culture, vision and values. These are well and broadly reflected in the respective office design, serving as a strong identification point for the company and its staff. After all, an office is only well designed when users love and enjoy working there!
ED : As mentioned before, we follow a strong user-inclusive design approach, including advanced in-depth researches, surveys, interviews, workshops and more, which help us to fully understand our clients’ company culture, vision and values. However, at the same time we also understand from neuroscience that creativity and innovation cannot be subscribed to people.We also know that we can create sequences of spaces, which will provide the best seeding ground for new ideas and better collaboration and creativity. In fact, if you ask people where they have new ideas – it will never be the office, but for instance more likely while they are going for a walk in the forest. So thoroughly understanding the cognitive science and having done our comprehensive researches, we are able to create very unique spaces for each client which will be successful in helping their staff to be highly inspired, creative and innovative.
ED : We have been working on a huge 2 million square feet campus for Flipkart in Bangalore, India – a city in the city. Flipkart is a super innovative e-commerce company which wants to take the workplace to the next level in India. We are also developing a new Micro Apartment concept, but very much as a consumer product and not as an architectural project. It is very interesting how space, technology, people, emotions and desires are coming together in the built environment. We are also developing several school projects and working on a project in China where we take the principles of ANBW to the factory floor in order to create much better connectivity between administration and production. The world is changing fast and with it, new and interesting challenges are always just around the corner.
ED : The study experience certainly had an important and strong influence on our careers, but ultimately taught us that with every question two more questions arise. Or as Socrates put it so brillantly: ‚The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing’. In fact, in these fast changing times it is more important than ever to keep asking questions and staying open and curious, and understand that today’s knowledge will be outdated in just a few years’ time. So choosing a profession that students feel truly passionated about and which gives them not only many opportunities to be creative and productive, but also challenges them to frequently ask questions and thus enables them to continue to learn and grow, would definitely be our best advice.
ED : We are not sure if office design should be driven by ‘ideas’ from others. Adapting ideas from others is looking backwards and reacting to the competition, rather than looking forward and spending some serious time thinking of what your company needs to be doing in order to be successful in the future. Being unique is becoming more crucial in the global competition.
ED : In our office it is very simple – we give our team the work tools they need and thereafter everybody decide themselves where and how they want to work. We can be working in teams on a large project using a scrum wall where we plan the daily and weekly activities and deadlines. We can be working on a particular tasks or solving a challenge which requires quiet and focused work. Or we working from abroad and having numerous Whatsapp and Skype video calls with the different teams in the office and our clients worldwide.
ED : We believe that a good workplace design stands out for its identity, diversity, focus on its users and also sustainability. In fact, a great work environment is a diverse work environment that employees can strongly identify themselves with on a multitude of levels and which offers them many choices - especially with regards to how people want to work, where people want to work and when people want to work. A good work environment has a positive impact on people's productivity, creativity, energy levels and well-being.Evolution Design Profile
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