Toronto, ON, Canada
Nov 2005 - July 2006
Project Team: Neeraj Bhatia
Hired as an external consultant and designer for the Bruce Mau Office, the redesign emerged through extensive studies of the current office layout and the office manifesto. Excerpts from the manifesto summarize the working methodology which materialized in the new office layout:
The studio’s trajectory could best be described as rolling. Our capacity is constantly evolving in response to projects undertaken and as a defense against our unhappiness. Our collective desire is to maintain a long life of real contribution – something we cannot maintain through repetitive practices. We want to grow in terms of what we are capable of, and technology has complied by advancing to the to the point that such an ambition is attainable.
Study. A studio is a place of study. Use necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.
Collaborate. The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.
Explore the other edge. Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using the old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.
We look at the studio as a place of study in service to its projects. Admittedly, this is partly selfish, a product of the desire for continual growth and a constitutional aversion to complacency. Our projects, and the intensive research we favour, provoke us to learn about the world, and we are enriched and changed by that level of engagement. But this rigorous process has also proven to be the way to produce the best people with the highest capacity for tackling the most difficult projects. It is a process that produces work that cannot be arrived at by other means.
The root of the BMD studio lies in collaboration, research, and continuous growth through knowledge. These qualities are characteristic of the library typology. What if the studio was a library? Here, collaboration, research, and production could be surrounded and enclosed by knowledge. The library would be a linking element between different programmatic elements. It would provide a space for knowledge, collaboration and exhibition. Without being stifled by traditional notions of the library, the redesign focusses on the understanding of the library as a place for the consumption of knowledge. Knowledge is expressed through many forms of media including books, video, sound recording, models, photographs and the office’s projects. We can consolidate these mediums into a single, unifying gesture that runs throughout the studio to link teams and programme. In the redesign, the office is structured through its driving force – knowledge.