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Innovation in interior design / architectural firms

Examples of innovation and best practice. What can higher education institutions learn from innovation in these sectors?

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"Studio co-founder Frank Jacobus built his first project while studying at Cooper Union. He and his friend pitched the idea of building a large booth and a raised seating structure in the Hewitt Building’s pool hall on The Cooper Union campus to Dean Baker and got to realize their design.

Today, SILO AR+D produces many projects that are design-builds. One of them is Reflects-a tree house located in the Cleveland Botanical Garden – which cost $10,000 and took only ten weeks to build."

Are Universities cultivating an environment where students have an input into their learning environment and can pitch ideas?

Source: Archipreneur


"Recently, HOK partnered with the Biomimcry Guild in order to foster bio-inspired innovation in the field of architecture. The partnership began in 2004 and the two companies have collaborated on several projects since, including HOK’s proposal for the “City of the Future” competition in 2008.

“We believe biomimicry will not only help us significantly reduce the environmental impact of our projects, but also has the potential to help define a whole new sustainable standard for our profession,” said HOK Sustainable Design Director, Mary Ann Lazarus, “Because biomimicry addresses critical environmental issues at the habitat scale, it gives us lessons on how to achieve significant results even restorative outcomes at all scales.”"

Source: Archipreneur


Nestopia is  "an interior design startup assesses your personality by an interactive Q&A session and shows you your perfect dream house, right in front of your eyes. The start-to-finish interior design and build service provider integrates technology, service design thinking and project management to do so."

"What it does 

1. Based on your needs, they will assign a designer best suited for our project. This is done on the basis of project requirements like location, budget, style and preferences. Half the task done! 

2. A detailed site-survey report for any potential issues of your existing site is handed to you before the project begins. 

3. The designer workd 1-1 with you to come up with the best design concepts and layouts as per your brief. Designer prepares cohesive colour palettes, detailed plans and elevations, materials, textures, finishes. 

4. After the perfect design is decided, the designer puts it in paper for the architecture to carry on his task henceforth. 

5. All cost related issues are also handled by this startup"

Source: Business Insider India 

Could higher education institutes foster more collaborations that combine the natural world with man-made?

Innovation Lessons From Snohetta - global architectural firm

"In another process called transpositioning, each team member is encouraged to break from their professional role and sit in the shoes of others.  Snøhetta analogizes this to how some orchestras let musicians rehearse on each other’s instruments to better understand the challenges and possibilities of other parts. When they return to their own instrument, the new insight elevates the collective quality of the performance.

A key to Snøhetta’s innovation success is defining the end goals and metrics in novel and more meaningful ways. Examples include:

• Ryerson University Student Learning Centre Metrics:

- 77% of students agree the SLC building is their favorite building/space on campus 

- 72% of students agree they spend more time on campus as a result of the SLC building  etc.

Snøhetta’s physical work environment supports collaboration. The most senior person in each Snøhetta office, from Oslo Norway to Adelaide, Australia, sits at a desk in an open office, no different from everyone else. Long tables in the large room visitors and employees first encounter in the New York office, double as a place to congregate for communal lunches, and serves as an informal, open meeting locations at other times of the day.  The openness communicates a sense of sharing vs. traditional closed off conference rooms.

Tools that facilitate rapid prototyping. Each office is equipped with state-of-the art modelling workshops with 3D rapid prototyping equipment and a large, programmable manufacturing robot, that enable ideas to become 3-dimentional and tangible quickly, and make constant fine-tuning and iteration routine.

Happy hours and lunch presentations give employees the opportunity to share and skills with peers through informal presentations.

An internal Podcast helps educate newer employees about the history of office projects through weekly interviews about past completed projects.

Global Cross Pollination of Ideas. Because of the range of Snøhetta’s work around the world on such highly diverse projects, Snøhetta can cross-pollinate insights and problem solving approaches."

Could / should any of Snohetta's practices be adapted and implemented in higher education institutions?

Source: Forbes

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  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

I am the Community Guide for this challenge. I have studied at Birmingham, Nottingham, and Leeds Universities in the UK and graduated with qualifications in Biochemistry, Toxicology, and Environmental Management. I have held a number of jobs including being a TEFL teacher and energy analyst.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

What can higher education institutions learn from innovation and best practice in other sectors? What can they learn from the interior design / architecture industry?


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