Designing a Vibrant Studio Culture

Every practice possesses a unique, intangible culture. For Eskew+Dumez+Ripple the design of this culture is a preoccupation central to the spirited workplace for which the firm is known. Invariably, the premise is inclusion, equity, and mutual respect.

An open studio layout situates principals among staff to foster open communication, shared creativity, individual responsibility, and ongoing mentorship. The week begins with a studio-wide Monday morning meeting and concludes with a Friday Forum bringing the entire team together again over cocktails and conversation. The entire staff visits project sites for a hands-on review of design and construction issues. Annual events (usually revolving around food) include family, friends, many former employees, and collaborators.

The goals? To engage in hands-on continuing education and collective conversation on the work of the practice; to infuse interdisciplinary practice through study of the creative community at large; and to expose the entire firm to the ideas generated through individual project assignments.

From business practices to project concepts, the studio operates with a transparency that provides a full window for leaders to emerge by virtue of their own aspirations. This idea of “leadership access” has helped advance a meticulously crafted transition plan to create professional growth opportunities and prepare future firm principals.