October 18, 2018
At the forefront of our Lifescape lens and design approach is to find creative elements to new and existing properties that will enhance the ground-level experience and consequentially have the greatest human impact.
In the new economy, places which put people first and optimize the level of this experience can increase the overall quality of human encounters, and in turn reap significant financial rewards. Catalyzing social interaction, providing places to linger and observe, and create opportunities for casual exchange has become the new competitive advantage.
The re-visioning of these domains as places of exchange requires us to think more holistically about how ground-level environments interact with, and look to, embrace the public realm. This in turn reflects the new way that people are thinking, working, and engaging with the urban environment.
As places embrace this approach, the character of places becomes highly important. The human dimension – the building’s ‘software’ – is what catalyzes an emotional connection to place and a desire and willingness to dwell, explore, and ideate. As the realm and opportunity expands, new identities emerge. Like people, buildings are characters that interact with each other. As rare personalities, it is our responsibility to bring out the qualities that make them unique. In doing so, a diverse community of connected places can emerge, which strengthens the overall image and identity of a district.
Within cities are places waiting to be discovered. In places we pass through everyday, the small and forgotten places, there is unrealized potential. To be transformative, we must capitalize on their value to become human-oriented social places. Everything you do should be supported by adaptable and integrated spaces, inside and out.
Opportunities to create these connections of people to place exist everywhere that people need to move through, to meet and gather, to people watch, to observe, and to feel engaged. Buildings and public areas are full of interstices with the potential to exhibit the rich tapestry of human life.
Through the emergence of new forms of doing business and socializing, the demand for human connection increases. It is no coincidence that a large majority of these social encounters occur at or near the ground, where buildings interface with the public realm. What if just by going for a stroll in this environment you were able to catalyze relationships and create new experiences? Where would it take you? What if you could experience a holistically, integrated work and socialization environment, where the public realm is interwoven with buildings and amenities as a shared domain: shared spaces that becomes a canvas for business and community life?
Think of the way that community once flourished in public streets and squares. The whole life of the community was considered holistically, from streetscape to public services and programming. Indoor and outdoor spaces could become available for meetings, events, pop-ups, performances, and exhibitions for companies and individuals alike. Think of how an unwelcoming lobby might be transformed to something akin to how a hotel lobby bar performs and as a place for networking or repose, all the while providing very personal touches. Instead of being greeted by a security guard, there is a barista who looks after every detail, who doubles as a concierge to supply services that are personalized and tailored to you the guest.
When care and attention is paid to the design and curation of the environs, people feel connected and want to stick around. This is because the design of our built environment is tangible and sets the stage for how people wish to behave (and whether or not they choose to dwell).
As new identities emerge, and people create longer-lasting connections with places, they also seek a greater level of control over their environments. These new places must now accommodate activity-based planning for different work styles, meetings, lounge spaces, and the flexibility of furniture-based solutions and supportive technologies. New technology solutions are transforming these spaces into dynamic, ‘smarter’ environments for creativity and connectivity. With cloud computing and mobile devices as key enablers, innovative workflows can be rapidly introduced with less disruption to existing, physical environments. The experience extends and flows through these digital environments as an extension of physical space and its identity.
Imagine being part of a neighbourhood of shared spaces. You’ll go for a walk, experience a sense of arrival, connect, and feel found again. You will gain experiences in places you feel you want to linger, engage, or just people watch. These just happen to be the places you work, live, or hotel in.
Coming down to ground never felt so invigorating.