The challenge that comes to mind discussing contemporary architecture and design is the need to be more together, to work better as a collective in our creative industry. What we do when designing or creating is important, and we need to unite ourselves to make our competencies visible. It should be visible for the market that actually craves and needs design, infused with the social ambition and consideration. In the Nordic countries, we have a special position and a human and holistic approach that is relevant to the world. But we need to express the deeper difference that really great design gives to projects. There are many designers that can make something that just looks pretty or cool.
Design is a tool for interaction and change, for creating something that carries real meaning. It’s urgent for the design field to voice that vision — and voice the power design has to solve problems and create great solutions.
We need to meet! I like the old saying: “When people meet, things happen”. Creating arenas where we can debate, create, agree and disagree is mandatory to make things happen. I believe we should share more across the board, in the design community. Protectiveness around ideas, methods and projects must be a thing of the past. We need to have faith and trust that our ability to implement is enough. Ideas should be shared. We must be generous about what we know.
Internally, when we work, we are quite focused on how to frame the best, most creative innovation processes. We work from the notion that you can and should activate the whole person in the creative processes. Not only do people engage a challenge with different competencies — for example with having both architects, designers and clients going at it from each their perspective. We think it is important to challenge the inherent conservatism that comes with being professional. We try to use a collective intelligence that channels different levels of complexity towards clear forms and functions. That’s why we sometimes encourage graphic designers to take the role of an architect, engineers to consider landscape architecture — and architects to consider construction. We call this practice transpositioning.
We think that people are capable of much more than their trained profession. It takes an effort to create the space where people are ready to share their ideas when they are out of their comfort zone. To make it happen, it’s essential to foster an environment of trust, a place where everybody feels safe.