Our Singapore studio has marked ten years in the country and the opening of its new design studio with a day of celebrations.
Clients, contacts and colleagues joined the team for a day that included a traditional lion dance, two design tours of the city and a party in the evening.
Below, the management team reflect on the past decade and think ahead to opportunities in the future.
This feature is also included in the SG10 celebration book, alongside some of our best work in the region over the last decade:
Celebrating ten years of Broadway Malyan in Singapore
Ten years and counting
When we first started in Singapore, we had just a handful of architects. Since then, we have grown to over 60 people in the studio, offering a diverse range of complementary services. It has been an exciting time for the practice, with us working in countries throughout Asia Pacific and designing a number of award winning projects across diverse sectors.
Projects such as the National Heart Centre, Health City Novena and The Boutiq all helped to establish our credentials and presence in Singapore. These high profile schemes are an important part of our history, showcasing our breadth of skills and providing the foundation for some fantastic work that is transforming our reputation for design both regionally and internationally.
Our investment in the new studio is a sign of our continued commitment to Singapore and the wider Asia Pacific region. Although the construction sector is facing fluctuating demand across the region, largely influenced by the slowdown in China, we are optimistic that our business will continue to grow and is well placed to deal with these challenges thanks to the strengths of our team and our portfolio.
When we decided to move studios we wanted to use it as a catalyst – what could we change about our working practices to help retain and develop our staff? How could we create an environment that would help us to deliver a better service to our clients?
We have used our knowledge and expertise to develop something that is fit for purpose, enhances what we already do as a business and provides an opportunity for us to push the business and its culture forwards.
Design is at the heart of everything we do and our new space promotes creativity and collaboration - both essential, integral parts of our work.
It cannot be emphasised enough how important it is for people to work in the right environment and the changes we have introduced alongside the move have already had an amazing effect on the studio’s atmosphere and the quality of our design work has taken a step forward.
We have won a number of projects recently that will take us into new territories, offering us new design challenges with some fantastic clients. It is an exciting time for our business and we are looking forward to celebrating further anniversaries in Singapore.
The way we work
The Singapore studio has always prided itself on providing an integrated service, bringing together our experts in architecture, masterplanning, landscaping and branding, for the benefit of all of our projects.
Creativity and collaboration are at the core of what we do and our new space is larger and more representative of a fully-fledged design studio, with a variety of spaces that support the different ways in which we work and provide an inspirational backdrop for our activities.
A lot of current workplace thinking is focused on creating vibrant ‘lifestyle environments’. However, we did not want to do the clichéd thing of just adding some soft furnishings or games tables; it was important to fully consider what would make a successful creative environment tailored to the way we work and offered an opportunity to showcase our work and talents to clients, our colleagues and potential staff.
This focus on creating a fantastic workspace informed everything; choices of furniture, the layout of desks, inclusion of a variety of activity based work settings, the integration of quality technology to support our international work, and the selection of our new address, with a bright, spacious studio with fantastic views high on our list of requirements.
Although improved technology was one of our considerations, we have not forgotten traditional approaches to design. While we have invested in virtual reality and 3D printing, we have ensured that there are large spaces for drawing and, for the first time, we have an in-house model studio. Together, these all provide a diverse range of options, both tactile and digital, to help us to bring our clients’ visions to life and communicate the rigour that goes into every design we do.
It’s about our people
It is a challenge to attract and retain talent in our sector and we felt that we were not doing enough to promote how people focused we are as a business.
We wanted to use the studio move as an opportunity to change how the business feels on a day to day basis and add a more social element. One aspect was to include more space focused on staff needs, including a well-stocked kitchen with a few luxuries, showers and a range of breakout and informal spaces.
We have also organised more social events. For example, the other week we had a movie night in the boardroom, I organised a 5KM run one evening after work and one lunchtime Ian baked bread for everyone to enjoy. We used our new design area to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the traditional Singaporean way with Yusheng, setting up some tables especially for the occasion.
We have also introduced a new way of running design reviews. These facilitate sharing of knowledge across our APAC studios and provide a semi-formal opportunity to peer review our work. It is important to share ideas and knowledge and ensure that our clients benefit from our collective experience, both regionally and as an international business.
All of these elements add up and have created a real sense of place. There is an energy to the studio and everyone is encouraged to share ideas and suggestions and take responsibility for doing things that will help make it a unique place to come and work every day.
Some of these ideas will fall away or be replaced by other initiatives and that is fine – what is important is that we keep things fresh and make sure that everyone feels involved in how the studio works. We want it to feel like a community, not an office!