Issue 148, January 2017
Architecture studios all have to start somewhere, but what makes a practice grow to a medium or large sized business, and what infrastructure is required to make expansion successful? […]
Koichi Takada describes the question of whether to hire the staff first or wait for the projects as a bit like the chicken and egg. But, more important for his practice, Koichi Takada Architects is ensuring the studio’s culture is (KTA) reinforced. Communicating with and educating his team on the practice’s particular approach to design has been vital as the studio has grown.
“My clients come to us because our product is unique. Without a strong concept there’s no point in doing it” says Takada. “Design is the DNA of the practice and the office has to facilitate this. You need to show the culture and philosophy, and how we draw.” When the studio was small – up to 15 people according to Takada – this information was passed on naturally. Past that point and it needs to be formally taught. “When you get bigger, you need office support and proper infrastructure. But most importantly, you need to create an environment where each employee can perform at their best, including me”
For Koichi Takada, the growth of his practice has been fast but his approach to life is not “In our busy business lives and fast-growing economy, I encourage people to ‘slow down’ and think more before we make rushed decisions” he says. “In my practice, we see every challenge as an opportunity” It was during the GFC in 2008 when the world ‘slowed down’ that Takada decided to establish his practice. which now numbers 45 staff. “I saw an opportunity in the industry. As design and construction businesses across the board struggled, it became, to my eyes, a more level playing field.”
Even though the practice now has numerous architecture and interior projects across a number of sectors. for Takada it is very important to keep a boutique approach to design.
“I started with a white desk and an empty sketchbook, with infinite thoughts” he says of the studio’s beginnings. Even today Koichi Takada Architects carries the tradition of starting every project fresh from a blank sketchbook. This way the practice aims to come up with original designs for each individual client.
“My clients come to us because our conceptual approach is unique and this outcome creates a point of difference” says Takada. Creativity is the lifeblood of the practice and, as the practice has grown, it has become increasingly important to communicate this approach, which focuses on unique and innovative designs inspired by nature and contemporary urban life.
For the full article, this issue of AR can be purchased online at Australian Design Review.