• Hassell focuses on the value of design in a fast-changing world

    23 December 2019

    Globalisation, urbanisation, and digitisation present new opportunities and challenges for how we live. As the possibilities expand, people demand more memorable, personalised experiences. As the value of great places increases, so does the value of impactful design.

    International design practice Hassell has been invited to help reimagine the future of places and cities at forums including the World AI Conference in Shanghai, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and London’s Design Museum’s Moving to Mars exhibition.

    These exhibitions, forums and panel discussions focus on how design can help address humanity’s big challenges and opportunities – urbanisation, globalisation, climate change, digitisation and privatisation – right through to designing for space exploration.

    “The next decade promises to bring even more dramatic societal shifts and will place new and different pressures on the spaces, places and cities we design for people,” said Hassell Managing Director Steve Coster.

    “Great design is ambitious. It deals with complexity to achieve outcomes that shape not only our physical world, but also our culture – our lives and experiences,” he said.

    Hassell is designing a wide range of projects globally that are changing the way people experience places and cities across a variety of opportunities – working with a range of partners and clients from government and creative agencies, to some of the world’s most exciting organisations, brands and individuals. Hassell is at the forefront of understanding how design can impact innovation and create new sources of cultural, social and economic value.

    “We are rethinking the boundaries for architecture and design firms so that we can provide better ways for people to experience places. For example, this year we designed a human habitat for Mars and an immersive video-gaming style environment for people to explore it. We also designed a masterplan for Chengdu where the living habitat of wild giant pandas is carefully protected by containing human activities,” said Chong Wang, Hassell Principal in Shanghai.

    “Here in Greater China, cities are undergoing a process of renewal and repurposing following decades of fast-paced development. We see increasing opportunities to embed resilience into the urban fabric and regenerate natural ecosystems and under-utilised urban areas. Stakeholders in different cities are looking to Hassell for holistic solutions to their end issues, which require combining strategic intelligence with creative design. And we are responding to these needs,” said Chong.


    New challenges, new conversations

    This week Hassell is also launching a new podcast series, Hassell Talks (available through Soundcloud and Ximalaya), canvassing the big questions like: What can advertisers teach us about designing places people love? How do we solve the ‘problem’ with academic workplaces? Is humanitarian design good for business? And why the best designed cities reflect the best of us.

    “To succeed over the next decade and beyond, international design businesses like ours will need to combine strategic intelligence with creative design – and understand that none of us alone has all the answers,” said Steve.

    “Diverse perspectives and open-minded collaboration unlocks the creative, original thinking that is needed to navigate increasing complexities and requirements. The most powerful and enduring design requires insight about what matters most to people, as well as the latest research and technologies.

    “And truly innovative solutions also come from including perspectives from outside the walls of our studios –  which is why we invite a broad range of big thinkers into our conversations, projects, our boardroom and our design studios as often as we can,” he said.


    A new look for the practice

    The future focus of the practice is at the heart of its recently launched brand and website, which are a reflection of the firm’s ambitious and inclusive creative culture.

    Hassell worked with a team of strategic and creative partners to develop its new visual identity and website:


    _Brand strategy and voice partners Principals and XXVI

    _Visual identity partner Studio Ongarato

    _Digital partner Carter Digital





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