The Sponge designing spaces to soak up innovation
In an article about how names are generated for new products, Paola Norambuena from Interbrand called a good product name "a shortcut to a decision." That's a great expression unto itself, and a great depiction of the potential power in the right name.
It's relatively rare that we name our projects other than by the project name, or by what they call the building that we are designing. Some of these start with straightforward designators – "multidisciplinary biomedical research building." Sometimes the brand name given to them feels less motivating, less programmatically descriptive – "iBio." We rarely give concepts in development a name, perhaps because of a certain self-consciousness or perhaps because they are in constant evolution.
We have a project under development now that more than any other recent project embodies the principles in our "New Technical Workplace" model. It's a new workplace type, a new kind of space, that we think augments, amplifies and activates the product development process. In one simple sketch intended to express free-form skylights and floor openings unbounded by conventional program or structural shapers, the space looked like a sponge.
"The Sponge" is the term that now defines the space and the concept. It describes not just its form, but the fact that it is here, in this space, that most of the creative process takes place and where the tools and systems that capture and soak up the innovations will take place. For us in its development and for our client in its selection, its "a shortcut to a decision."