It was a natural process. We started 18 years ago and right from the start we knew that we need to position ourselves on the market to succeed. After 10 years we took a close look at our business again and decided on the direction we wanted to take, which is creating value for our clients beyond aesthetic aspects. We realised that architecture and interiors can be used as a ''tool'' to create identity, differentiation and atmosphere which matter to people, brands and companies and supports them in achieving their strategic business goals. For us it was always more interesting to work with companies, institutions, brands and non-governmental organisations. They address a much wider audience than private housing, where we would design for 1 family only. For us there's more room to experiment with corporate clients, they have more appetite for innovation. Additionally, we knew that the market for corporate architecture accounts for 25% of the entire building industry in Switzerland, which for us was a solid business case.
You mentioned corporate clients are open to innovation. What is the most remarkable change in the field of corporate architecture in the last decade?
Definitely the leaders of companies are more aware of the importance to provide a good work environment and/or experience for their employees, partners and clients. They realise the work environment has a direct impact on productivity, performance, internal culture and the external image of the company. Switzerland is quite special due to its size. The market is economically small but culturally very diverse. Many companies struggle to find highly skilled employees. Therefore, besides offering financial benefits, they also have to provide an attractive work environment to keep their good employees.
Who are your clients?
It varies from specialised SME's in the IT, finance and manufacturing industries to very big global players and brands that have a global market share of up to 30%.
Your practice goes beyond the conventional architectural package. On your website you write that ''OOS transforms the values and positioning of clients into a customized spatial environment''. How do you do that and when do you get involved in the project?
We do more or less what other people do when they analyse the stock exchange, but we do it in another way. We observe how companies are performing (good, bad or stable) and based on that we call and ask them what they will need in 1-3 years in terms of space in relation to their development. According to our philosophy architecture is an investment good e.g. you need an ''architecture'' to place your machines in the new space when expanding the production line. Beyond that, architecture has the capability to reach differentiation and create identity. When the company is doing well and growing, probably sooner rather than later it will need new office space, laboratories, hotel rooms, production facilities, etc. for their employees and clients. They also need to develop growth strategies and plan financial resources. This is where we support them by developing scenarios how their properties can ''grow'' to follow the growth path of the company.