Monday, October 22, 2007

Studio Retreat and the alternative workplace revolution


Derbyshire-based Duncan Hewitt from 2D Design & 3D Visualisation specialists albino igil is not going down the garden office route but is busy converting his garage loft into a shedlike atmosphere. I came across him as albino igil was approached by about-to-launch Studio Retreat to produce several illustrations of their new range of garden offices (pictured above) for their marketing and advertising literature. Here are his thoughts on the alternative workplace revolution.
"I'm a great believer in this way of working for the future - asides from the two of us full-time at albino igil (myself and my wife, the project manager) we also use several specialist freelancers running similar set-ups. In my opinion, with today's technology there is absolutely no reason why smaller companies with decent work-methods in place can not give similar, if not better, results than typical premise-based businesses. Then we pass our time and energy savings on to our customers whilst living somewhere we'd rather live and avoiding the commute. I'm intrigued as to how far we can take power generation through solar and wind turbines to make our new studio more self-contained - I've some research to do on all this yet!

"Whilst we're based in South Derbyshire our graphic designer is based in Cheshire (soon relocating to Scotland) and our 3D modelling specialist is based in Ireland - after three years and numerous early hour conversations I have still to meet him in person! Our work goes out all over the UK with many clients never meeting up for more than the initial introductory meeting, though some even skip that if their brief is tightly worded. Our next step is to utilise a video-conferencing type system to help aid the conceptual stages of design with real-time sketching across the internet - we're currently researching the possibilities for cost versus effectiveness."
Duncan also points to operations local to him in Derby who share a similar philosophy, Three Men One Shed (featured elsewhere on this site) and Moggs, who describe themselves a a 'virtual agency'. As Duncan says: "Whilst Moggs are not in a shed they do use people who are shed-like in their approach. They're essentially the hub for us shed-workers - though I really do believe that the hub itself could be a glorified shed-like environment."

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