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HASSELL + FreeState: Designing For People

International design practice HASSELL has merged with London-based user experience firm, FreeState, to bring added value to its work and build better spaces for people.

hassell freestate


BY Janice Seow

28 November, 2016


International design practice HASSELL has merged with London-based user experience group FreeState.

Founded by Adam Scott, Ben Johnson and Charlotte Boyens, FreeState develops user-centric narratives and immersive design journeys that connect audiences. The award-winning firm’s clientele includes Sony, Nokia and Virgin Atlantic, Brookfield Property and Exemplar.

According to Adam Scott, Creative Director of FreeState, the world has shifted into “the era of experience” over the last couple of decades. He cites a recent survey by the Harris Group, which states that 72 per cent of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences over material possessions.

“Their expectations of those experiences are very high,” Scott says. “What that means is that brands – and places – now live or die by how well they inspire attraction, involvement and a sense of belonging,” he adds.

FreeState will continue to operate under its name and leadership, but as part of HASSELL. Both companies will share its people, resources and knowledge – a move that will bring added value to client projects.

HASSELL Managing Director Rob Backhouse explains that globalisation, rapid urbanisation and fast changing technology are changing the way we live, learn, work and play. The merger will expand the HASSELL offer with a “market-leading capability in user experience”, informing projects beyond the conventional realms of architecture and design.

Both companies have already begun working together on client projects. The collective practice was engaged by Arup to craft its workplace strategy for the Australian region, with the merger enabling Arup to adopt a unique and empathetic approach to its workplace design. “We stepped into the shoes of our clients to understand their experience and how that impacts us as a business,” says Dr Joseph Correnza, Arup’s Buildings Principal and Office Leader.

“In everything we do, we start with people – imagining what their ideal journey might be as the basis for designing their ideal future environment,” says Scott.

“This process is really powerful in connecting brands and places with target audiences – whether they be customers, commuters, employees, students or members of the public – in completely new ways and ultimately transforming everyday places into extraordinary experiences,” he concludes.


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