Posted 19 November 2019
Interview by Marianne Hanoun

Take a virtual glimpse inside some of the world’s most interesting studios

When you’re just starting out, the world of work can seem like a pretty ambiguous space. Where is the work happening? And how? Well, designers and co-founders of studio School, Andrew Herzog and Nicky Tesla, were equally curious about what it’s like to work inside some of the world’s most interesting studios. Which is why they’re launching Public Works – a project that broadcasts monthly livestreams of different working environments, in the hope of gleaning valuable insight into a variety of studio cultures. They’re kicking things off with a live-stream of Food, a New York-based environmental design studio, that lists clients and collaborators such as Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Virgil Abloh and Off-White, MoMA, Nike, Adidas and Yeezy. We spoke to Andrew to find out more about the thinking behind the project and what this level of transparency has to offer emerging creatives.

Tell us a little more about School?
Nicky and I started School after working together for the past couple of years – first at Google in the Creative Lab and then as partners and co-founders at HAWRAF. Our work relationship is particularly complementary – while neither of us can do what the other does, we understand each other's capabilities and are able to ideate, riff and create with each other effectively and intuitively.

After HAWRAF ended, we realised that our goals still seem aligned and decided that we wanted to continue working together. Taking what we’d learned, we felt there was an opportunity to create a studio where learning and self-initiated work are on level ground with traditional business growth. We’ve found that oftentimes the learning and experimentation that comes from our self-initiated work turns into commercially valuable output.

We decided to call the studio School because we want continual learning and experimentation to be foundational components of our process and identity. We think there’s a lot of value in taking time to experiment with and understand new mediums, technologies, and ways of working. These experimental projects, of which Public Works is, have the added benefit of keeping things fresh and interesting for us personally and help equip the studio and its members with valuable skills and insights to help continue navigating the evolving requirements of the creative industry. It’s a way for us to continue to have fun designing while staying in constant motion in a shifting industry landscape.

“We’re human sponges, so hopefully getting to see what a day in the life of other studios will be very informative.”

Can you tell us what inspired the Public Works livestreams?
We’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s like to work as a professional designer, artist or creative human being and the places that support those roles – usually studios, agencies, companies, and/or institutions. Within that, we were thinking about how finding yourself in those places can be difficult. While oftentimes inaccessible for a number of reasons, those places can be super valuable because they contain a ton of concentrated knowledge and experience.

Public Works is a way for us to see what a 'day-in-the-life' is like at some of the places that we think are doing interesting creative work and try to glean some of that knowledge. The live streaming makes the everyday accessible to anyone anywhere with an internet connection, and it gives us at School a chance to experiment with live streaming tech.

We’re human sponges, so hopefully getting to see what a day in the life of other studios, agencies, companies and institutions will be very informative.

The School team
Live-streaming on the site

Why do you think it’s useful to get this kind of insight into a studio?
We think transparency is useful, and it’s something that any number of insights can be gleaned from. Most of the time we only see the finalised output of these spaces, and the point of this project is to get a peek at the process. Ideally, because of its length and access, the broadcast will provide a more realistic perspective of what life is like working in these places versus the more idealised short-form content we often see (which we also like and are not disparaging).

The live stream will pick up on conversations and the overall flow of the day. We imagine there will be some points that are quite boring, but at the same time, that’s what it’s really like sometimes. Seeing how a space is laid out, how meetings happen, who does what and when, seeing how many different things get made before the actual thing, even seeing when they eat lunch, maybe even what they eat for lunch, all of these processes are of interest and we think can be super-insightful.

“There will be some points that are quite boring, but that’s what it’s really like sometimes.”

How beneficial do you think this would be for a student or emerging creative?
Students and emerging creatives are our intended audience. We still consider ourselves students and emerging creatives, so it’s a selfish pursuit of our own to see how everyone else runs their practices. Our hope is that it’s quite beneficial, and can provide insights that give people the courage and knowledge to continue pursuing or start pursuing their work as creative.

What other studios you’re planning on including in Public Works?
We’re still working on lining up the next couple that we’ll feature. Our conversations have been pretty far-reaching thus far, from museums to advertising agencies to small studios like ours. The hope is that we can have a wide range of spaces and ways of working. We’d like to do one more before the holidays and then pick it back up in February. We’ll try our best to keep doing it once a month for the conceivable future. Ideally, once it gets up and running, it’ll be easy to get new spaces onboard willing to live stream a day in the life of their space.


You can watch the current live stream here.

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Interview by Marianne Hanoun