Multi-award winning group of user experience designers FreeState has strengthened its offering to clients by merging with international design practice HASSELL.
The merger, effective immediately, will bring together the collective creativity, knowledge and resource base of the two practices for the benefit of their clients.
Based in London and working internationally, FreeState has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest brands including Sony, Nokia and Virgin Atlantic, as well as world-class property developers including Brookfield Property and Exemplar. They are experts in developing user-focused stories, designed journeys and immersive experiences that connect people with brands, each other and places to create a more valuable end product.
“What we’ve seen really clearly over the past 20 years is a shift into the era of experience. By that I mean that people are increasingly placing value on ‘experiences’ over ‘things’ and their expectations of those experiences are very high,” said FreeState Creative Director Adam Scott, citing a recent survey by Harris Group that found 72 percent of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things.
“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 explained.
HASSELL Managing Director Rob Backhouse said the merger is about responding to this significant disruption by expanding the HASSELL offer beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture and design to encompass new and innovative ways to deliver value to clients and end users.
“Globalisation, rapid urbanisation and fast changing technology are fundamentally changing the way we live, learn, work and play. Our clients and cities are grappling with these dynamics daily – and it’s increasingly vital to understand and design for the ‘human factors’ associated with these changes,” said Rob.
“Our shared vision is to design the world’s best places – places people love. This merger adds a new dimension to our practice – market-leading capability in user experience – which will give us and our clients a valuable competitive advantage,” said Rob Backhouse.
Adam Scott agreed. “In everything we do, we start with people – imagining what their ideal journey might be as the basis for designing their ideal future environment.”
“So we can work with clients well before the traditional design process would start to define individual user journeys and map ideal experiences of places ‘moment by moment’ to create engaging, meaningful and memorable experiences, events, buildings and places.
“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 added.
FreeState will continue to operate under its own name and leadership but as part of HASSELL, sharing people, knowledge and projects.
HASSELL is a leading international design practice with studios in Australia, China, South East Asia and the United Kingdom. HASSELL judge the success of the buildings and places they design by the way people use and enjoy them – the clients who commission them, the people who inhabit them. Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging.