In January 2017 FCBStudios’ annual awayday took the form of a Design Symposium, building tours and socialising, based in the inspiring surroundings of Arne Jacobsen’s St Catherine’s College buildings, Oxford.
St Catherine’s College Oxford was the sublime setting for this year’s Design Symposium where twelve of the Practice’s Design Leaders gave short presentations in Arne Jacobsen’s Lecture Hall.
The designers each presented short illustrated essays as polemical thought-pieces to stimulate discussion about the concepts and values that underpin our work. The subjects varied from more abstract notions of sensory perception and human behaviour to thoughts about habitation and urban structures; from socio-political influences through to the architectural language and expression of form, space and material. Some important common threads emerged: a desire to focus on the experiential human response and the site-specific nature of making places; the importance of reflection and the critical role of making in design. In these changing times, we must be clear about our ambitions. Our ‘poetic insights’ should be explored and brought to the fore.
Our awayday gives us time to talk, listen and discuss: to get the language flowing to stimulate exchange and fresh thinking. Through the polemics, and the discussions that followed, we are now able to trace the threads which run through each into a common sensibility across the practice.
Back at our desks, at meetings and on site, our challenge is to bring the thoughts, conversations and aspirations from the weekend into our practice.
The St Catherine's Papers were presented as three groups of four speakers followed by open questions and chaired discussions. The full programme can be seen here and full texts of selected talks can be read in upcoming explore articles.
1. FCBStudios 2017 ©RichardBattye for FCBStudios
2. St Catherine's College, by Arne Jacobsen © StephanieSandall for FCBStudios
3. Arne Jacobsen lecture theatre, St Catherine's College, Oxford © RichardBattye for FCBStudios
4. Listening: FCBStudios Awayday at St Catherine's College, Oxford © RichardBattye for FCBStudios