New York design firm, Local Projects, is a masterful storyteller, with a unique perspective on creativity and the business of design. We asked Tiya Gordon, studio director at Local Projects, to weigh in on just what makes them tick, what has fueled their impressive growth and how 10,000ft Plas has helped them manage complexity and continue to “make meaningful work.”
“Local Projects is a media design firm for museums and public spaces. While innovation drives much of today’s design, they are interested in creating projects that endure. They create media that is integrated into architecture and online spaces, and that connects people with the world and each other. Many of our projects are about co-creation: gathering visitor stories, or collecting opinions, or memories. Local Projects was named a Fast Company Masters of Design for 2011, and was #2 on Fast Company’s 2011 list for most innovative design studios in the world. Between StoryCorps and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, it has gathered over 100,000 individuals’ stories and memories, sharing them with the world, and touching millions of lives.” Its work has raised the expectation for media in physical spaces, creating spectacle and meaning out of storytelling. Check out more information here.
What is your company most proud of?
Local Projects is a dream team. Our studio is comprised of incredibly dedicated and professionally driven individuals whose backgrounds cover a range of disciplines. Within our studio you will find Graphic Designers, Interaction Designers, Animators and Filmmakers, Creative Technologists, Software Engineers, Writers and Directors all working together to execute technologically driven creative solutions for museums and cultural spaces. We are most proud of our people who make our projects possible.
How do you manage your project portfolio and people? What are some of the challenges and benefits of your process?
I asked our studio’s Principal Jake Barton what his New Year resolution was for 2013. Without hesitation he replied, “make meaningful work.” With this ethos Jake works to bring in the most incredible projects for the team. Once the project is in the studio we build a team that will best serve the project for it’s creative, management and technology needs. We never make the same project twice so it is critical that the right minds and expertise are assigned and supported on the project from discovery through design and installation.
What attracted you to 10,000ft?
I started at Local Projects in 2008 when we were a company of seven. Four years later we have grown to a studio of almost 30 full time staff members and a satellite network of freelancers. I was seeking an efficient and effortless way to track staff resources across projects whose schedules were anything but linear and predictable. A core portion of our studio is dedicated to the media design and production for the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in addition to a variety of other incredible cultural institutions including The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Eisenhower Memorial Commission and the New York Hall of Science.
The complexity of the September 11th project required us to be responsive and flexible for a media schedule that sat within a much larger construction and planning timeline creating the requirement that we structure ourselves in such a way that we could continue moving work forward but in a non-linear fashion allowing for accelerations as well as starts, holds and stops for a production cycle that is now spanning 5 years. 10,000ft allowed us to easily see design and technology resources across disciplines and projects in order to bend before we broke.
Has 10,000ft added benefit to your company? If so, how?
We can now easily create quarterly and annual projections to assess and confirm our resources across fields of disciplines at the studio. The information is literally at our fingertips to see when an individual becomes available for new assignments and when others are overbooked and require additional support.
It is my hope that 10,000ft can create a better harmony between our management and creatives; to provide staff a controlled and understood workload and management a clear picture on their allocations of a shared and very active resource pool.
What is the secret sauce to your success?