March 13, 2017by Hollie Wegman ・ Office Hacks

Office Hack #43 — HCMA’s Artist Hack

Envoy is all about making things easier and more fun in the office. In that spirit, we are proud to bring you our Envoy Office Hacks podcast series. Every week, we deliver the coolest, most ingenious, and just plain fun fixes people have invented to improve efficiency and productivity in their workplace.

There are a few essential tools every architect needs: a protractor and compass, an adjustable drafting table, and of course the trusty t-square. But the right equipment isn’t everything. A good architect also needs perspective, a sense of creativity and a curious mind. That’s why Mark Busse started the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program at HCMA’s Architecture and Design office in Vancouver, Canada.

HCMA has hosted a wide variety of different artists. They’ve commissioned interpretive dancers, sculptors, painters and even graffiti artists to work out of a designated workshop stationed right in the middle of the HCMA office. Textile artist Katherine Soucie is their latest artist in residence.

Katherine is knitting a four-foot multicolored tube structure. When it’s finished, it will make for a cozy fort-for-two. In fact, Katherine has invited HCMA’s entire team to bring old clothing from home so everyone can participate in the weaving of her final project.

Mark Busse started the AIR program at HCMA because he’s trying to hack the creativity of the architects at his firm. He believes that exposing them to artists from other disciplines encourages them to experiment, find innovative solutions to challenging problems and to look at their work through the lense of an entirely different craft.

“They don’t realize it but we have just hacked their brain. They might go a little bit deeper, a little bit more sideways or down a different path that they might not have thought of and that can lead to happy collisions and gorgeous accidents that make for better architecture.” Mark Busse, Director of Creativity and Engagement at HCMA Vancouver


How to hack it

Think your business could benefit from the expertise of an artist but unsure you have the space or resources for your own artist-in-residence? Here are a few alternatives.

  • Why not invite a local artist into your office to facilitate a workshop or art-making session?
  • Or, schedule a day for your team to take an art class that might foster creativity and innovative thinking.
  • Or simply reach out to an artist in your community and have a conversation. You never know what might be possible.