Global Americans

 A powerful trend in our practice is the growth of work in markets outside the US. Why do business leaders across the globe increasingly seek American designers for their projects?  Considering the challenges of distance and cultural hurdles, this decision is not made lightly – and is usually made at the highest executive

 A powerful trend in our practice is the growth of work in markets outside the US. Why do business leaders across the globe increasingly seek American designers for their projects?  Considering the challenges of distance and cultural hurdles, this decision is not made lightly – and is usually made at the highest executive level. In my experience, our greatest value is our way of thinking.  We are the universal donor – type O – our relatively young and diverse culture creates a way of thinking that is our ultimate value outside the US. We are creative thinkers, open minded and empathetic to other cultures and frameworks, yet we are outside of them.  

  

Market Types 

In the more evolved and sophisticated markets such as Europe and Japan, we approach challenges unrestricted by their complex framework, as agents of change.  Companies in these saturated and competitive markets are looking for ways to distinguish themselves from their competition, and often they feel that local designers are too entrenched to create unique solutions – imperative in these highly competitive markets.  

In developing markets such as Middle East, China, and India, American designers offer comprehensive depth and breadth of expertise.  Key factors in developing markets include large scale planning projects and competitive and aggressive business practices – cost and speed are critical.  These markets develop in a fraction of the time of the evolved markets that developed ahead of them by using our expertise to catapult their aggressive development into the future on increasingly compressed time scales.  Americans are always rising to new challenges – bigger, faster, better.

Global Mixing 

Why would an Indonesian company hire an American designer to create a Japanese flagship store in their market?  Why would a Dubian retailer hire an American designer to design a British store in theirs?  Why would an Italian brand in Japan hire an American designer for their flagship store in Ginza, one of the most highly sophisticated and retail obsessed markets in the world?  Why hire an American designer to work inside a historic British landmark?  Why hire and American designer to re-create a community landmark flagship store for a historic Japanese brand? I’ve worked on all of these projects – our ability to fuse the cross-cultural aspirations has been highly valued in all cases.  

 

  

 Perceptions 

Americans are authoritative in leading the information, technology and communication age.  The language of the internet is American English.  Americans are global culture leaders – the culture of celebrities, Hollywood, MTV, music, art, and global brands – everywhere you go in the world, our cultural imprints are there.  These cultural trends are most quickly adopted by retail companies.  Retail companies with leadership aspirations either within their own markets or with global goals will look to Americans as definitive authority on global culture – the strongest link to the world, as many retailers are windows to the world to their customers and their communities.

Telenor Headquarters, Oslo, Norway - NBBJ - photography - Tim Griffith

American architects and designers are respected as astute in business and strategic thinking, experienced in creating innovative work – thinking outside the box.  European companies may consider Americans superior in strategic business models, and Asian companies may look more to American designers for both business acumen and design authority.  Both continents respect our knowledge experience and expertise base, in addition our work ethic and commitment.  Americans are willing to go out there and engage, to pour our energy in to realizing the vision of our clients, their markets and the people that make up their communities.  

Approach 

Our ability to bridge and fuse other cultures while not being contained within any one market is our value. Developing deep understanding of multiple cultures and understanding what is relevant to a specific culture, community, and place is key. We can bring our expertise to the table, while quickly adapting and tuning our approach as we immerse and develop local knowledge and understanding of the people.  

 

The Sail at Marina Bay - Singapore - NBBJ

Listening is the first key. We develop insight into those who ultimately will be the gage of success in our designs – the communities and the individuals who will live there. Primary focus on the goals of our clients are critical, and understanding their company or brand cultures, their point of view — with the personality and character reflected in the environment we create.  We carefully look at the competition in that market and focus on creating unique positioning that will be compelling to the people who experience the space we create.  We engage them, enrich lives, and create powerful memories that will draw them back.

  

 What We Create 

 The fusion of all of these cultural insights and bridges into a meaningful experience for the individuals who experiences the space is our unique ability.  It’s how we connect all these differences into a reflection of the complex layers of human perception, connecting people to their own senses, their communities, the world, and the continuum of their collective past, present and future.