2015 Year in Review
With the Holiday season upon us it feels appropriate to take a look back at the year that was and reflect on the good, and the not-so-good.
A year of new places
2015 started with us signing the lease on our new Sydney studio at 99 Elizabeth St. Overlooking the old courts, Hyde Park Barracks, Hyde Park, and St Mary's Cathedral, the space promised a lot of light, energy, and room to expand. Our old studio in Bathurst St had become a little crowded with 16 designers, and we really needed a change of location. The building owners at Bathurst St were willing to let us take up two floors and put a staircase in between, but splitting across two levels just didn't feel right. And so we made plans to leave it behind...
99 Elizabeth St came to us as a blank slate - no wiring; no carpet; no fittings. We had the welcome opportunity to really make the space our own, and so we engaged Intermain, and began the design process. It is a challenging task, to design your own workplace. Having to think through how you want the space to flow, and how you want to be working together and with clients. What kind of impression do you want to make? How to make a space genuinely reflect your own personality as a company...
Over the next two months the space was transformed. New carpet; wiring; furniture; a kitchen; lighting. The result has been an absolute joy to work in, and we've had space to invite clients to work on-site; and recruit new staff (more on this in a little)...
Here's what it looks like now:
We moved into the new studio in April. It well and truly feels like home to us now.
Of course, the new studio wasn't the only change of scenery we experienced in 2015. In September we announced the opening of a new studio in Melbourne. Recruitment is proceeding nicely and by the time we come back in January we'll have a staff of six on the ground in Melbourne. I wish I could share photos of the great new space we've set up, and invite you to the opening, but alas we're yet to find the right spot! That task continues, however, and in the meantime we're working on-site with clients, and in temporary housing in Southbank!
New clients; new people
2015 saw our client list grow substantially. In 2014 we worked with 25 different organisations; that number grew to 43 in 2015. That's a lot of new clients, and some wonderful new challenges. We've worked with Government departments in NSW and Vic, as well as service design training for the ATO and our involvement in the DTO's alpha project for gov.au which saw six Meld designers working as part of an integrated team alongside our friends at Tobias & Tobias, Thoughtworks, and Brainmates. We've worked with ACMI and the State Library of Victoria. We've worked in finance, telecommunications, technology, architecture & construction, property, media & entertainment, energy, transport, superannuation, insurance, education... We've trained, mentored, and supported teams to learn new capabilities in-house; and we've collaborated with them to design new customer experiences, new services, new spaces, and new business strategies. It has been a year of remarkable diversity.
We've also been very fortunate to welcome a lot of wonderful new people to Meld Studios. Having started the year with 16 full-time staff; we close out the year with that number at 25, with a few more lined up to join us in the New Year. That has brought a new level of vibrancy to the company, and some great new capabilities.
Sadly, we've also said farewell to a few people as well - we wish them well and will miss them. Janni and Marius have returned home to Denmark; and Jo has taken up a new challenge, trying something she feels strongly about. We have been privileged to have them brighten our studio during the year.
Growing as individuals and seeing the world
Each year we encourage our staff to get out and see the world as part of their professional development - and this year was no exception. Meld designers visited Antarctica, Bolivia, New York, London, Berlin, and Florence, as well as participating in conferences in China, Poland, and America. Not to mention recreational trips even further afield!
We were thrilled to be honoured with the Good Design Award, Best in Category, Service Design at the end of May. The award recognised our work with the State Library of Victoria in 2014 to redesign service delivery across the full spectrum of services offered by the Library. Chris O'Brien and Dom Gagarin spent 14 weeks working hand-in-hand with Ben and Bridie from SLV, and we were extremely proud to have that work recognised by the industry. In October the project was shortlisted for the International Service Design Awards in New York at the SDN conference - one of 13 projects globally to be so honoured.
2016 looms large in our minds already, but there's one more milestone to celebrate before we turn our backs on 2015: today is our sixth anniversary. This year has been a great year, and the journey of the past six years is truly remarkable.
Next year will see us consolidating our presence in Melbourne and focusing our attention on slowing our pace of growth a fraction. We will be continuing to conduct really interesting work, and making our mark on the world around us in small, yet significant ways.
Thank you all for your support throughout 2015. We hope you enjoy the Holiday season and look forward to seeing you all in 2016.