When you land on Sasaki.com today, the first thing you’ll see is our bold, colorful logo taking shape. The colorful pieces coming together remain a good metaphor for the (not-so-secret) secret to our success: diverse perspectives combining to yield a whole stronger than the sum of its parts. We love that logo because it’s so much more than a decorative sticker; it is shorthand for the full complexity and beauty that this firm is at its core.
The second thing you’ll see is our new mission statement, “Better design, together” breaking out into both a tangible definition and a navigational construct. It looks simple, but if you have ever crafted a mission statement or worked on a website redesign, you know that many a conversation led us to this essential articulation. Working alongside our design partners from Upstatement, we had many conversations that helped us reach this point. Finding the right way to express this philosophical and cultural underpinning to our unique way of practicing has taken considerable time and soul-searching.
We hope that by codifying our thinking about Sasaki’s design approach into three words and articulating it plainly and directly, we give our clients, employees, and partners a clearer sense of who we are, what we believe, and what we bring to the table.
So, what do we mean when we say “Better design, together?” It articulates two of the most enduring threads woven firmly into Sasaki’s DNA: 1) our commitment to continual improvement and learning, and 2) an unshakable belief in the power of the collective that extends beyond our own walls to include clients, partners, the public, academics, scientists, engineers, makers, artists, and so many others.
Read one way,“Better design, together” is a descriptive statement; read another way, it is also a rallying cry. It is a charge to constantly re-evaluate how we can partner with our clients, how we can better support the multiplicity of people that contribute to Sasaki, and how we can create better—more beautiful, functional, sustainable, equitable—design, together. To us “Better design, together” is an ongoing mission rather than a final destination that leaves us room to define and redefine what better means. Better is forward-looking, it requires a growth mindset, and it is not prescriptive about what is best for our clients or the communities we serve.
What does this mean at Sasaki today? I look to the work our firm does in the fields of resilience, research, and engagement and see a firm that relies on diverse perspectives, proactively responding to new challenges facing our world. I look at innovative experimentation in fabrication and data and design tools and see vast potential for groundbreaking new methods change the way we plan, design, and build. I look to our work in places that we are evolving with clients that are creating new narratives for their communities and see a fearless desire to define meaningful futures across the globe. I look to our internal equity, inclusion, and sustainability groups, to their work bringing us together across genders, races, ages, and areas of expertise to build a better world together, and see Hideo Sasaki’s legacy living on.
Our rich backgrounds are our greatest tool as a design firm. They allow us to teach each other, familiarize us with the power of context, and strengthen our work. I hope this comes through as you click through our projects, our voices, and our people. We have created these things together and we’re proud of them. Are we perfect at this type of thinking? No, and we probably never will be, but that is entirely beside the point. “Better design, together” is a mindset, an orientation, and our commitment to each other, to our clients, and to our firm’s legacy that drives new action and impact.
Our strength in everything from architecture to space planning to resilience-building to community engagement comes from our ability to weave together many perspectives. The changing world needs every single one of us engaged in the hard work of defining our collective futures and creating the places that will serve us for generations to come. In all this reflection about our perspective on a contemporary practice, I hope you see yourself in this dialogue as well. We invite you to join us in the quest for better as a critical member of this tribe of design thinkers in this together.