OP.™ – short for Office of Possibilities – is a multi-disciplinary design studio that creates objects and spaces based on well-informed strategic ideas. Their competences span architecture, art direction, exhibition design, industrial design, brand strategy, graphic design and innovation strategy.
I've been following them since they moved into their Gothenburg studio, in the same building where I was living at the time. Since then, they have built a formidable portfolio of projects involving brand identity, product design, architecture, exhibition design, and more; with clients such as Volvo, Ikea, H&M, Voi Scooters, and Elektron Music Machines.
For this conversation, I went back to my old neighborhood and sat down with co-founders Petter Hillinge and Caspar Andrén. We talked about their personal journeys that led to owning a design studio together; how they grew their company 100% during a pandemic (partly due to their experience in functioning as a remote, distributed team); how they communicate, sell, and execute truly multi-disciplinary work; the great designers that they have learned from; the tensions between business and creativity; and other topics that shed light on their practice of design.
:: Books, Links, Resources*
+ Alvar Aalto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvar_Aalto
+ BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group): https://big.dk/
+ Charles and Ray Eames: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_and_Ray_Eames
+ Deglabbet: https://www.deglabbet.se/
+ Forsman & Bodenfors: https://forsman.co/
+ Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann: https://geni.us/grid-systems
+ Gunnar Asplund: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnar_Asplund
+ Josef Müller-Brockman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_M%C3%BCller-Brockmann
+ Kilo: https://kilodesign.dk/
+ Louisiana Museum of Modern Art: https://louisiana.dk/en/
+ Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy: https://geni.us/ogilvy-on
+ Pål Svensson: http://www.palsvensson.se/
+ Sigurd Lewerentz: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigurd_Lewerentz
+ Skewed: https://skewed.com/
+ Sprint by Jake Knapp: https://geni.us/sprint-dd
+ The Futur: https://thefutur.com/
:: Connect with Design Disciplin
+ Website: http://designdisciplin.com
+ Podcast: http://podcast.designdisciplin.com
+ Instagram: http://instagram.com/designdisciplin/
+ Twitter: http://twitter.com/designdisciplin/
+ YouTube: http://youtube.com/designdisciplin
+ Bookstore: http://designdisciplin.com/bookstore
:: Connect with OP.™
+ Website: https://op-web.se/
+ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/op_update/
:: Episode Bookmarks
00:02:32 What does OP.™ do?
00:06:50 Co-founders' stories
00:15:10 Investments that led to success
00:19:27 Remote work experiences, tools of the trade, and getting hands-on
00:24:40 Research trips
00:27:53 Job titles at a small design studio
00:30:56 Scoping and managing projects of different sizes
00:40:55 The good design brief
00:43:59 Achieving creative satisfaction
00:49:00 Saying "no"
00:51:39 Reputation, making a mark, and attention to detail
00:55:34 OP.™'s design philosophy and style
01:05:19 Books and resources
01:06:56 Failures that lead to success
01:09:10 Iteration, evolution, and imitation in design
01:12:07 How to do research
01:15:50 Advice for students and aspiring creatives
01:21:56 What is next for OP.™?
01:23:41 Parting advice and food for thought
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