Modern architecture would not be as it is today, if it weren’t for Art Gensler. We reflect on his remarkable built legacy, in the wake of the preeminent architect’s passing, 10 May, 2021.
June 2nd, 2021
If there’s one person we need to thank for bringing the focus of contemporary design to office interiors at a time when nobody cared much for it, it’s Art Gensler. Widely credited with creating the blueprint for how countless professional services firms organise and manage themselves today, the American architect died at the age of 85 on 10th May at his home in California.
Gensler, who went by Art, founded his namesake studio in 1965 with his wife, Drue, and one draftsman, James Follett. At the time, they only had S$200 in the bank and was working in the back of another architect’s office in San Francisco. From a single digit workforce, the studio grew rapidly with offices opening around the U.S. in the 70s and 80s, and then internationally in the 80s and 90s. Today, it’s one of the world’s largest architecture firms with 5,000 employees across 50 offices.
Says Andy Cohen, Gensler Co-CEO: “Art didn’t want to be a ‘starchitect.’ In fact, what he built was a constellation of stars by hiring smart people and getting out of their way. It’s why Gensler is a pioneer in our industry.” Indeed, his pioneering spirit, ‘inside-out’ approach to architecture and selfless client-first design approach laid the foundation for the human experience framework that his firm still embraces to this day. These values have helped propel Gensler to global prominence long after Art stepped down as CEO in 2005 and Chairman in 2010.
Not many can say that they have had an impressive career as an architect for 65 years. Yet, one of Art’s greatest legacies was his focus on having the firm pass seamlessly from one generation to the next. This model of a self-governing and self-sustaining business entity that would evolve and grow over time birthed many incredible projects throughout the firm’s history. From office interiors to megaprojects, here are some great works from the firm to mark Art’s passing.
While designers take up the tenets of biophilia for working and learning spaces, Gensler seeks out the zenith of minimalism in a futuristic light-sculpted convention hall for Hyundai. The intention was for optimum focus, free of distraction – imparting a futuristic aesthetic that communicates the essence of Hyundai’s minimalist yet forward-thinking brand.
In bringing 2000 Microsoft staff into a single location, Gensler has deconstructed the typical working model. Taking its client into unchartered territories, the design team envisaged a new working landscape that moves beyond the corporate norms to embrace ‘island’ life. Gensler’s concept translates ‘typical island components’ into a functional office.
In 2015, Shanghai’s skyline welcomed the second tallest tower in the world. The Shanghai Tower’s transparent skin was designed to humanise the building and embrace city life. Its spiral form, on the other hand, allows the building to withstand the typhoon-force winds that are common in Shanghai. With the aid of the world’s largest tuned mass damper, the building can also withstand an earthquake of up to 7.5 on the Richter scale. Cutting-edge sustainable strategies and innovative public spaces set new standards for green community and provide an inimitable experience for working and living in skyscrapers. The tower has been awarded a China Green Building Three Star rating and a LEED® Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!
Whether it’s enhancing the sculptural volumes of the Cass Bay House, or creating a Piet Mondrian-like geometrical feature across the Pegasus Bay’s Esplanade Home, Neolith helps Massimiliano Capocaccia Architecture Studio augment the imaginative language of these coastal dwellings.
Introducing Kabul Social, a new Afghan restaurant in Sydney’s CBD, whose concept and design tell the story of a meeting of cultures and a desire to make meaningful social change.
According to Le Corbusier, the struggle for it underpins the history of architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright described it as a “beautifier of buildings”. And Motoko Ishii famously equated it to life itself. Indispensable, life-affirming and metamorphic, light underpins all architectural and design efforts.
The practice’s new office on the CBD fringe of Singapore offers a window into the future of hybrid work.
The program and speaker line-up for INDE.Summit has been announced. Block out Wednesday August 3rd and book your tickets. Find the full program is here.
The year is shaping up with a shake up, with many new architecture and design appointments announced in the past month. Read the latest in our monthly On The Move column.
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
The auditorium was full, the vibe electric and the winners truly outstanding last night at the INDE.Awards Gala. Scroll the Indo Pacific’s most outstanding projects and people, here.
Mirvac has a new office designed with care and detail that hits the mark in amenity and comfort for employees and clients alike.
Lapalma celebrates 40 years at Salone del Mobile Milano with a range of new furniture perfect for defining the open hybrid environments of contemporary living spaces in the office or the home.
Unmistakably New York but with a nature-inflected interior that is unmistakably Aman, the recently opened Aman New York is already a Fifth Avenue fixture.