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Todd Hammond takes stock, four years on from going solo

As Hammond Studio celebrates its fourth anniversary this May, we thought it fitting to take stock with Todd Hammond and gauge whether or not going solo was the right move.

Todd Hammond takes stock, four years on from going solo

With twenty years in the interior design sector, Todd Hammond, director of Hammond Studio, is no newcomer to the business, moreover, he is a heavy weight of design experience. Initially starting his career in a small studio in Surry Hills, Sydney, Hammond went on to BVN in a practice director role for four years. This was followed by an enviable career with Woods Bagot as head of interiors and Sydney Studio for a further four years.

Concurrently, Natasha Hammond pursued a career in advertising, which, as creative director of Hammond Studio, ensures the client’s brand-identity is inherently incorporated into each project. Forming Hammond Studio with Hammond has allowed her to continue servicing her digital and branding clients, while providing graphic design, branding, wayfinding and environmental graphics to the studio and its projects. “The branding and graphic design capability in-house is a way that we are very unique to other firms,” says Natasha.

Ostensibly Todd was at the pinnacle of a career in the interior design industry, yet, he chose to step out and start his own practice. And rightly so. Hammond Studio has in fact been an extraordinary success with world leading commercial businesses seeking him out. “Projects get drawn to us, and those projects consist of a particular mindset, we don’t get clients that are highly hierarchical” says Hammond.

The Global Mining company provides a recent case in point: “The client was wanting to break down the silos, wanted to break down that hierarchy of a highly cellular environment,” says Hammond. True to the change desired Hammond inverted the layout to move staff to a central location thereby making views and sunlight universally shared.

Terms such as ‘collaboration boulevard’ where a series of share spaces take myriad form, or using ‘pie-chart layouts’ where work flows optimally, are easily applied to the Hammond project portfolio. Whether a workplace or other commercial project, Hammond’s expertise lies in implementing ways to make the environment work better for those using it. Particular to this design acumen is Hammond’s ability to deliver quality fitouts that exceed the brief and are made to last.

Additionally, Hammond has a strong skillset when it comes to honouring a site with design outcomes that use heritage and location as design triggers rather than stumbling blocks.

Growing organically from a team of four at the end of year one to seven at year four, Hammond will continue steady growth to ensure the high bar they have set themselves is maintained. Moreover, the Studio attracts large clients that require an agile partner: “Large corporates want to work with smaller studios. They want to know that they’ve got the business owner at the table with vested interest in a successful project,” says Hammond.

This type of relationship also allows the studio time to develop the project premise with deep end-user and community input. Hammond also finds that costs can be navigated more successfully with a hands-on team: “It’s being smart about where you save money, so that you can spend it in the areas that count” he says.

Having set up the business just prior to COVID the studio was well placed to transition to remote working. “What we’ve learned from COVID is here to stay, and the word agile, is a key word for how we operate as a studio. Being a relatively young company, we had all the latest technologies supporting us going into COVID.” says Hammond.

The only hitch was they hadn’t tested it, so did a week trial of everyone working from home: “It was so easy, we haven’t stopped. Ever since then we have a very mobile workforce that can work anywhere. Presenteeism is of the past” says Hammond.

Working across commercial sectors including hospitality, high-end residential and health, the scope of current projects runs from a heritage projects on George Street Sydney to a private hospital in Terry Hills, and the Safety Culture project soon to be completed.

Yet, ultimately for Hammond the success of the practice has allowed him to control where the pressure lies in his workplace: “Starting in the studio definitely gave me balance in life between work and family, more so than before” says Hammond before acknowledging that this was not denied him in other roles.

Rather, it has been about managing a smaller team with fewer projects, having time to focus on quality that has reduced the stress and allowed him an enormous sense of happiness.

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