Supporting an avant-garde creative process and embracing unorthodox and experimental thinking is what works at Desk Space. Exploring and generating new concepts and ideas is the result of a strong and unique creative process. To think and work with creativity at your side makes common issues obsolete, and those tough business problems easier to face by applying lateral thinking. Courage, practice, and the right facilitation can result in unprecedented innovation – that’s how Claudio Mantovani and Benedetta Nissotti came to create their multi-disciplinary design consultancy, Form—A Studio, and find it’s home here at Desk Space. The two Italian born creatives give an insight into how Form—A operates and how they themselves create.

Form-A Studio is a partnership between two Italian-born creative designers who specialise in identity, branding, placemaking and wayfinding. Earlier in 2019, the team was ready to make the move into a space that would nicely complement their methods of approaching work while also giving their new business a home. ‘It was a big step coming into an office,’ says Benedetta. ‘It’s very special for us because we felt a need to get out of the house. We’ve been able to really grow since we moved here and find a headspace that has taken us to where we are now.’

Taking his knowledge and experience with artistic form, Claudio applied his skills and insights to the concept of identity, branding, wayfinding, architecture and environment. Some of Form—A’s clients include national and international developers, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and architects. Form—A Studio has recently delivered a diverse range of projects: 44 Market Street, a new commercial and retail development by Dexus working in partnership with Woods Bagot architects; Edmondson Park a new community in Western Sydney by Frasers Property and the visual identity of a new distillery Ester Spirits.  ‘We give shape to ideas. We move people emotionally, and we move people physically within environments. We move our audience, and we also move ourselves. We go deeper, and start seeing things bubbling up, elements and minerals – ingredients – that are dancing, melting, shining and turning. We grab those ingredients and shape them into a story that will become the basis of our writing to create meaningful designs.’ Desk Space has embraced the energetic duo, with members always curious about what projects they are working on and the methods they apply to fuel their processes. Form—A employ other technical creatives for elements such as photo, video, edit etc. before presenting their findings and a conceptual plan to their clients; collaboration within the space is imminent.

Creative partnerships can be challenging at times: the key for a successful one may lie in your environment. After working at design and architecture agency TURNER, Claudio founded Form—A Studio in his bedroom office in Clovelly. Finding the right space to work was a challenging process for Claudio. He moved his office from his bedroom to his living room, then to his kitchen table, then a designated spot on his small balcony, all to find the right space for his ideas to cultivate and develop. ‘I needed to have an experience where I could make something for myself, and get into that uncomfortable zone to grow – that’s how Form—A started’. Desk Space is home to Form-A Studio now, and it’s having a positive impact on the partnership already. This was somewhat unprecedented and a pleasant surprise for the team. There is a great energy in this place, with lots of breakout spaces too’, says Claudio. ‘Things are always changing. If you could trace my steps around the space, you would probably be able to visualise a spaghetti bowl, because I am always around the space finding places to think quietly or meet with people.’ Desk Space memberships allow all members free reign across our three levels of meeting rooms, lounges and kitchens, allowing new connections and business collaborations to permeate and develop amongst companies.

When discussing his business experiences with Benedetta, the partnership began organically and seemed effortless. She was working in Sydney’s entertainment and production industry, working in the fast-paced world of musical theatre and fashion weeks. Much like Claudio, she felt a need to dive into something that scared her. ‘My ideas were always so different from the rest. I sometimes felt as if I didn’t belong in my teams. I love feeling uncomfortable, so if something is easy, I also get bored. Talking with Claudio, without thinking of any other commitments, we started Form—A Studio very naturally. We always knew we would collaborate together one day.’ Built on a foundation of sharing bold ideas, Benedetta comments on how these ideas come together. ‘Our process is very specific – in the centre of everything we do is people. We try to understand what people need through closely analysing their environments. We dive into the community and the context, the territory and lives of people, and follow our instincts.’ Creative processes are often, by nature, very specific to individual intuition. After thorough research, the Form—A team are usually drawn towards a particular direction – and they both feel it. ‘For a project we delivered for a client in the hospitality industry, we were drawn towards the Italian Futurism artistic movement, so we wrote a story, took references, analysed artists that inspire us, began reflecting – looking at the history of what has inspired us – and that is what leads us. It’s people using and living in an environment.’

Since moving into Desk Space, the team has thrived in their new community. ‘I like the feeling of not being alone, and having creative people around me. There’s a buzz about Desk Space, but there’s always a way to retreat into a room if you need to find some peace. The open space makes me feel so alive – there are lots of interesting characters that work around you, and feeling creative people around me makes me feel more capable of doing– like I am part of something bigger’ says Benedetta. ‘For us, it’s about how we feel when we create, and this space made us feel great straight away.’[1]

To learn more about Form—A Studio and their work, check out their website here.