Interiors

Masters of multidiscipline: The Latitude Group

November 6, 2015

Latitude is a group of passionate, talented and design-orientated experts. Pioneering uncharted territory, this multidisciplinarian studio works with designers and architects to provide an offering that reaches far beyond the usual graphics and branding experience.

Written by: Jan Henderson Images by: Peter Clarke 

It’s not enough these days to do one thing and do it well. It is expected that in this multidisciplinary, multi-tasking, multifaceted world we live in we should be consummate in every area of business – difficult to accomplish when time is ever short and manpower is at a premium.

For designers and architects running a practice, finding new commissions and actually making projects, there’s little time for marketing and self-promotion. There are a few who manage to accomplish this difficult feat, but they are a minority. For the majority, the auxiliary work of promoting projects, seeking publicity, updating a website and wrestling with the ever-growing list of social media outlets is a struggle. Without branding and promotion, however, who will see the work you do? More importantly, how will your talent be broadcast?

Enter the Latitude Group. This is a practice with a difference, a chameleon type business that has navigated the waters of the changing design scene and thrived. Multidisciplinary studios aren’t new, but there are few that are as successful as this one.

The business has been surviving, reinventing itself and kicking goals for some 12 years and how it has continued to organically grow is a lesson to us all.

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The Latitude Group was founded by Andrew Wood, Filip Bjazevic and Peter Clarke, each with their own particular expertise in design and publishing, advertising and photography respectively. What started out as a graphics/photography studio in 2003 now encompasses a range of business aspects, integrating design, digital, environments, communications, photography and the built form to solve commercial problems using appropriate creative expertise. Quintessentially, the Group works to understand your business, your needs and how to achieve solutions in all aspects of business, with a particular focus on architecture and design. If this sounds like promotional talk, that is because it is, and how often do you find a successful business where the sole aim is to make your business prosper?

The whole idea of multidisciplinarian studios is a little blurry, made more so by the alacrity with which plans change and grow to realise solutions. For example, to say that the Latitude Group can develop your brand is too simplistic, as working with clients who want just one thing generally leads into other areas. If a logo is required, so then is branding. This may lead to a revamp of the website and beyond to social media or perhaps an event to launch the brand, or the development of a potential client base to increase profit. And then there is photography to bring the whole thing together with a coffee table monograph. Yes, one thing leads to another and this is the beauty of a studio such as Latitude. It embraces the journey and adapts to the potential outcomes.

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Where there are no boundaries, there is scope to explore and discover, and these days, when business models are out-of- date before they have been understood, it’s necessary to have a reliable outside network that can become an extension of a business and fill the gaps.

A primary focus for Latitude is the architecture and design (A+D) community, as its team understands what is required to make an A+D practice work – from identity branding and website development to strategising for the future as well as digital promotion.

Another area that has developed for Latitude is wayfaring and signage for the urban environment. Collaborative projects have included Macquarie Bank, Urban Pacific, Huntingdale Golf club, the Queen Victoria Building, QV8 and Places Victoria, and this particular area of the business is growing exponentially. Communication is key, of course, and with architects and designers it is imperative to speak the same language. Successful relationships breed longevity of tenure and Latitude works with many practices, including Elenberg Fraser, Inarc, Breathe Architecture, Mim Design and b.e. architecture. This is a design focused studio and, as designers, they understand the complexities of a busy practice, offer help and collaborate in a multitude of areas, leaving the designer or architect free to concentrate on what they do best.

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When you meet the people behind Latitude, the overwhelming emotion that emanates is passion for the future. These days it is too easy to turn away from the constant change; change is unsettling, but it is a fact of business that can only be driven by expertise and advice. Recently, Daniel Dalla Riva joined the group and he brings with him knowledge of the experiential side of things. His work with design, creativity and pop-up projects is well-known and his understanding of design further strengthens the group’s resources.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of conducting business today is recognising that, although you know your profession, it is the additional requirements such as actually running a business and planning for the future that are difficult. Certainly, ensuring that your logo is design-savvy and your website is up to scratch is important, but these days there is so much more. It’s good to know that there is tangible and available help out there that serves to complement and aid a busy practice.

This article appears in (inside) 88 – the IDEA Shortlist issue, which is available in newsagents nationally and via Google Play and Zinio.

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