Associative Trails

Heatherwick Studio Intranet

Digging that studio scene

A beautiful company intranet - fit for a multi-award winning industrial design and architecture practise.

This bespoke development combines beautiful aesthetics with great functionality - staff skills, project tracking and a famed database of tens of thousands of objects dating back to the studio's earliest days.

The challenge

Heatherwick Studio initially approached us to look at ways of improving their staff appraisal system. The brief quickly explanded to encompass a comprehensive intranet for all their staff.

The system needed to be highly functional, but also reflect the design aesthetic of the studio - practical and unfussy but with the flair and attention to details that characterises much of the studio's work.

The client insisted upon a hands-on approach to the aesthetic design of the system, as well as having strong ideas on the informational design.

Protoype - staff list Protoype - alternative 1
Protoype - staff view Protoype - alternative 2

The solution

An extended HTML prototyping process before the main development began allowed Heathwick Studio staff a large amount of input into the visual and information design of key pages - something that then informed the rest of the system. At one point in the prototype process, a restaurant menu was presented as an input into the visual design of the application. These ideas were worked in to the next iteration of the prototype to great effect.

Once the protytpe was agreed, we built a fully functioning intranet system with a number of features that would help studio members every day:

  • A fully customisable portal entry point - the layout can be easily changed depending on news item importance
  • An application-wide user subscription model allowing users to quickly see updates to content they are particularly interested in
  • Integration with OpenAsset image library
  • Comprehensive staff skills profiles, including software skills, languages, education history and professional experience
  • Project records - with links to staff profiles, external organisations and objects on the studio archive
  • A current project dashboard displaying key metrics such as the resource plan, milestones and
  • Network drives containing documents can be spidered by the intranet and the documents discovered browsed from within the system
  • The Heatherwick Object Library - a curated and indexed collection of physical objects from the Studio's beginnings to the present day
News article
Home page
Manage home page layout

The outcome

As one would expect with such a prestigious client, there were some highly individual features of the system that were particularly satisfying to design and implement. The completed system provides a stylish and usable interface to important company information.

Object library
Studio handboook content page
Project view page

Technologies used

Adobe Coldfusion, Microsoft SQL Server, HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Javascript. Integration with Microsoft Active Directory, Axomic OpenAsset.

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