Tengbom – stretching the boundaries of architecture
The term architecture is forever evolving – so also in one of the world’s oldest architect companies, Tengbom, which in 2016 was ranked as one of the world’s most innovative architectural firms by Fast Company.
– We are working on all aspects of architecture. In addition to the core business, which consists of more traditional architecture, we offer an ecosystem of services, from design to project management and sustainability, explains Emelie Mannheimer.
Tengbom’s strength lies above all, according to Emelie, in size and that they can embark on extensive and challenging projects. Their service portfolio is both broad and cutting-edge, and employees really get a chance to work across all parts of the industry.
As Marketing and Communications Manager and Partner, Emelie Mannheimer is responsible for Tengbom’s internal and external communications. She also works with the brand and culture movement within the company. With one foot in the marketing department, she is also involved in various projects such as art director or copywriter – a way of working that resulted in a Design Studio and a new business area with new services to offer Tengbom’s customers.
Future architecture in a digital landscape
Harvey Nash has assisted Tengbom on some occasions with recruitments and recently with the role of Digital Transformation Director. That role is responsible for leading Tengbom’s innovation hub where a virtual and multidisciplinary team works to highlight digitalization within architecture.
To more easily meet the architecture of the future in a digital landscape, Tengbom uses tools such as VR, animation, AR, Big Data and Computational Design. They work and explore to find new innovative ways of working, such as co-creation, parametric design and disruptive methods.
– Using digital tools is not an end in itself, but it’s amazingly exciting to follow the digitization that takes place around us right now. We want to investigate, push on and use new technologies to respond to social movements. Basically, it is all about interaction between architecture and people, Emelie describes.
Wide focus on innovation
Tengbom consists of 650 people in 11 offices in Sweden and Finland. Working at the forefront and working innovatively presupposes a certain type of corporate culture and leadership, something that has also been a focus and required strategic efforts in recent years.
– We have involved all employees in this. One has to be involved and engaged in these questions to understand what the new approaches will mean to oneself and for one’s work. Otherwise, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of delivering empty words without any concrete actions behind them, Emelie adds.
Tengbom encourages entrepreneurship, curiosity, own initiative and personal drive. The company has a flat organizational structure which is highly appreciated and a little different compared to how the industry looks in general. You can go far in your career here, if you put the effort in.
The company works purposefully with its identity, which is no longer primarily associated with founder Ivar Tengbom. Today people from the whole team are given a chance to shine and be in the spotlight, and not necessarily only the star architect.
– Teamwork is the order of the day here. We believe in a collective intelligence and in the ability to co-create, explains Emelie.
As the process managers and urban developers, they are, they are currently working with many social sustainability projects. Sustainability requirements are not seen as just “legislation that must be followed”, but rather as a force of innovation. Sustainability aspects are introduced into the management room, from where the examine how to best meet today’s needs without jeopardizing opportunities in the future.
“We design long-term valuable architecture that contributes to socially sustainable development,” says Emelie Mannheimer.
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