Standish Gatehouse is the fourth Planit-IE studio. Everything about it is different.
After a year of collective changes and challenges, Standish Gatehouse provided the optimum space for re-gathering the studios again for twenty-four hours of conversation, celebration and collaboration. It had been over five hundred days since the studios had met and anticipation grew in the weeks leading to the event as hints were dropped to activities taking place and the theme of the event.
Days before their arrival at Standish Gatehouse, everyone found themselves in possession of a small A6 field guide on how to “take time out of mind”. It instructed that laptops were to be left behind, plans and paperwork stored safely within the studios, and that their time at Standish Gatehouse was to be used for embracing radical focus — away from responsibilities and deadlines and towards expansive, curious thinking.
With this concept firmly in place, the celebrations followed suit. Locally sourced coffee and pastries in hand, the team were welcomed to the space; for some it was a revisit, a reconnection with a studio they had already enjoyed spending time within, but for many it was an introduction to somewhere completely new. They were then invited to a collaborative and community focused lunch, making salads and dhals using fresh seasonal produce alongside foraged items and some grown on site under the watchful eye of horticultural manager, Alex. The afternoon then moved into a more conceptual mindset, inviting everyone to split into groups to spend time — proper time — considering their relationship to Planit-IE, to Standish Gatehouse, and to the future. The open field and warm weather provided the ideal setting to encourage open thinking, and the ‘results’ of this will be shared soon.
Moving towards the evening, it became time to focus on the here and now of Planit-IE; of discussing the moves towards becoming a more beautiful business thanks to an interview between Pete Swift and Alan Moore, and a commitment from the directors to continue forming and formalising an employee ownership model for the studio, to ensure its future remains in the safest and most passionate hands there are. Combined with the success of achieving B Corp status in 2020, these are significant steps which reflect Planit-IE’s commitment to not only their people but to the planet and the future too.
The main markers of any successful event aren’t really reflections from the event organiser as this has been, but those of the people attending — so here they are, captured from members of the Studio Elect!
“A fun and relaxing day from the moment of arrival. It felt like a great escape from the day to day and a much-welcomed opportunity to get together. It was great to meet the last few members of the wider team and reunite with older colleagues from other studios. A personal highlight for me would be beers and chats by the fire and staring at the stars until the early hours from beneath the big oak. What was evident was the Standish Studio provides the perfect hub for talks, education, knowledge sharing, cooking, eating, drinking and socialising.” — Phil Porter
“Standish feels like the perfect location to trial a new way of collaborating, breaking away from compartmentalised working between disciplines and the traditional development of ideas followed by client presentation. The client could be brought into the centre of the design process to engage in and shape the design response providing real time feedback and thoughts. This could be particularly useful and time efficient at Stage 02 where the big design decisions that shape a project are being made.” — Frank Fitzpatrick
“My highlights were the food! (especially the local produce), seeing everyone in person again (old faces and new), and I enjoyed the discussion between Pete and Alan and thought this was a nice format. I found Alan to be quite an inspiration, particularly his use of language and philosophical approach. I also really enjoyed sitting around the fire with everyone — sometimes it’s the simple things!” — Helen Buckle