Get to know the creatives behind the UK’s award-winning office design company.
People are at the heart of what we do. From complete office design and build, to sustainability updates or visual re-brands, our success comes from the work of 170 creative professionals who make up our teams. Our Meet the Designers series introduces six of our designers, giving you a better look at who they are and how they create.
We sat down with Design Director Sean Espinasse, to get to know more about what makes him tick. Here are some of his answers:
Sean’s career has alternated between consultancy and design and build. He went into office design initially, but didn’t fall in love with it until re-joining after a bit of client-side consultancy experience. Sean’s ability to understand client journeys made the move back to Design and Build more rewarding. He came to Oktra to set up Oktra North, where his background has enabled him to offer objective perspective to clients.
“Design is looking for a positive reaction,” he says.
“People need to react to their environment differently. Design is making a difference, design is creating a space that people react to, one that changes behaviour.”
How does Sean approach design?
“I always aim for tranquillity… If we break the norm in a positive way, clients grow and when they grow, they come back.”
Q: At what moment did you know you wanted to be a designer?
A: “I feel most comfortable once I see concrete proof, and so the moment of realisation occurred when I had completed my first project. Observing and feeling the impact space can have on people – their behaviour, attitude and happiness – was the point in time I was certain being a designer was for me.”
Q: Tell us about your favourite project – how has the new office inspired your client to do amazing things?
A: “Gymshark Headquarters – it was a significant milestone in rapid growth of the business, it inspired people to join Gymshark from all over the world.”
Q: What is the first thing you do when tasked with a new design?
A: “Through interrogation of a brief I tend to understand the WHY. Understanding the WHY enables the development of the WHAT IF. And it is the WHAT IF that helps us stretch our imagination and thereby the potential solutions.”
Q: Where is your favourite place in the world?
A: “My campervan as it allows us to get anywhere any time of the year, and I switch off in it.”
Q: What do you prefer – a pencil or drawing on a computer?
A: “This is a harder question to answer than I first imagined. The pencil would typically win, however the tablet and stylus are starting to fuse the process, and ‘undo’ beats a rubber.”
Q: Tell us about what is on your desk.
A: “My desk is ordered, aligned and clean at the end of every day.”