At the heart of any successful partnership company lies a synergy between a dreamer and a realist. That rare common ground is where the best companies, products and people arise from, and is usually the origin of something great. Steven Charlton, outgoing Managing Director, and Design Principal Diane Thorsen – each of them a formidable talent in their own right – found that common ground. Together in 2010, they founded the Dubai Studio of Perkins+Will, world renowned global architecture and design firm. They’ve been on an upward trajectory to success ever since.
When we heard of Steven’s imminent departure for new pastures in the UK, we quickly reached out to the dynamic duo to get their thoughts on their journey so far, and what they believe makes their partnership so productively successful. “It’s simple really,” says Steven, “or at least it felt that way at the time. We have always, from the very first day, focused on the ‘bigger picture’. By that I mean delivering the best design possible even when there were distractions. This was on many occasions to the detriment of profit but when building for the long term it is of the utmost importance and requires a lot of clarity. And of course, it was never just me and Di – lest we forget the marvellous team we have built over the years. We have always valued and respected them as individuals and really got to know them and we knew they would always try and do their best knowing Di and I would always have their backs.”
Whilst the move of a key figure such as Steven is bound to have some effect, the team are confident any change will be positive. Diane commented that, “Any change that is slightly uncomfortable is a positive one as it gives relevance and respect for what we have built together. I’m not concerned as I have total trust in myself and our team, but I will of course miss the interaction as we’ve enjoyed a uniquely positive business relationship. As a team, we are the sum of parts and are therefore able to weather any shifts. The move is positive for Steven and we look forward to getting to know our new MD.”