ASH SAKULA

Supporting collaboration and understanding

Showcasing radical humanist architecture

by Carbon & Spark, 2017
Cany Ash and Robert Sakula are couple goals. This married architecture team has been living and working together for over 30 years. Accolades of their design style come from all over the world to work in their community-oriented and optimistic practice. They have won more RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) awards than anyone except 0.002% of all UK firms, and bring a joyful equanimity to their work. When they approached us to rebrand their firm and recreate their digital identity we were over the moon! They provided so much intriguing raw material and beautiful assets to work with. Being designers themselves, they also contributed interesting and distinct preferences and domain expertise to project discussions.
When people came to the old Ash Sakula website, most of them couldn’t immediately discern what their firm did.  Their web presense made them look like a small boutique shop, instead of the global force they are. The site also contained a lot of dead-ends and wasn’t very user friendly. It was our job to dive into their wealth of content and surface the values at the heart of their brand: authenticity, creativity and empowerment. We also wanted to showcase the diversity of their canon and their singular personalities.

ANTI-GENERIC

Cany and Robert gave us carte blanche on this project - at the beginning.  They have their own symbiotic and distinctive style after such long careers, but they were curious to see what another design team would come up with after viewing their work with fresh eyes. As a result, our initial wireframes were avant guard; employing bold colors, asymmetrical elements, large imagery and unconventional interaction design. We initially chose a background hero image that resembled architectural drafts and interaction design that mimicked highlighting one’s notes.
Featured Projects
Inspiration
We drew inspiration from architectual elements and the client’s well-defined brand values. We also explored sites that felt expansive and showcased creative global enterprise companies. We really liked Pomerlau and Ortizleon. Mostly though, we were moved by Ash Sakula’s own work.  So, we created a direct, open site infused with architectural references that made navigating their vast array of different projects fun and easy.

DIRECT

We used straightforward copy and bright colors to orient new users.

IMAGE-FiRST

Their work speaks for itself. We let it fill the screen and bleed to the edges to showcase the scale and feel of their projects.

NAVIGABLE

Ash Sakula have been around for a long time and have lots of projects which could easily have led to sprawl. We got rid of dead-ends and created pathways for users to get around the site easily.
Research
In approaching Ash Sakula’s website redesign we spent a lot of time getting the feel for their aesthetics and values. We worked with them to create a brand prism and we examined the analytics of their current site to see what was working. 

The brand prism was an especially helpful and enlightening exercise for our clients, since they had never considered their brand’s aspirational self-image in a formal capacity. Reviewing the brand prism with our clients was an enlightening and helpful experience. We learned a lot about how to best convey their core competencies to their audience.

We also did a competitive analysis of other major architecture firms before settling on the design of their site. In addition, we conducted user testing through usertesting.com throughout the process. 

We delved into their architectural history, watched videos of them, looked at photography of their buildings, and read their writing about how they approach their practice.

They defined themselves as having two disparate styles: Cany prefers a meandering “walk in the woods” approach, while Robert rather likes to arrive at a destination directly a la a “treasure map” method. In designing the site we made sure to incorporate both approaches in the navigation.
Read more about their philosophy

WOODS
AND
TREASURE

Architecture

MAPPING IT OUT

Since there are over 30 featured projects on the site, we needed to keep it simple and connected.  This meant approachable ways to filter projects and no dead ends!

We added related projects to the bottom of each project detail page and included fun navigation for sorting through their plethora of work (see video below).
Design

OPEN
HOUSE

Development
We're building the Ash Sakula site with our network of incredible developers. After iterating on the site a few times Ash Sakula were thrilled with the final version of their website, which has already helped them secure a handful of projects.

GOING LIVE

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