Bartlett & Saatchi & Saatchi

Inger Bartlett, principal and founder of Bartlett & Associates, will be presenting a design lecture at the world-renowned Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto this fall. Roger Martin, dean of Rotman, will host. Martin wrote last year’s acclaimed best seller The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking Is the Next Competitive Advantage.

The topic is the remarkable business transformation experienced by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi’s Canadian head office after their open-plan redesign by Bartlett. The Toronto-based firm created a highly innovative loft-style space in a conventional office tower that reenergized Saatchi Canada’s culture and took them to new heights of business success. After Bartlett’s redesign, Saatchi’s pitch wins improved to about 75 per cent, and they won five new major clients including Wendy’s, Kroger and Buckley’s.

The lecture will take place Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. at Rotman’s strategy innovation lab called DesignWorks. Located in downtown Toronto, DesignWorks is the Rotman School’s academic and commercial learning lab for design-based innovation and education. BusinessWeek magazine included Rotman School of Management in its list of the world’s best design schools last year.  

Since Bartlett is noted for innovative, clean-lined work, it was no surprise that the redesign helped drive the transformation of the already forward-thinking Saatchi culture. In effect, they created a “community of Saatchi” that reinforces the power of the advertising agency’s unique global brand and encourages collaboration and teamwork. It also allows for impromptu meetings and imparts a hip sense of energy to the space.  

“Our best clients understand the power of design to achieve their goals,” says Inger Bartlett. “A well-designed project helps establish a culture of excellence.”

The design project had narrow budgetary parameters which encouraged an exceptionally creative design solution. This included exhibition space defined by low-cost scaffolding that plays a dual role as the backbone of custom-designed workstations.

The Saatchi project won six awards (Design Exchange, Lester Dundes Award from IIDA New York, American Society of Interior Designers, Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario, and two Best of Canada) and was published in the Netherlands, the U.K., Italy, Hong Kong, the U.S. and Canada.