Thrive Design Studio approaches work in a unique way. Instead of focusing on a specific field or niche within design, we focus on a broader way of designing. This encompasses seeing all design challenges – be they architectural, graphic, organizational, or urban – as essentially the same thing: opportunities to create and strive towards a desired outcome.
When it comes to helping our clients and projects establish desired outcomes, we champion the pioneering concept of thrivability, an aspirational philosophy, process, and practice that steps beyond conventional and sustainable methods of development and into a regenerative and life-affirming one (to learn more about thrivability, read our manifesto here). In its essence, thrivability is a proactive approach to take on the deepest societal problems with courage and enthusiasm. It draws insights from living systems (which encourages human development to be in harmony with nature) and embodies a mentality of abundance (a perspective that sees possibilities, not limitations). Our work, simply put, is devoted to bringing thrivability to life through the following services:
Design & Placemaking // We have experience working on a diverse range of applied projects, from significant scaled urban regeneration developments to restaurant buildouts, kitchen remodels and commercial storefront designs. Our approach to design and placemaking is centered around regeneration, which roots a project firmly within its cultural and ecological heritage, strengthening connections to local community while being waste-free, energy and water neutral, and aesthetically beautiful.
Thrive is a firm believer in the power of design. We’ve developed a keen awareness to the conditions in which certain places can make people feel physically sick, deflated, and uninspired while others can heal, energize, inspire and regenerate. It is our mission to create the latter for homeowners, organizations and communities through inclusive processes that engage and capture the creative vision of those who will use a place. Our process doesn’t design ‘for’ – we design ‘with’.
View our Design & Placemaking projects HERE.
Visioning & Strategy // In addition to design and placemaking, Thrive has experience working with various organizations and urban regeneration developments around the world on ambitious visioning and strategy campaigns. Thrive principal Joshua Foss carries a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability, a renowned program at the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden that was developed in conjuncture with The Natural Step Framework.
When working with an organization or development, Thrive helps establish a clear vision of their future that not only complies with scientific principles of sustainability, but promotes regenerative measures that make up for prior impacts. We then work with the client to identify barriers which are preventing them from moving towards this vision, and develop a series of strategies that can help them be overcome. Parallel to this, we focus on catalyzing and strengthening existing efforts that enhance an organization/development’s ability to move directly towards their ‘thrivable’ future.
Thrive has helped various organizations plan for sustainability, from small independent shops to quarter billion $/yr enterprises. Within the built environment, Foss has contributed to some of the world’s most ambitious and highest performing projects, including a 3,500 home mixed-use new development in the UK which is aiming to have the lowest environmental footprint in all of Europe, as well as several projects vying for the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most ambitious building certification program.
View our Visioning & Strategy projects HERE.
Education & Capacity Building // Thrive principal Joshua Foss leads a masters course for Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s (MCAD) groundbreaking Sustainable Design online program. This 15-week course draws from the Studio’s work in the field while also offering a comprehensive overview of sustainable design. A lot of content is covered in the curriculum, from leading sustainability frameworks (the Natural Step, Cradle to Cradle, Biomimicry, Natural Capitalism, the Living Building Challenge) to specific design strategies (reduce, reuse, recycle, restore) to ecological/economic/social/
View our Education & Capacity Building projects HERE.
Outreach & Communications // Correspondingly, Thrive Design Studio is also a seasoned communications agency. We have worked on a diverse body of projects that creatively communicate complex subjects within sustainability, thrivability, regenerative development and urban design. Over the years, we have hosted television shows, published articles and field guides, authored successful blogs (Metro Hippie has had over 200,000 unique hits), produced videos, and spoken at countless trade shows, universities, summits and events. These efforts capture our knack for sharing the opportunities within sustainable and thrivable design.
View our Outreach & Comms projects HERE.
Let’s Collaborate! // So there is clearly a lot on our plate! We are keen on partnering with high-impact initiatives that are equally inspired to accelerate transformational change into the future. If you are interested in co-creating or collaborating on a business strategy, community development, event, educational curriculum or corresponding project, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.