The We Company has announced plans to launch a Future Cities Initiative, hiring the head of Studio Dror and a former Google executive to lead the team. Dror Benshetrit and Di-Ann Eisnor will work with engineers, architects, data scientists, biologists, and economists to generate ideas addressing problems raised by globalization, urbanization, and climate change.
Known for pioneering works such as their vegetated biosphere in Montreal, Studio Dror has been creating visions for designing without boundaries since their inception 17 years ago. Working at the intersection of art, design, and architecture, Dror has led a team of designers, artists, architects, researchers, and communicators to create holistic design solutions for everything from a vase to a city masterplan, a lightbulb to an island, and a collaboration with NASA.
Evidence of Studio Dror’s intermodal approach to design can be seen in our previous coverage of the studio. In 2016, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Expo 67, Studio Dror proposed a 150-meter-wide vegetated dome for Park Jean Drapeau, the original site of the World Fair. The new dome was designed to complement Buckminster Fuller’s Biosphere, which was built as the US pavilion for Expo 67.
One year previous, they were commissioned by Brancott Estate in New Zealand to design a steel sculpture inspired by the winery's history. The result was a “flat matrix of CorTen steel" that stretches open to become a nine-meter-tall volume of aggregated triangulations. Named "Under/standing," the installation was inspired by the winemaking process.
I'm excited to share that I have joined The We Company as co-founder of its future cities initiative. I’ll be working with Di-Ann Eisnor to build a team of engineers, architects, data scientists, and biologists who will work to fuse nature, design, technology, and community in our cities in order to measurably improve the lives of citizens. I see this as a natural extension of the comprehensive approach and holistic visions we create. I am thrilled that the Studio Dror team joins The We Company’s journey to reimagine not just the future of work, but of space and how we use it, and in doing so, help our cities thrive and become more livable, more human and more inclusive.
The We Company seeks to use its long list of affiliated companies, and their datasets, to generate ideas for the smart cities of the future, incorporating finance, technology, design, and construction. Sidewalk Labs, a division of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has taken a similar path in recent months, collaborating with Snøhetta and Heatherwick to create a model smart city in Toronto.