Inspiration, Learning

Studio Visit: Building a Meaningful Workspace with Elite Author – ace

“We believe that innovation needs creativity and a relaxed mind.. a workspace that reflects that to both the employees and customers; one that fosters originality, not just a good-looking office. We wanted it to be an environment that truly propelled innovation, and inspired to improve the design and development psyche in stark contrast to the traditional offices in Sri Lanka.”

There is increasing research that shows a growing relationship between productivity and workspaces. This looks at how the physical spaces we move through are linked to our performance and happiness, reflecting a growing need to build better workplaces for the future.

According to Gensler’s Workplace Index, there are four key areas that need to be considered when designing spaces for employees or a team. This highlights spaces to focus, collaborate, learn and socialize. With many authors working from home, it is important to consider how this can be applied to your own spaces. Check out Fast Company’s quick tips and Forbes’s article on how to design a healthy home office that increases productivity.

Look at the ways that you could create spaces to focus, collaborate, learn and socialize in your own home or office space. Some ideas include embracing the natural light, designing the room layout and adding some greenery!

We recently interviewed ace – a talented ThemeForest Elite Author on the importance of building a meaningful workspace and how they have built their business to nurture a growing team. Get to know their story and creative journey from when they started, to where they are now.

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Ace is an independent Design and Development studio currently based in Sri Lanka. Our country is home to a growth-minded community which helps designers and developers, much like ourselves, find inspiration wherever we look.

We began our journey in creating digital products in December 2013 as a two-man team consisting of myself (Malith) a tech geek and Entrepreneur and my youngest brother, Pasindu who is a Design Enthusiast and UX specialist. We are from different worlds of technology/code and design. We believe this to be an ideal combination for a tech startup, but this only became clear once our very first product was launched on the Envato marketplace.

“Webarch” was an Admin Dashboard template designed to support developers to kick-start their projects. Unexpectedly, the product became quite a hit within the marketplace. Countless developers around the world were using our product and they shared their excitement with us.

The positive feedback and support from our users motivated and inspired us to jump out of bed each day to keep creating user-friendly, visually enticing digital experiences. We began to appreciate the impact of design and technology; the way it can bring simple ideas to life or help grow an existing product.

Due to progressing sales and appreciation for Webarch on Envato, we were able to expand our team to include two more people, equally passionate about the world of IT and design. It was our pleasure to welcome Praveena, Tech specialist and Entrepreneur, one of our closest colleagues and friends, along with my younger brother Dinuka, another Design and UX aficionado.

While we were brainstorming our next venture, Webarch remained our main product. It retained interest so we, as a team, kept it updated with new perks and continuous improvements. With that initial push from Webarch, we were able to build our first 5-slot workspace in our house. We kept the aesthetic minimal. Although it was only big enough to accommodate 5 workstations, it allowed us to work leisurely.

With the comfort of our new workspace and team, we embarked upon a new journey to develop our second product, “Pages” – yet another Admin Dashboard template more focused on being a UI Framework. It was designed to accommodate any creative output and software, as well as cater to different types of users (marketers, UI/UX Engineers etc). However, with its continuous demand, we spotted a limitation; development was limited to people with technical knowledge. This was a challenge and an exciting goal for us to start working on; to make it accessible to all. We wanted to create a platform that would allow people around the world to go online without coding. This led us to welcoming a new member to our team: Inshad Naziar, Tech Enthusiast, Entrepreneur, UX expert and marketer.

With the ace family growing, we were running out of space. Therefore, we pushed ourselves to build a bigger work environment. We found an idle old flat with 2000sq, which needed a lot of work, but was befitting our requirement. We believe that innovation needs creativity and a relaxed mind. Therefore, we wanted a workspace that reflects that to both the employees and customers; one that fosters originality not just a good-looking office.

We wanted it to be an environment that truly propelled innovation, and inspired to improve the design and development psyche in stark contrast to the traditional offices in Sri Lanka.

This belief led us to the design behind our new workspace to be minimal, contemporary and sophisticated. The use of the infinite wood, open white furniture and the natural lighting made it a calming yet wholesome environment that perfectly fit our mindsets. We collaborated and hand-picked every component that went into the office to ensure that the design goals and intentions were met for it to be like a second home instead of a constrained and restrictive office space. We feel we have enough ground to freely engage with one another and regardless of where you are, to turn around, grab a pen and start collaborating.

The workstations are arranged in such a way that designers and coders are together and able to share opinions, ideas and motivation to constantly work hard to achieve our goals. We are located a small distance away from the loud city noise, surrounded with greenery to promote eco-friendliness. This, in turn, helps our employees feel more relaxed, think freely and creatively.

Along with the improvements, we welcomed more skill into our small group towards the end of 2017; close friend and colleague, John. His knowledge in development and intuition has helped hasten our progress on building our product currently in development.

Being a small team of techies from a small island, Envato gave us the courage and ability to follow our dreams and establish our very own company. With no restrictions on the country of origin, the platform has given us an opportunity to share our creations with the entire world. Knowing the difficulties of starting a business ourselves, we are extremely grateful to have come across Envato and greatly appreciate the constant support and guidance it has given us through the years.

As a way of showing our gratitude, we will continue to strive for betterment through dedication, hard work and unyielding enthusiasm.

You can check out ace’s portfolio here. If you have any questions, want to continue the conversation, jump over to the forums and say hello!