The Case for Place | Sascha Wagner, Huntsman

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sascha Wagner, President and CEO of the renowned architecture and design firm Huntsman. With decades of experience reimagining workplaces, Sascha had insightful perspectives to share on the shifts he has witnessed in office culture and design.

In our conversation we explored some of the complex dynamics between employers and employees that have emerged in the last few years. As companies embrace remote and hybrid arrangements, what is potentially lost when employees disconnect from shared workspaces?

While flexibility is important, Sascha believes regular face-to-face collaboration fosters innovation, idea exchange, and human growth in ways that virtual meetings simply can’t replicate.

Sascha also shared his passion for mentorship, especially through the lens of his early career experiences. He recalled formative moments like having an influential mentor intercede when a client berated him. Later in his career, he was able to “pay it forward” by similarly standing up for a colleague facing criticism. In Sascha's view, these were powerful lessons in workplace conduct that could only happen through in-person interactions. Mentorship through observation, listening in on calls to absorb how problems are solved, and witnessing how seasoned professionals handle challenges are invaluable forms of learning for young architects.

His leadership provides a useful perspective for companies figuring out the role of offices. The takeaway? Thoughtful design and intentional policies that nurture in-person mentorship and collaboration should still be prioritized even in our increasingly virtual world.

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Listen to the full podcast above.


  • Doug Shapiro
  • Sascha Wagner
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