Xsense works with clients to connect places (new developments or existing sites) to their roots. Through deep research, our diverse team of multi-disciplinary experts uncovers all that is resonant and relevant about a project site and its surroundings. We take our findings and help developers, planners, architects and designers create meaningful destinations using a process that integrates design and marketing with operational efficiency. In short, our deep and thorough research doesn't just go to the planning team, but to all team members engaged in a project over time: planners, landscape designers, architects, interior designers, operations, marketing and sales.
Our model begins with in-depth research into the particulars of a place’s local history, people, culture, legends, cuisine, the arts, etc. We interview locals, review historical literature, conduct ethnographic research, facilitate community research and generally immerse ourselves into the local vibe, collecting all aspects of what makes this place unique.
Taking this knowledge and distilling it down into a series of specific and actionable recommendations, we then work with stakeholders and design teams to find uniquely meaningful ways to bring our findings to life. We conduct visioning sessions and participate in design charrettes and cross-disciplinary workshops to ensure that everything from food and beverage decisions to health and wellness concepts are in synch with both the nature of the place and the needs of the community. And while our approach varies project by project, we consistently aim to create deep, fulfilling engagement by unifying the efforts of design teams, sales and marketing groups, and operational staff.
Your place is already a treasure trove of historical, geographic, culinary, and cultural detail. We can help you unearth allowing you to profit with the resources we uncover. How? By helping you and your team better understand the underlying sensory and emotional undertones of any given location. And by using those undertones as the conceptual anchor for your development.
People make deep and lasting emotional connections to the places and spaces that make up their lives. We can help you shape and foster those connections by engaging community stakeholders throughout the design process. No matter the scale of your project, the more open you make it, the more magnetic it becomes. That's where we come in.
Places that stand the test of time are the ones that change and evolve over time. We can help you work with this in mind - by building with an eye toward the past and two feet firmly planted in the present. Understand the roots of your project site, and you catch a glimpse of what it could be in the future. And in so doing, create lasting connections that better the bottom line.
Authentic places are like trees. They’re deeply rooted and, with proper care, they nourish and sustain the community that surrounds them. At Xsense, we see ourselves as caretakers — ensuring that authentic places are fruitful and rooted. We do this by enabling and empowering diverse teams to create meaningful, enriching experiences that are informed by a deep understanding of the essence of the places they’re designing for.
Our process takes place in natural stages, each of which create a greater focus on the communication of your place’s true story. Once the roots of your place have been identified, we help integrate them into your development team’s efforts through a project guidebook. The project guidebook captures all elements of the place you wish to create and becomes an important tool for your current and future team members and employees. By nourishing your place, its personalities and its unique culture, we create experiences that are deeply rooted and will grow sustainably for generations to come. This is a long term commitment which starts with the research but continues through connecting what is authentic in marketing, operations, service philosophies, and human resources.
Working together, we surface the essence of your project and develop a deep and shared understanding of its culture, customs, and history. With an eye toward your evolving plans and the future desires of your audience, we guide your team through each stage of implementation.
This is a content preview space you can use to get your audience interested in what you have to say so they can’t wait to learn and read more. Pull out the most interesting detail that appears on the page and write it here.
In an economic climate that has come to value quality over ostentation and permanence over excess, our offering is increasingly relevant. Whether you’re building, renovating or repositioning your asset, be it a master-plan, a resort, hotel, a hospital or a spa, we can help you connect to the authentic context of the place and its people in deeper, more meaningful ways, building socio-economic sustainability.
We do this by working with clients to connect places (whether they’re new developments or re-developments) to their roots. Each project we engage in is informed by our thorough understanding of the anthropological components of a place. Through deep research, our diverse team of multi-disciplinary experts uncovers all that is resonant and relevant about a project site and its surroundings.
While our approach varies project by project, we consistently aim to create deep, fulfilling engagement by unifying the efforts of design teams, sales and marketing groups, and operational staff: are all on the same page in regards to what makes their place unique.
We believe there are two different types of places. Real places and artificial places.
Real places require no marketing brochure or sales offices. They are a story in itself and require a guidebook to help peel back the layers of meaning and history all around.
Artificial places have elaborate marketing materials and stories that only go skin-deep and are created to sell real estate.
We believe in creating real places that fit into the local cultural context. So, how does a new development fit into a traditional society? How can a new public facility become the symbolic gateway to a local culture and an exciting launch pad for authentic cultural experiences? How does an existing community welcome and thrive in synergy with new development?
These are all questions we strive to answer. Working together, we bring to the surface the essence of a project, and develop a deep and shared understanding of its culture, customs, and history so that the entire development team may work within and be sensitive to this shared knowledge. With an eye toward a project's evolving plans and the future desires of relevant stakeholders, Xsense will guide development teams through each stage of implementation.
Although the Xsense process adapts to every project’s unique needs and opportunities, please find a very basic project outline, time line and deliverables below.
The Xsense process is designed to parallel logically with the critical path of a project’s developmental, marketing and operational process. The entire process takes app. 12-20 weeks; kick-off is best scheduled 8-12 weeks before a planned envisioning workshop and about 3 months before decisions on street and venue names will need to be made.
The budget is a simple calculation of hours spent on various tasks. The hours estimated for the various phases are unique to every project based on the level of quality and depth of research required.
The Xsense five-phase process accompanies projects from initial visioning through the design phase. Subsequent alignment with marketing, operations and training (often years into the future) are arranged with the client for the implementation phase, PART II. All hours are estimated and flexible.
Our work typically begins by conducting remote research and by gathering and organizing information collected and supplied by the developer and planner. We call this the Preliminary Exploration phase. This phase helps us identify areas to research more deeply, places to visit and people to meet/interview during our first site visit.
Deliverable: Project Strategy Presentation
Time Frame: 1-2 months
Uta Birkmayer plus 1-2 anthropological researchers and audio-visual documentarian will spend app. 2 days on site, researching and documenting various cultural settings, visiting culturally relevant sites, meeting local cultural experts, project-related officials, museums, etc. Interesting research opportunities may reveal themselves during this time and will be explored. Possible stakeholder exercises may be sketched out at this point and could include photo voice exercises.
Deliverables: Summary Document
Time frame: app. 4 days
The content of the Exploration Book will meaningfully and authentically connect what’s sustainable and culturally relevant to a place and its people. To ensure connectedness, all involved project team members have the opportunity to immerse themselves into the Exploration Book several weeks before a design charrette to get familiar with the material and find ways to think creatively within it. The design charrette itself brings all team members together at the project location and with the local community/culture (if applicable) for 2-4 days. Depending on team resources, Xsense can either take a leading or a participatory role at the design charrette and, in every case, will guide the project team through key chapters of the Exploration Book so that future design and concept ideas are rooted in the authenticity of this location. After the charrette exercise Xsense will take several more weeks to incorporate the design team’s specific ideas, suggestions and the overall project direction to produce the Project Guidebook, which will accompany the project through plan reviews, budget changes and subsequent development, marketing and operational phases.
Materials gathered throughout the first two phases, plus data gathered from potential photo voice exercises will be combined and published in the Exploration Book. The purpose of this book is to share all information with all team members in preparation of the first interactive workshop. The Exploration Book is designed not only to give authentic information about the place, but to inspire the reader of how to grow the authentic “roots” of the place into authentic “fruits” by the reader’s in his/her very particular field of expertise. The Exploration Book will be made available to all team members prior to the first envisioning/design charrette exercise. Optional Exploration Video documentary piece will be featured at upcoming workshop/design charrette.
Deliverables: Exploration Book and optional documentary video
Time Frame: 4-8 weeks
Xsense will present relevant “root” information to the design team at the workshop and invite selected cultural experts to give specific presentations to the team. Moreover, Xsense will engage with the team to inspire all individuals in using the “root material” presented in ways that are meaningful to the customer and create experiences that touch all of the senses. The team learns how to apply authentic information in meaningful ways to include discovery, learning, wonder, adventure, relaxation, fun, community, beauty, creativity, sustainability, health/wellness and harmony.
Deliverables: Workshop Presentations/Coordination/Filming
Time Frame: 2-4 days
Following the first workshop Xsense will articulate the workshop’s creative product into a comprehensive Project Guidebook and Vision Film, the “roots” of the place, anthropological research and place fats, with the “fruits”, the actual customer experiences as they are created with landscaping, architecture, sensory experiences, learning, adventure, wonder, entertainment etc. During subsequent workshops this guidebook will be used as a base document, which will evolve with the team’s creative process.
Deliverables: Project Guidebook & Vision Film
Time Frame: 6-8 weeks