What do students want? Obviously, they want high-class education, valuable work experience and vivid socialization. Hence, why not combine it all into one open space for free communication? Lassonde Studios is exactly the thing, that can change the educational environment for some students forever. However, is it really any good?


Lassonde Studios: What For?

Lassonde Studios

Usually, students have their own private space, where they can isolate themselves and develop their creativity on their own. Surely, for some people it works quite well. Nevertheless, it is obvious that true creativity and sense of doing something great are bolstered by the interchange of ideas and dreams. Thus, University Of Utah has introduced a unique facility for co-creation, which is Lassonde Studios.


The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a 45$ million experiment, that started functioning in 2001. Primordially, this is the space for students from any major, where they can understand the practical importance of what they learn in a classroom. As a matter of fact, the whole idea is about business-plan challenges, start-up workshops, networking and unstoppable brainstorming. Staggeringly, the whole building was built in order to extinguish any form of solitude and isolation. Everything in the Studios favours constant cooperation.

Institute’s executive director Tony D’Ambrosio states that each year their program brings about 10-15 great companies to interact with students. But this is only an educational part of the project. What do students say? When asked, they said that they wanted to live and to work in the same place, breathe the air of entrepreneurship in an open environment. Obviously, they need a place to find people, with whom they might be able to cooperate and create something new with tools and amazing possibilities on hand. That’s how the idea of Lassonde Studios burst into flame.


Architectural Decision


Furthermore, the Institute’s founders had to bring in Mehrdad Yazdani, an architect from Cannon Design’s Yazdani Studio. The whole building project demanded deep understanding of how this space should be to provide perfect ambience for students’ collaboration. With this project, Mehrdad decided to do something really unprecedented. This is not an ordinary US Campus, this is an unique creative space. Thus, it needed a completely unconventional approach.

The building is four living floors above a 20,000 square foot space for cooperation. There, students may live in single or double rooms, lofts or “pods”. The common thing between all of these accommodation types is that they are all located in “clusters”, so that the students are always in contact with one another.


To attract first 400 residents, the Institute asked students to apply and send some personal content, be it a video, a blog or a portfolio. Therefore, they would be able to really get to know the talents they invite to their creative hub. Eventually, they have gathered people from different backgrounds, of different years (freshmen, upperclassmen) and of different interests. Then, they just shake the mix and see how this “cocktail” works.


Freedom For Co-Creation

Lassonde Studios

Lassonde Studios as a whole is a place, where everything’s suited for maximum collaboration. You merely can’t get away from it. Anywhere you’d go, there would be a special space for brainstorming sessions. Throughout the existence of the Studios, many young creatives have found ways to apply their talents in the right direction and find people to collaborate with.

For instance, two students, Mica Sloan, a bioengineering major, and Aidan Daoussis, an aspiring entrepreneur, have met each other at Lassonde Studios. Consequently, the result was nothing less than spectacular. At first, Daoussis had the idea to create a portable energy source for mobile phones, which would be contained within a single cord. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough engineering qualifications to move this idea forward. So that’s where Sloan came in to help him by creating a prototype, which would later become Portal Power. Amazing, isn’t it? If not for the random students’ assignment and constant interaction, these two minds would never have met.

Lassonde Studios

Of course, this is only one of myriad examples of successful cooperation, that takes place within the walls of Lassonde Studios. There, each student has to contribute to the idea. Only like that the whole project will make sense and give birth to the most exciting ventures of the nearest future. You never can tell, whether it will be a long-term success or it is just a passing tendency. Nevertheless, by now it seems to be something fresh and inspiring and it is undoubtedly cool.

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