M Moser Associates
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
For nearly 35 years, corporations of all shapes and sizes — from large multinationals and Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits, leading tech giants to law firms and more — have turned to M Moser Associates for integrated architectural design and delivery of workplace environments. The firm has delivered more than 6,000 workplace outfits in some 200-plus cities worldwide, running the gamut from office interiors to corporate base buildings, campuses and tech-intensive facilities such as labs and datacenters.
M Moser has been building its name since 1981, when Moira Moser, an American architect, founded the firm in Hong Kong. Since then, M Moser’s mission has been to design and build healthier, greener, more effective workspaces that facilitate the way clients want to work.
Today, the M Moser team is comprised of nearly 800 individuals across 15 global locations, including architects, interior designers, engineers, planners and sustainability specialists. Based in San Francisco, Steven M. Lawler, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, is the director of M Moser’s U.S. operations. “Typically architectural firms are good at one of two things; design or delivery — we happen to be really good at both,” he compares. “Clients come to us when they want a sharp focus on design and the means to deliver a project in-house.”
Lawler says M Moser is one of very few firms in the nation — and the world for the matter — that bring design-build to the table from an architect-led standpoint. “We’re a one-stop shop for commercial tenant and corporate campus delivery from both the architecture and interior design standpoint and we offer all of the in-house capabilities that go along with that,” he says.
M Moser incorporates inside-out architecture, sustainable design, facility planning, interior design, graphics and branding, building-services engineering and pre-leasing right down to procurement, construction and close outs.
United across global ground
M Moser first pioneered its integrated design-delivery approach overseas more than 30 years ago. “We started out in Asian markets, which generally are more adventurous in terms of workplace design and environments, so it was exciting to get involved here first,” says Lawler. “We opened our first U.S. office in New York City about 12 years ago, followed by a San Francisco location that I helped launch two years ago.”
Today, M Moser has established practices in India, China, Malaysia, the U.K. and Southeast Asia, totaling nearly 800 employees in 15 offices on three continents. John Sellery, M Moser’s Group managing director, has a focus on the firm’s U.S. operations and the main North American office in New York City.
Sellery has been with M Moser since 1989. “We’re truly a collaborative, global organization,” he says. “One thing we don’t do — unlike our competitors — is we don’t cross-bill offices. Year-after-year, about 50 to 70 percent of our revenue is generated from existing clients, many of which we service on a global or regional basis. One of the reasons this works is because there are no barriers to collaboration between offices.”
“Each office has its own income targets, but we don’t do revenue splits, which breaks down communication barriers and allows everyone to really work in the global interest of the organization,” adds Lawler.
Collaboration is a key cornerstone in M Moser’s model. “Collaboration between our project teams and clients is the key to how we develop and deliver effective workplaces,” says Moira Moser, FAIA, FHKIA, ARB and chairman of M Moser. “Collaboration across the spectrum of project expertise —between architects, designers, engineers, buildings and others — enables us to take an integrated approach, provide comprehensive solutions and take full responsibility for the outcome.”
To date, M Moser has completed more than 93 million square feet of workplace environments. “The heart of our business is serving multinational companies,” says Lawler. “Name a Fortune 500 company, and in most cases, we’ve either completed a project or have ongoing work for them in numerous locations.”
M Moser has serviced major names such as LinkedIn and other global social media and technology firms. “We’re currently working with Lam Research, a company that makes manufacturing equipment for computer chips that run everything from cellphones to computers,” adds Lawler. “We’re designing and delivering a new office for them in the Bay Area.”
With so much competition for employees in the high-demand tech-talent pool, some companies are turning to M Moser to design creative workplaces to attract top candidates. “We’re working with a confidential hedge fund G firm and the goal is to change their workplace to compete with the innovative tech industry firms,” adds Lawler.
Reinventing the traditional firm format
Overall, Lawler says he’s seen a push in more open and collaborative workplace settings. “We’re working with a global law firm focused on intellectual property, to redesign a new office suite that doesn’t follow the traditional law firm model,” he says. “Typically the main partners have the biggest office space and the rest are dispersed in smaller areas, not leaving a lot of room for open spaces.”
This law firm is breaking the mold. “The firm is turning this traditional mold upside down with more open spaces and even providing office areas for their clients to drop by, grab a cup of coffee and get some work done as well,” details Lawler. “This is really groundbreaking, especially for a law firm. The idea is to open the environment and if a client is traveling between meetings, they can drop by their attorney’s firm for a quiet space to work. It’s a brilliant idea and it’s not at all common, truly innovative.” M Moser is currently working on other projects across the globe for this same firm.
Building on repeat relationships with in-house control
By working out construction items at an early stage — either with contractors or its own in-house construction managers — M Moser maintains a level of control and ultimately, responsibility, over its contracts.
“This plus our integration at the multidisciplinary level, as well as our global basis is truly unique within our industry,” says Sellery. “I think many in our industry aspire to do this, but we’ve been fortunate to actually achieve it to this great extent.”
At the end of the day, M Moser is responsible for the result and client satisfaction. “We’re especially strong in terms of controlling final costs through our full scope of services,” adds Sellery. “Change orders are none to, on average, only 1 to 2 percent of the contract sum; that’s far below the industry average.”
It’s no surprise that the M Moser model has attracted clients time and time again. “Fifty to 70 percent of our work is from returning customers,” says Lawler. “This is because we’re a trusted adviser to our clients. We’re sought after because we’re different in what we do and we bring this approach to multiple markets.”
Lawler says his greatest pride is seeing his team personally and professionally satisfied with the work they do. “Parallel with that are happy clients that are fully satisfied — and thrilled — with their new workplace.”
Lawler says even with hundreds of employees, multiple offices and locations, there’s one common thread at M Moser. “We’re all in this because we love great design and great design is executed well and delivered well,” he says.
After almost 35 years in business, M Moser Associates continues to garner repeat business through its unique design-delivery approach, making for more effective workspaces that facilitate the workflow of the respective client.
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