I practice applied anthropology for architects and designers, which means that all my interventions are built around the "human factor". How do people interact with each other and their environment and how does this affect your project? While I often work with architects, the method is applicable to other disciplines as well. Be it human-centered design or process management, there is one guiding principle: »Work with what is available to you today.« 

Martina Schwab Applied Anthropology


Anthropology aims to better understand human interaction and behaviour, not only with each other but also with their environment. Anthropological methods such as participant observation, interviews, workshops, textual analysis, surveying, archival or media research have one thing in common - they all result in a thorough understanding of the existing context. Developing solutions from the existing context, ensures that a (design-) project is more connected with its future users. 

Martina Schwab Applied Anthropology


As an urban anthropologist, I propose a human-centered approach to all architecture - and design projects. Starting your project with a structured needs analysis by means of surveys, interviews and participatory workshops, results in designs, deeply connected with their users. If we design with a focus on aesthetics or financial, legal and technical requirements only, (design-)projects have the risk of being obsolete from the very beginning because they simply are not usable and wanted. Therefore, acknowledging the human factor in architectural and design projects is a necessity. And it is also much more fun! 

Martina Schwab Human-Centered Design and Change Management


Change is inevitable. Change is also at the core of innovation. Facing change with a clear yet flexible workflow-framework allows your (design-) team to navigate through unforeseen events and make creative use of changing project parameters. We start with an anlysis of your existing processes and related (software-) tools. Incremental improvements start from there. In creative environments, organizing the following areas has beneficial effects, not only on the actual work but also on the wellbeing of your team: project management and planning, data management, financial management, IT structure, knowledge transfer among team members, tailor-made excel4architects, prospection- and tender procedures. Most interventions are carried out over 2-6 months. Long-term collaborations and personal coaching for creatives are possible as well. 

Martina Schwab Worklfow and Process Management


With an interdisciplinary background in political science and urban anthropology, I have ten years professional experience in the private and the non-profit sector. I work with i.a. ncbham (creative studio) Miss Miyagi (responsible real estate) , Bogdan & Van Broeck Architects , noAarchitecten , Sill & Sound Architects, KA PAI (interior styling) , Jo Matba (DJ and producer), Fairphone (responsible smartphones), Vetocambre (veterinary) and Collectif PsyCol (psychologists). Please download my CV for more detailed information on my skills and experience.

Martina Schwab Brussels, Belgium, Germany


Martina Schwab - Applied Anthropology, based in Brussels, Belgium

+32 4 883 663 41

Thank you for your interest. Don't hesitate to reach out with your questions or projects. 

Martina Schwab Applied Anthropology