In 1936, two ambitious architects from McGill University, Wilfred Onions and Valmer Bouchard, came to Bermuda to turn their creative visions into living, enduring history. Soon after, they were joined by John McCulloch and spent 20 years realising that dream. In time, they defined the internationally acclaimed Bermuda design style and instituted a “sense of place” culture across the island. This was the beginning of OBMI.
Through the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, the firm expanded to interior design, landscape architecture, master planning, small works projects and solutions for seniors’ divisions. Today, OBMI is an internationally-acclaimed firm with clients from around the globe. The Bermuda office is run by Michele Smith and Colin Campbell, who oversee an operation that provides turn-key service across the entire design and development spectrum.
OBMI works on a variety of high-end and other residential projects, including residences designed by the firm’s founders whose owners want to rejuvenate the space to integrate contemporary ideas. Commercially, the firm works on large-scale projects such as the recently completed hospital, office buildings, resorts and civic projects such as the proposed airport.
The OBMI approach is inclusive, client focused, and applies practical and state-of-the-art solutions while being guided by budget- and schedule-focused analysis.
A cornerstone of the company’s success over eight decades has been hiring exceptionally talented people with diverse skills. By creating a supportive and inspiring work environment, the firm attracts and retains the best people. OBMI believes that a culture that takes care of its employees creates a team that takes care of its clients. This quality of OBMI’s work is evident in its ability to retain clients who report a high level of trust for the team and value their honesty, integrity and ability to think outside the box.
As the oldest firm in Bermuda, OBMI has a huge archive of original drawings of properties that spread island wide. In the 1930s, it took two pages of drawings to build a house. It can now take over 40. But the architectural vision and passion that drove the company during its infancy is still in place today.
Though the team now uses a diverse array of highly sophisticated technologies to provide optimal services for clients, there is still an appreciation for the ability to sketch out a creative plan on a napkin as needed.
Address: 1 Gorham Road, Hamilton
Mailing Address: PO Box HM 1362, Hamilton, HMFX
Services: Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Master Planning
Partners: Michele Smith, Colin Campbell
Melissa Woods, Susan Behrens and Anthony DeShields are part of OBMI’s Bermudian executive board encouraging the next generation of Bermudians to continue with OBMI’s legacy
Year Founded: 1936
# of Employees: 13
Photographed: From left to right, standing: Bobbi Singh, Mollie Bigley, Anthony DeShields, Susan Behrens, Colin Brown, Vanessa Bean, Colin Campbell, Chakeya Ottley, Chanika Jones. From left to right, sitting: Erika Raubenheimer, Michele Smith, Melissa Woods. Missing: Jennifer Davidson