January “speakeasy” at Blood & Sand

We had a blast at our first “speakeasy” event of 2012 thanks to the fabulous owners of Blood & Sand!  If you have not done so, you must go check out this “member’s only” dining concept!

Loved the use of windows and frames as a separation between the bar and dining area.  It inspired us to contact Arch Framing & Design to be our surprise raffle vendor.  Thanks Arch!

Here is a sampling of the evening via my iphone camera.  Thanks to all who came out for the event!

 

2012: year of orange by kimberly reuther

Hello Orange!  Tangerine Tango has been chosen the color of the year by Pantone.  What a fresh start to 2012!  Orange can be a very tricky color, people usually love it or hate it.  Well, let’s take a closer look at its merits and I bet you’ll start to warm up!

Orange has the energy and vibrancy of red but without the dramatic undertones.  Orange has the spirit and sunny qualities of yellow but it is equally grounded in earthiness.  It plays well with other colors but sometimes can’t help but stealing the show.  So, now how do you live with orange?

– Go big or go home!

If you are a lover of orange and bold choices, then by all means, saturate a room in this splendid hue!  Tip:  When painting with a dark color, using semi-gloss paint will reflect light and keep from closing in the space.

– A little color goes a long way.

If you want to add a pop of color to your room, here are a few ideas to try.  Tip: Make sure to incorporate the color in at least three places to carry the effect.

– The more the merrier!

If you want to balance the boldness of the orange, why not add a few more colors to the mix?  Tip: Use patterns or solids but make sure you give each color enough weight to create cohesion in the space.

– Explore new directions.

Draw from fashion, change the hue a little, use the color to spark your own personality.  Tip: Paint and small accents are the easiest pieces to update if you like to follow trends.

Have fun incorporating this fresh color into your home!

careerspeak: 5 hints for recent graduates by nicholas kreitler

Every school has a different way of teaching their students, some take an approach focused on theory, some do it on practical experience, and some try to take a balanced approach. Each of these have their advantages and disadvantages, but I’m not looking to discuss the curriculum. I’d like to discuss some of the things that were left out. Sometimes there are just things that only real world experience can teach you. Now I am far from knowing everything, if I know anything at all, but I have a seen a few glimmers of hope on the horizon and that continues to keep me motivated. I have found that we are all searching for our place in this ever changing world and a little advice is never a bad thing.

1.  NETWORKING
A very important aspect to connect with the design community is getting out and meeting new people that share your passion. There are groups all around the area, each of them with their own focus and agendas, but their common goal is to promote the awareness of design in the community. Some of the best conversations I have had are at various speaking events and happy hours. These conversations could range anywhere from talking about what could be done for housing in an urban environment to an hour and half conversation about a brick, and what it means to the city. These conversations are a great way to get connected and meet new people that might be able to help you along your way. This is not to say you should expect anybody to just give you something but it helps to create a personal relationship with others in the industry, because you never know what it may lead to.

2. STAY PASSIONATE
This one is simple; you wouldn’t have made it through 5 years of architecture school if you didn’t love what you were doing. So be sure to maintain that passion when you leave school. This could be something as simple as creating theoretical projects for you to work on, studying for exams, sketching for an hour a day, learning a new program, or build something. A lot of young architects are still looking for work or have been let go, and while the average age of the firm continues to rise staying passionate about architecture can be tough. So while you might be out of work you might want to stay active, because you know the question that will come up in an interview is “what have you been doing lately?” how you answer that question has an effect of how you are perceived so keep that in mind.

3. GET INVOLVED
This is a big city; there are plenty of groups out there and lots of events for you to be involved in. I always get asked how I know when there is something going on, and a lot of it has to do with being connected. There are lots of groups out there that broadcast when they have an event coming up or are getting together, and that’s because they want people to come out and get involved in what they are doing. This could be something as simple as going out to a lecture at the local college, grabbing a drink at a bar with other professionals in the industry to talk about a proposed project, or even just find a cause or organization that you care about and asking how you can help. Your options are limitless, but they are what you make of them and sitting at home on a Wednesday night in front of the tv isn’t doing much for your career.

4. INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS ARE A GOOD THING
The simple truth is if your fresh out of school and you don’t have much experience if you have any at all. After a few months of sending out resumes and cover letters, I was starting to get exhausted by it all. I had to start thinking harder about what I was doing and if it were really the right thing, and I realized I’m only sending a piece of paper. I wanted them to get to know me, and although I am able to get a bit of that across when sending out that cover letter it isn’t completely me. There are a lot of factors that go in to getting that first job, not only are they looking at your education and your professional experience, but they want to know you and make sure your the right fit for the firm. Each firm has its own personality, culture, and identity so finding the right individual for the firm requires a balance of skills and personality. The informational interview is what allows them to get to know you on that personal level and hopefully get your foot in the door.

5. COFFEE IS YOUR FRIEND
This should be pretty self explanatory, that added boost of caffeine will keep you going hour after hour you sit at your desk late at night or early in the morning when you have to get that last detail done before the deadline. But going out to get that cup of coffee will get you up from your desk, get some fresh air, and brings you back with a renewed spirit and increased energy so you can focus on the task at hand. So enjoy that cup and get back to work.

great clients = great projects by derek maschek

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater Masterpiece

As I get ready to do something I’ve never done before (to “blog”), I’ve been pondering what exactly I will be talking about. Let’s face it, blogging is just editorializing, talking about stuff that could be anything from pure opinion to well researched short topics. It’s conversational, topical, ideally informative, and preferably entertaining. One topic continues to rise to the top as an item of critical importance to those of us in the design service profession; the client.

Clients are critical, for without them we literally have nothing to do. Even if we’re designing our own dream homes, some theoretical super “green” high rise, or even a floating city as a movie set, there is a client involved. This client may be imaginary, but there is still a list of wants, needs, and limitations that make up the foundation of the problem that any project proposes to solve. Design professionals are in the end, just problem solvers, so no problem, no solution.

What I’ve come to really appreciate about great architecture, and all its design cousins, is that the resulting physical thing (the answer), while attractive and meaningful, is servant to the problem statement, the question being asked. This question is the foundation of the project, and it lives in the mind of the client, although it is the job of the design professional is to help discover it truly and describe it thoroughly. This is a collaborative process where the design professional is critical, but where a forthright, cooperative, patient, and trusting client is invaluable. Without the client fully embracing their role, their responsibility in this partnership, the designer is limited to making it up and mailing it in.

Fallingwater Interior

As I want to salute and define what it means to be a great client, let’s assume a talented, experienced, and thoughtful design professional is on board. I’ll talk about design process in the future, defining what the differences are between bad, average, and great design professionals.

A great client is an active partner in a process of problem discovery, willing to accept that the initial problem statement may be partially or even completely wrong. “I need a two storey addition on my house because I need a master suite and new kitchen, and it should be built on the back right here.” It’s a great place to start, a very necessary step, but what should happen next is a lengthy and thoughtful process of understanding what is and what needs to be, as well as what limitations and opportunities exist that will impact the project. Afterwards, we may learn that an addition wasn’t necessary at all in order to accomplish a renovated kitchen and a basement master suite.

As we all know, time is money, and thinking takes time. Particular in tough economic times (now), with tight budgets (usually), or with challenging schedules (often) this phase is often truncated or eliminated in order to expedite the next phase (design and documentation). While understandable on the surface, does it make sense to rush into battle without some understanding of your enemy, the field, the weaponry available on both sides, and then of course the role of this battle in the bigger war? It is critical to think before leaping, and that takes time. To inadequately plan is to just roar your battle cry and go charging down the hill and hope for the best. Almost any professional will keep a client out of harm’s way, giving you something safe and functional, something adequate. But such thinking does not make for great projects.

Fallingwater Exterior

A great client also trusts the design professional and the discovery process. If there is no trust, the whole design process is irrevocably broken and the result will be mediocre at best. Trust does not mean being led by the nose or letting the professional have their way. It means allowing the process to work, for questions and answers to flow, and then questioning answers, even when they seem obvious. Depending on the complexity of the project, there could be numerous formal rounds of this, although truly the questions never cease to come until the project is built.

Lastly, a great client is a thinking client, one that challenges their design professional and is willing, even asking, to be challenged themselves. For the process to work best, all parties involved need to be offering up their best, while insisting that their partners are doing the same. You would be surprised how opportunities are uncovered and obstacles are hurdled by honest and thorough collaborative deliberation.

So, what makes for a great client? Time and Patience. Trust. Thoughtfulness.

Done properly, this process results in projects exceeding expectations. You’ll see I’ve included images of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. This is the first time I remember learning of a project achieving such awe inspiring timelessness because a client offered an inconceivable amount of patience and trust to the architect. The client wanted a vacation home that celebrated their family’s favorite swimming and picnicking spot, and trusted Mr. Wright to give it to them while they vacationed abroad. What they got was totally unexpected and completely restated the original problem statement. Their house was built over, on, and around their favorite spot. Their house became their favorite spot.

Fallingwater Exterior

Fallingwater Interior

To read more of the history of Fallingwater, please visit the website.

Please contact Derek via email for more info or questions about a specific project. 

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