The Start of Something Big
We sent you a letter, and you wrote back in droves with enough eureka moments to launch an ongoing forum—watch this space
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 3/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Grow Your Own
On the roof of a Los Angeles apartment complex, SCI-Arc's Synthe grows vegetables and herbs for the ground-floor restaurant, Blue Velvet. Cultivation begins at home. Photography, from top: Alexis Rochas; Tom Bonner.
"Age and experience gravitate to management. However, the true source of creative ideas is the youth of an organization."
—Thomas Johnson of Hirsch Bedner Associates
D'Aquino Monaco cages a new clientele asInterior DesignHall of Fame member Francine Monaco sketches "real estate for birds."
"Find new ways of using your capabilities—designing fashion, electronics, theater and film sets, airplane interiors."
—Vicente Wolf of Vicente Wolf Associates
"End cookie-cutter design. Return to a platform that affords many different room experiences."
—Jill Cole of Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates
Imagine and Reimagine
Kostow Greenwood Architects saw an abandoned Mexican resort and imagined it as the sprawling San Miguel Contemporary Arts Center. History waits patiently to be remade.
"This is our opportunity to reinvent. You need to be more creative, not less."
—Nick Luzietti of VOA Associates
"We're envisioning a new type of suburbia, one that's urban and people-oriented. Our redesign of a 1-square-mile area would add density, putting buildings back on streets and even on the clover off-ramps."
—Randy Brown of Randy Brown Architects
Plumb the Depths
Reversing our expectations, the choicest rooms in Jeffrey Beers International's fantasy undersea hotel are down at the bottom.
"Talk to everyone you know. Follow up on every lead, with passion. Be willing to re-brand yourself and create a slightly new you."
—Teri Brajewski of TWB Design
"Let designers get to the next big idea by leaving us time to design instead of spending it on conference calls and meetings."
—Christina Hart of BBG-BBGM
Study the Past
Christened at the nadir of the Great Depression, HMS Queen Mary defies yet another downturn as a Southern California hotel and events venue being renovated by J/Brice Design International. Photography: courtesy of Bettmann/Corbis.
Learn to Multitask
3six0 Architecture & Design configured Boston's Achilles fashion boutique to morph into a restaurant at night. If only we could all be so accommodating. Photography: John Horner.
"Be the architect or the interior designer or both. Break the bonds of corporate structure. Growth comes from diversity. The more flexible a firm can make itself, the stronger it becomes."
—Randall Huggins of RDH & Associates
Give and Take
Perkins + Will wishes that power workouts could generate more than just sweat.
"How about a cellular phone that automatically recharges itself whenever it's placed in sunlight?"
—Ajax Law and Virginia Lung of One Plus Partnership
Respond in Kind
Studio Roosegaarde'sLiquid Space 6.0installation at Japan's Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media adjusted when exposed to the company of humans, a wise lesson for the latter. Photography: Lotte Stekelenburg.
We must observe the cultural mega-trends taking place before our eyes and interpret these changes in our work."
—Jeffrey Ornstein of J/Brice Design International
"Keep and attract clients with unprecedented service. If you were known as the go-to firm, you'd get all the business you desired, even in this economy."
—Keith Granet of Granet & Associates
Give a Little Bit
In downtown Los Angeles, harvests from the Urban Farming Food Chain's green walls by EOA/Elmslie Osler Architect go to feed the poor. How does your garden grow?
"Opening the Armani Fifth Avenue store is an investment in my business. Giving a $1 million grant to the Fund for Public Schools at the same time is an investment in future generations of New York City."
Ahearn/Schopfer and Associates envisions a virtual city on Mars, with blastoff pending the planet's inevitable colonization. Image: Neoscape.
"The future is how we as humans relate to our environment and one another. We will move from the micro to the macro."
—Sue Firestone of SFA Design
"Designers need to be more long-term in their perspectives. We need to redefine what true value is and what it isn't. We must seek innovation that alters the paradigm."
—Colin Seah of Ministry of Design
Consider the Source
In redeveloping Finland's Helsinki Zoo, the Beckmann-N'Thépé SARL d'Architecture will remind animals of when the zoo's island terrain was still wild and unconquered. We've all been down that road. Image: Artefactory.
"Get back to creativity. Remember why you became a designer in the first place. Go out and make something beautiful. It's what we do."
—Lynne Scalo of Lynne Scalo Design
With self-sustaining container homes ready for dispatch, architect John Kelly anticipates another disaster like Hurricane Katrina. What's in your preparedness package? Image: courtesy of John Kelly Furniture and Accessories.
"In a good economy, there's no time to think. Projects roll in and out. Deadlines need to be met. A down economy gives us more time to make decisions about where to steer the ship."
—Randy Brown of Randy Brown Architects
Teach Your Children Well
A cut above the regular clip joint, Igloo Design Group's Rock Paper Scissors salon would help the children of Dubayy, United Arab Emirates, equate self-image with sharp design. Get 'em while they're young.
"We need to direct our talent from secondary and higher education into the core task of putting research and technology back into making products that the world wants."
—James Dyson of Dyson
Harness Greenbacks to Green
New York's Green Depot supplies the tools for across-the-board eco-living, including cleaning fluids tapped by the ounce. That's BYOC: Bring your own container. Photography: Dave Pinter/psfk.com.
"My hope is that Green Depot acts as an agent of change, but it's the consumers navigating these choices who are really going to drive the marketplace."
—Sarah Beatty of Green Depot
Seize the Synergies
Carving residences from rock formations,Interior DesignHall of Fame members Steven Harris and Lucien Rees Roberts gave the Mexican resort of Cabo San Lucas luxury accommodation options without air-conditioning. Coexisting is fine, but collaborating? Priceless. Photography: Scott Frances.
"The only way to be true to your project is to integrate local elements."
—Edin Rudic of MKDA
"People are now far more interested in seeking strategic alliances and partnerships, joining with colleagues or similar businesses."
—Doris Hager of Hager and Associates
Full-scale networking is ahead for hotel guests who interface with Hirsch Bedner Associates's Smart-Wall monitor, more than 8 feet across.
"Blogging is one of the most important marketing tools of the 21st century. If done thoughtfully, the ever changing content will attract individuals eager to learn more about your perspective. Before you know it, your name is spreading like wildfire."
—Brad Ford of Brad Ford I.D.
"Participate in seminars, meetings, and activities to learn about business practices, marketing, and survival. Then put that information into practice."
—Rafael Berkowitz of RB/Architect
Use It or Lose It
Unwanted possessions are traded for liquor at a pawnshop-bar concocted by Stonehill & Taylor Architects and Planners. Given time, even fervent pack rats have their price. Image right: V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
"When people don't need or want more stuff in their lives, they turn to things that offer quality and a personal connection. Design will play an even more significant role as a catalyst for a society seeking long-term value and meaning."
—Kevin Roche of Callison
Walk the Walk
For Madrid, Ecosistema Urbano proposes Eco Boulevard, not a street but actually a multiuse public pavilion that consumes only the energy that its solar panels can produce. This could set a new green standard, an idea worth repeat-ing. Image: courtesy of Ecosistema Urbano.
"We need to go beyond just 'encouraging' and 'suggesting.' Building codes should incorporate more stringent sustainability measures—with real incentives that have an impact on the bottom line."
—Guy Geier of FXFowle Architects
"Instead of investing in the 'same old,' Congress should invest in green business practices as a means to save our planet and create a platform for a viable new economy."
—S. Russell Groves
Assemble With Care
Bestetti Associati's prefabricated sustainable houses, built by Pircher in Rolo, Italy, and furnished by B&B Italia, make green good to go. Now, go. Image: courtesy of B&B Italia.
"Zero waste to landfills on every project, that's what we hope and strive for."
—Karen Thomas of LPA
Sweat the Details
Carpal tunnels across the U.S. will someday welcome Office dA's ergonomically correct Nob Nob doorknob, which reminds us all that, when one door closes, another opens.
"When I design something that is truly specific to a client, not only does it make the concept stronger, but it satisfies a personal need. And isn't that what design is all about?"
—Ghislaine Viñas of Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design
"No job is too small."
—Jill Cole of Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates