Inspiration

Inspiration, People /

Lawrence Group People

Each month we highlight a few of our employees by having them share everything from their personal motto to their favorite architect to what’s on their bucket list. This month, learn about our 2018 emerging professionals that are joining us for the summer.

Bryana Cozart

Interior Design

What’s on your bucket list?

The first on my list is to dance in a parade at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

I love the atmosphere at the Lawrence Group. It’s a safe zone for learning.

Gen Daley

Interior Design

What’s on your bucket list?

To see all the National Parks.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

The People!

 

Gabrielle Nagel

Accounting

What do you like to do outside of work (favorite pastime)?

I love acting.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

The fact that people are so patient and willing to help guide me through things and teach me things.

 

Emilio Pinero

Marketing

What’s on your bucket list?

Travel to Africa and go on a safari trip.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

I love the environment, it’s very welcoming and everyone is here to help you succeed.

 

Joey Rocha

Architecture

What do not many people know about you?

I played Division 1 college baseball at the University of San Diego Toreros.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

The office location in the heart of Austin’s most rapidly growing neighborhood on the Eastside.

 

Nick Schurk

Architecture

What do not many people know about you?

I lived in Greece for a time, performed in a few plays, have sung opera, play harmonica, made it on the news.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

The versatility with which design is approached, and surprise, the work environment.

 

Shawn Waddell

Architecture

What do you like to do outside of work (favorite pastime)?

Writing poetry, cooking and weightlifting.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

It’s really the people I work with, everyone is supportive and wants to help you learn.

 

Steffen West

Architecture

What do you like to do outside of work (favorite pastime)?

Swim, run, and play soccer.

What’s your favorite thing about Lawrence Group?

The people.

Architecture, Inspiration, People, Projects /

Challenge Accepted at Habitat for Humanity

THE BEGINNING

Have you ever made an offer to someone thinking that they wouldn’t take it…then they do? That’s exactly what happened in the case of the new Habitat for Humanity Restore location. In this instance, I’m glad our team accepted the challenge and volunteered their time to create nothing short of a piece of art.

   

When Linda Loewenstein approached Lawrence Group to come up with signage schemes for the new Restore location, the scope was vaguely defined. They wanted something that differentiated their merchandise space from their office space and that was more than just vinyl graphics for wayfinding. They wanted something that would activate their space and give life to their new home. As a not-for-profit, cost was important, and it was anticipated that a lot of the time, labor and materials would be donated. Lastly, the timeline was aggressive — a little over a month from start to finish. All of these seemingly impossible factors helped shape the beautiful product and made for a great experience.

THE TEAM

The team started with Alex Duenwald and Galen Vassar. Rawan Abusaid and I were brought on soon after the first meetings. We came up with a few possible schemes, or kit of parts, that could be repeated throughout the space. Restore was instantly drawn to one in particular for the office lobby. After a few modifications, the concept was finalized and documented. By this point, we only had two weeks to acquire materials and build it. I consulted with Scott Zola, our director of construction services, to make sure we weren’t crazy by thinking we could build this in basically five lunch hours! The construction team was comprised of several people over the course of the week; Galen Vassar, Alex Duenwald, Rawan Abusaid, Andy McAllister, Melinda Starkey, Mary Sue Sutton, Dean Sutton, Julie Spengler, Olivia Welby, Jenny Brcic, Adam Brcic, Erin Hoffmann, Alicia Luthy, Sue Noce, John Smith, and Linda and John Loewenstein.

HAPPY ACCIDENTS : AN ANECDOTE

We designed and documented the bench and wall-piece around 2’x4’ units that were cut at 1”, 1.5” and 2”. However, when Linda sent me a progress update on how many pieces her husband had cut (500+), she mentioned she had him cutting 4×4’s. In a state of panic, I called her to see if John could halt that operation and cut 500+ 2’x4’s so that we wouldn’t have to alter the design and measurements. Much to their chagrin, they obliged. When they dropped the materials off, it was clear that the bare 4’x4’s had a lot more charm and character than bare 2’x4’s. The team took a vote and decided that using the 4’x4’ would not only look better, but we would have significantly fewer units to work with. This meant I had to call Linda back and beg for her to beg her husband to cut 500+ MORE 4’x4’s! This was a lesson of recognizing when to stick to the original design and when to entertain something new, even when it means altering a PERFECT set of drawings.

 

CONSTRUCTION : A CLICHE OR TWO

Pictures are worth 1,000 words…

   

    

    

With the change from a 2’x4’ unit to a 4’x4’ unit, many details had to be figured out during the construction process. It was extremely beneficial having a variety of volunteers on the team, each with different skillsets. One lesson we learned was that even if you have many people helping, it’s only efficient if you have enough of the right tools. The cliché “too many cooks in the kitchen” held true. My rebuttal, there can be infinite cooks in the kitchen if you have enough space and equipment. Here are some stats:

  • 500+ 4’x4’ blocks glued down
  • 130 linear feet of 2’x4’ used
  • 1 person cutting 1,000+ blocks = 8 hours
  • 67 total man hours of construction

All of the wood for the project was reclaimed from Habitat for Humanity build sites around town.

 

CONCLUSION

Not only were people excited and willing to give their time to create something beautiful, but the product truly transformed the space. Volunteering can be so much more than just giving up time if everybody involved can be excited about something tangible. I hope that other organizations and institutions see this project as a testament to the diligence of design, commitment to our community and willingness to give more than just time to any given project.

   

Check out this article in Town & Style’s June 6, 2018 issue.

 

General, Inspiration /

Reflecting on Music & Creativity

When stripped down, music isn’t so different from design—silence the blank canvas, the instrument, the chosen design utensil, and as with any creative endeavor, always the mind behind it all, reeling with possibilities.

At their best, both carry a certain universality. A relatable song, a familiar space—both lend a greater sense of connectedness to those around us. The ideal composition, like a well-executed design, feels so natural to the consumer that it becomes difficult to actively notice what’s so pleasing about it. I guess it’s sort of paradoxical in that sense—each element meticulously crafted, yet somehow culminating to produce something that appears effortless in its composition. The intuition and skill required to achieve such an effect continues to routinely astound me, and I often find myself pondering the nature of inspiration, searching for the foundation of what it takes to create something new. I suppose there’s not really an objective truth to it, but for me, it always goes back to music.

Though it’s fairly common to search for inspirational content somewhere within your own medium, music has this bizarre, near-transcendent quality to it that seems to improve one’s output across all mediums. There’s a particular type of music to enhance every activity—“Eye of the Tiger” for your daily workout, some instrumental stuff if you’re attempting to focus, and, most importantly, that one Springsteen song you belt out on every road trip. Point is, music can often serve as an integral counterpart to existence. I find it has this endless ability to complement and enhance day-to-day life, and perhaps when it comes to our creative endeavors, we sometimes take it for granted. When performing any creative activity, our carefully selected assortment of tunes provides some loose form of escapism. While plugged into Nina Simone’s greatest hits, it becomes easier to attain an effective, lasting creative rhythm. Suddenly, you can’t hear the sound of the radiator turning on and off in its habitually tedious 15-minute cycles, nor the shrill beeps and ominous cranks of the elevator as it travels up and down. Lost within the illusion of your own personally catered universe, I suspect a creative endeavor may begin. Pretty neat.

 

Inspiration /

ReDesign to Make it Better

Perennial is a local St. Louis non-profit organization doing some great things. Their mission is to build a creative culture of sustainability by transforming discarded items into valued and cherished resources. Through their mission, they aim to teach people to creatively reuse objects in order to divert waste from landfills, foster thoughtful consumerism and generate revenue to support the underserved. Under this mission Perennial challenged the community of designers, crafters, and local architects to participate in their “ReDesign” Challenge. This annual challenge coincides with their annual “Lost + F(o)und” fundraiser to auction off the completed pieces.

Lawrence Group was up to the challenge. We put together two teams, got our “Lost” objects, and set off to “Find” something great hidden in them. Each team conceptualized, analyzed the materials, and came up with a plan. One of the most fun parts of this challenge was getting to know and collaborate with people from all different areas of the organization that we do not get to work with regularly and put something together with everyone’s unique skills. The objective is to only use the materials that come with the table and put the new item together using only fasteners and tools already owned. (more…)

Inspiration, People /

Inspire Your Imagination: Dreams Do Come True

One of my favorite quotes that is always in the back of my head when setting a personal goal is “If you can dream it, you can do it.”- Walt Disney.

Having my own photography show was a long lost dream of mine that always got postponed due to everyday struggles. After a very rough year, I decided to share my perspective on inspiration through photography. I started by gathering photos I took since I started my path in photography. After that, I went on a hunt for the right space! I started brainstorming spaces that could bring the design industry together for a fun night full of art and networking and that is when CI Select came to mind. (more…)

Inspiration, Interior Design /

Into the Deep Blue Hue: Deciphering the Sherwin Williams Color of the Year 2018

Ask people what their favorite color is and a clear majority of men and women will answer: “blue!” Maybe not that enthusiastically, but we designers generally get excited about color. Each year, top paint manufacturers issue their color of the year, and I always find it interesting to see what they think we should be buzzing about in the next year. It’s no Pantone Color of the Year, but when Sherwin William introduces its Color of the Year, we run the proverbial color up the design flag pole and dissect it for a hot minute.

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General, Inspiration /

Rise in the City: A Unique Blend of Creativity and Altruism

rise in the city is a unique art event created to catalyze social enterprises in Africa, featuring an artwork competition, exhibition and auction. The concept began with splitting Manhattan into 100 virtual blocks; leading artists, designers and architects were then invited to create a work of art representing a block of the city. The challenge was to get inspired by Lesotho. One could reference the white, blue and green colors of its national flag, incorporate the traditional blankets or famous Basotho hat, or even re-interpret the traditional Litema patterns that adorn Lesotho’s vernacular buildings. All proceeds from the event go towards the construction of an accommodation block for an orphanage in Lesotho. Additionally, proceeds will fund entrepreneurship training for orphanage staff to promote the development of income-generating activities and reduce aid dependency.

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General, Inspiration /

Four Tips for a Fun Social Media Launch Party

Lawrence Group recently launched its Instagram account and celebrated with a company launch party to get people excited and on board to share their behind-the-scenes project details, silly moments and an overall glimpse into what makes the culture and work of Lawrence Group unique. Our team threw a space-themed launch party for the start of our blog in 2015, and we wanted to top the level of excitement among employees for our second go-around. The “InstaParty” successfully launched our new Instagram account. Here are some tips I recommend for marketing teams looking to boost internal excitement and engagement when it comes to new social media for their company:

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General, Inspiration /

For the Love of Craft: A Trip Through the Legacy of George Nakashima

New York City, 7:00 AM, the 2-hour road trip ahead of us would allow plenty of time to soak in the gradual transition from the Manhattan skyline to the rural landscape of eastern Pennsylvania. Watching the sun climb behind our white Suburban (which had become our mobile office for the day) we exited the Lincoln Tunnel and turned our conversation and thoughts to what lay ahead; the town of New Hope and home of woodworker, George Nakashima.

Everyone can remember the first time they heard about the work of George Nakashima. For some, this is in the trenches of design school, for others it is through curious self-initiated investigation, and for many this introduction is given in moments of serendipity over a dinner table or chance encounter with one of Mr. Nakashima’s wooden masterpieces. For almost everyone though, the name “George Nakashima” brings to mind a remarkable design heritage and a seemingly endless wealth of timeless inspiration. For the nine of us in our fully loaded SUV, a rare opportunity for a private tour of the Nakashima Foundation was a long-awaited adventure.

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General, Inspiration /

3 Pieces of Advice for Future Conference Attendees

I can’t express enough the wealth of knowledge that the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference provides. I’d like to give a shout out to UMSL Business for putting on such a rich learning experience, and give a thank you to Spectrum Reach, the conference sponsor. If you haven’t already, take a look at my latest post, “Top Takeaways from the 2017 Midwest Digital Marketing Conference,” which outline the key pieces of knowledge I learned from the 2017 conference. Thinking of attending next year? Here is my first-timer advice:

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