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…)
Design perfection requires intentional forgiveness. I am going to let you in on little secret in our profession. We are not perfect! Okay, well maybe that’s not a secret! We are a peculiar bunch of people with an O.C.D. like complex for perfection. If we had it our way: buildings would always be the right shape and size! Drawings would be the most perfectly clear, complete set of instructions, and contractors would ask ZERO questions, finishing with perfect execution. The end result would be a magnificently crafted building with perfectly plumb and straight walls, all gaps perfect, parallel and pointed.
But unfortunately, that won’t happen. It can’t happen, at least while humans are still involved in construction (remember we aren’t perfect). Here is how I propose we solve that problem so that things turn out “perfectly.” We design in forgiveness. Examples of this idea are evident in almost every product and every design solution. Materials are always imperfect, substrates bowed, corners not square, walls not plumb, and lines untrue. The idea is to accept these imperfections, even embrace them, and provide construction detailing with forgiveness in the design so that when constructed it looks perfectly intentional.
Oftentimes in architecture we are challenged by a project or client to do something truly special to make a place an amazing destination. As designers, we also relish opportunities where we have the freedom to design with custom details and high end products and finishes – producing a destination focused around the architectural elements in a space.
However, an all-architecture solution is not always the best design prescription, and something else needs to happen to better capture the essence of the client, project or site. We must humbly take a step back and realize that we are not the star of the show. We are the directors of the show delivering a fantastic performance from a cohesive cast.