Shake it Up…An Introduction to the SC Journal
Updated: Aug 20, 2018
The past 18 months have involved many changes both in my personal and professional life. There were both very positive and negative moments (all of which would have an impact), but I believe the loss of my grandmother, while the most difficult to manage, was what rendered the most significant results. I didn’t realize it until March 2nd of this year (the launch of SC and my 37th birthday), but the loss definitely changed the trajectory of my career by lifting me up from the familiar path I was on and re-setting me down on a new course that would eventually lead to the launch of spatialCOMPASS almost two years later.
When you’re thrown a curve ball like that it’s amazing how quickly you will start contemplating every aspect of your life especially if you’ve been circling the same routine for an extended period of time. A friend recently reminded me of a Paulo Coelho quote that I came across many years ago. “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal”. I laughed a bit when I read this line again as I thought about the recessed light that I’ve specified on almost every project for 10+ years and the go-to paint colors that I have memorized. There are just some specifications in our minds that play on repeat and why shouldn’t they? They are great products, they are reliable, and with everything else architects and designers have to juggle it’s helpful to check something off of the specifications list which typically includes 300+ items needed for any given project. So why shouldn’t you stick with the proven items you’re comfortable with? It’s simple and in the words of a close friend sometimes you just need to Shake It Up! I’ve found this to be true both in design as well in our everyday lives.
We are all constantly juggling clients, contractors, specifications, budgets, schedules, and personalities all while trying to design an extraordinary space so while some sense of routine and discipline is definitely necessary to run a successful business it can be too easy for us to get caught up in what we’re comfortable with and the loss of a loved one has a harsh way of shining light on that fact. Life is extremely short and unpredictable so I would highly recommend taking a deep breath and throwing one more new ball into the air. It may work out perfectly, it may fail, but I promise you that it will not hinder your ability to successfully put out tomorrows anticipated flames.
I’ve spent recent months reading and researching everything and anything related to business, art, and design that I could get my hands on in addition to a few books about personal journeys. Some highlights included, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Phaidon’s The Design Book, Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road, In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I also dove head first into a stack of Entrepreneur magazine back issues (the result of a 10-year subscription). After a while a common theme became evident in every written word. It was time to develop a new path, one that encompassed my vision of inclusion, collaboration, community, and obviously creativity.
The research I had buried myself in slowly evolved into a renewal and re-focus on my love for quality design, materiality, detailing, and how all of these things come together. I started visiting unfamiliar showrooms to educate myself on materials that I had not used before and engaged in substantive conversations with reps, other professionals, contractors, photographers, writers, and anyone else who crossed my path with something interesting to say. It quickly became clear how many people around us have their own interesting perspectives and that there is a surplus of useful information to consume. As creatures of habit I think we sometimes accidentally look past people or products that may not be directly in our line of site, but if we can learn to regularly use our peripheral vision it is possible to consume knowledge each day from sources you may not expect and that is the key to breaking out of the hamster wheel and really Shaking It Up!
Aim to eliminate competition from your working relationships. Ask a fellow architect, designer, photographer, graphic artist, or writer to collaborate with you. Join forces, pool your resources, and create something truly spectacular because it is impossible for one to be great at everything, but together we can get a little bit closer to perfection.
If you’ve made it this far in SC Journals’s first official post I offer sincere gratitude for sticking with me until the end. As the SC Journal evolves I hope to offer new and thoughtful information in all areas of architecture and design. There is so much to explore together and we’re only getting started. For today I leave you with this…
“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” - Madeleine L'Engle
This post is dedicated to the wonderful people in my life who have supported my journey unconditionally, especially my fiancé Ed who has spent endless hours listening to me verbalize every aspect of what spatialCOMPASS aspires to be. Thank you.