Interior Designers + Architects + Collaboration = Success (For Everyone)
Having been at LD & Co. for about a year now, I feel like I am finally learning the ins and outs of the industry. Well, sort of. I still have many questions and know (hope) that I will never stop learning. One thing that has intrigued me, from the get-go, is how all the different “players” come together and collaborate to build, design, and sell a structure (be it a model home, an amenity space, multi-family building, etc.). How are developers, architects, and designers so collaborative?
Coming from an entirely different industry where most efforts are siloed, and credit commandeered, this multi-faceted collaboration and outward sharing of success has been eye-opening. How do these different professionals share their skills and expertise so freely? (And why?) Are there unwritten rules on who does what, when? Is there not fear that someone else will take credit for their time-saving idea or “out-of-the-box” thinking? And really, what are the best practices when it comes to all these different professionals collaborating?
In a quest to find these answers and more, I sat down with one of our firms’ periodic collaborators, KEPHART community :: planning :: architecture. Bobby Long, Principal and Design Director at KEPHART, was gracious enough to chat with me about architecture, collaboration, and the trials and tribulations of traveling with kids.
A Collaborative Chat
LD & Co.: Bobby, thanks so much for sitting down to talk. I have always been a fan of architects and, little-known fact, I wanted to be an architect at one point. However, I’m terrible at math and drawing and will often arbitrarily round when measuring things…so yeah, guess it’s a good thing I went into marketing.
So, let’s just jump right in, when do you think it would be the ideal time for collaboration to start between a builder/developer, architect, and designer?
Bobby: As early in the process as possible.
LD & Co.: Could you elaborate on that thought a little? What would be your elevator speech about the “importance of developing a strong working relationship early in the process with an interior designer”?
Bobby: Well, how long is the elevator ride?
LD & Co.: You’re in NYC and headed to the penthouse.
Bobby: In a nutshell it’s about coordination and teamwork. I’d say the top four reasons why it’s so imperative to get a designer in early would be:
- Spark more creativity. Different perspectives coming from different points of view and areas of expertise lead to better results.
- Give everyone a chance to be a part of creating the brand story/messaging for the community. This creates buy-in and allows everyone to be on the same page.
- Inspire coordination and flow of design ideas between all parties involved.
- Save time and money. The earlier the collaboration the more efficient the entire process.
LD & Co.: What is it that makes for a great teaming relationship between an architect and an interior design/merchandising firm?
Bobby: As a firm, we enjoy working with designers that feed off the back and forth energy that comes with creating something. We love bouncing ideas off designers and vice versa. The diverse skill sets and points of view make every project better. Collaboration and energy. And talent. The designers we typically like to work with style wise are those that create authentic designs. They are thoughtful on why they are doing what they are doing.
LD & Co.: I can appreciate that. I know our designers feel similarly about working with architects. They enjoy the firms that encourage back and forth and productive idea sharing.
So what is it that makes KEPHART special? Obviously, your buildings are interesting, attractive, and well crafted. But so are a lot of buildings. What is it about this firm that inspires you? You’ve been here for quite a while, what is it that gets you out of bed each day?
Bobby: You mean besides the kids and dog?
LD & Co.: Ha, yes.
Bobby: It’s going to sound a little cheesy, but it is true. It’s the people. I get to work with great, smart, engaged people. We all work on different teams. And, it just works. The sharing of ideas, the energy, and excitement about each of the different projects is palpable. As it says on our website: ‘Everyone deserves a great place to live, work, and play.’ This is so much more than a tag line. It truly is my life’s work and what gets me up in the morning.
We also understand that strong relationships create phenomenal designs and is the key. Regardless if it’s to rent or sell, it’s about creating well-designed places. And we have found over time that good relationships result in good designs. And good designs mean happy clients. And happy clients mean repeat clients.
LD & Co.: Exactly. We feel the same. We know that we are only successful if we help our clients be successful. And, it’s those successful clients that keep coming back.
Thank you so much for your time and insight, Bobby. I look forward to more successful KEPHART/LD & Co. collaborations in the near future like our work together on Kent Place Residences.
To learn more about KEPHART community :: planning :: architecture and see some of their projects, please visit their website.
And to see how to collaborate with LD & Co, please contact us today.