IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 43

e

Jaime Velez, FIIDA, ASID
Director of Interior
Design, Skidmore,
owings & Merrill,
Chicago
Jaime Velez is
a Director in charge
of the Interiors Group
in the Chicago office
of SoM. He implements
and guides the interior
design strategy and
then coordinates and
develops the concepts
with the architectural
and engineering disciplines and consultants.
With projects in over
16 countries and 4
continents, the nature
of his practice is
truly global.
Mr. Velez is a Fellow
in the International
Interior Design Association (IIDA), a member
of the National Council
for Interior Design
Qualification and
the American Society
of Interior Designers,
and a member of the
Colombian Society
of Architects.

Today, it seems, the various "players" in a design
project-designers, clients, consultants, etc.-
collaborate in ways they didn't 20 years ago.
Do you think that's the case?
It's interesting, because "collaboration"
has become this buzzword that everyone is
using non-stop.
It's been fetishized, in a way.
Completely! In the past, you know, those
things took place, but now it's become an
institutionalized word. But it's true, of course,
that communication between the various players
in projects has changed significantly. One of
my first interior design projects was for Comerica
Bank, and when I look back, the way the client did
business was very insular, very formal. And how
the spaces responded to the way they operated
was still extremely formal and fairly hierarchical.
Depending on your grade, you were located in
a certain type of office, a certain type of workstation. There was absolutely zero consideration
for anything in collaboration that didn't involve
clients or customers. So internally, we really
never talked about it that much. There were
a couple of workrooms, but they seemed to be
more accidental than very well thought out. But
if you look at where we are right now, it's
completely on the other end of the spectrum.
It seems that everyone is much more aware
of the need to talk to one another!
Yes, although another factor is that we had
zero mobility within office spaces. You were
completely grounded at your workstation. There
were no cell phones, there were no laptops, there
were no tablets. So to a degree, the only way
of you and I working together away from our
workstations would have to be a purely verbal
interaction. The chances of me running into you
and saying, "You ought to take a look at this.
What do you think of that?" were very small.
Now I can work with you anywhere! Right now
I'm leading a virtual team in which all of my
staff is in our New York office, and our work
is extremely collaborative.
How do you communicate with them?

So are you travelling less than before?
You travel less, sure. But in Colombia, where
I'm from, they have a saying, "The face of the
saint makes the miracle happen." So yes, much
of the collaboration is virtual, but when it comes
to decision-making, more seems to happen
when you are face to face.
Has any of this changed what clients want
now, both in terms of collaboration with you
or internally?
Right now I'm working on a project in Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia, where there are heavy levels of
interaction between all the different members
of the team and with the client. We're really
beginning to address a variety of needs that
we never had to address before. As we were
conducting our programming exercises, people
talked about this need for distraction during
work hours-the ability to do activities that
are non-work-related, that allow you a respite,
that allow you to energize yourself. So we're
developing this idea of a series of neighborhoods
within the 40 floors of the project. It's two office
towers occupied by a telecommunications
company. One of the floors is all about fitness,
it's about watching television, it's about playing
cards, it's about PlayStation.
This must be a remarkable client. A lot of
employers I can think of would frown on the idea
of their people doing those kinds of activities
during work hours.
Yes, but some employers are really coming
around to the idea that informal work is equally
as valid as formal work. What can happen between
you and I during a card game could be just as
relevant as something we discuss at our
workstations; it could begin to influence the type
of work we're doing. So this company is looking
to create a completely new paradigm. Religious
activities are also very important there, so one
of the floors is a mosque. We have a portion of
a floor that is all about food-food as a catalyst
for people to interact-and a portion that's all
about community. So compared to the example
I gave you at the beginning, it's 180 degrees.

GoTo Meetings have become an everyday event
for us in multiple locations. We share what we
have on a screen along with voice conferencing.
I can point, I can comment, I can sketch, all
virtually. It's created a very nimble way of
working. This is also true in the way we deal
with our clients, because our practice is extremely
global. The majority of clients I have right now
are in the Middle East, in South America, in
China. But our interaction is very effective.
perspective

43



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014

Contents
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - Cover1
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - Cover2
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 1
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 2
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - Contents
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 4
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 5
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 6
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 7
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 8
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 9
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 10
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 11
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 12
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 13
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 14
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 15
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 16
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 16A
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 16B
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 17
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 18
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 19
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 20
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 21
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 22
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 23
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 24
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 25
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 26
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 27
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 28
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 29
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 30
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 31
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 32
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 33
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 34
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 35
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 36
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 37
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 38
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 39
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 40
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 41
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 42
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 43
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 44
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 45
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 46
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 47
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 48
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 49
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 50
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 51
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IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 53
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 54
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 55
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - 56
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - Cover3
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2014 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2019fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2019summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2019spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2018fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2018summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2018spring
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2017fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2017springsummer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2016fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2016springsummer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2015fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2015springsummer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2014fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2014springsummer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2013fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2013springsummer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2012fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2012springsummer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2011fallwinter
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nielsen/perspective_2011springsummer
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