IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2015 - 42
by poems written
poet Edward Mayes.
"We draw and make models to stay old school,"
Alfonso says. "The computer is a great tool but
it's dumbing down the process of why we
became designers and artists. You sort of arrive
at the solution too quickly."
On a recent project, Alfonso purposefully disrupted
his normal design process to push himself outside
of his comfort zone and, hopefully, forward as a
designer. While working on a residential project
that included the construction of an Italian-style
farmhouse, he asked an Italian poet to email him
a new work each morning to read and reflect on.
Then he'd paint for 20 minutes, and the time served
as an artistic meditation. "The poem would rattle
me in a way that was not related to the work, but
it put me in a place where I could jump into the
work with increased creativity," Alfonso says. He
amassed 300 pieces from the exercise and even
exhibited them in two separate shows locally.
Other firms, like Silverman Trykowski Associates,
Inc. in Boston, create regular sharing opportunities
in-house. Each week the entire company gathers for
STA's Living Lab to hear a co-worker discuss outside
interests that may have little to do with design.
The ritual came about when the current firm was
established in a merger, and the principals sought
to blend the cultures, says principal and former
IIDA-President Felice Silverman, FIIDA. All
employees regularly present during the lab; one
colleague may speak about electronic inventions he
does after work, while another may show off crafts
she sells on behalf orphanage in South Africa.
Mandatory show-and-tells run the risk of
becoming stale or prescriptive, so Silverman keeps
the program loose. For one recent lab, she printed
photos of her favorite colorful birds, and together
the firm pulled out color palettes from each shot.
Silverman says that employees who may have been
intimidated about working with color experienced
creative epiphanies before her eyes. "You saw the
light bulb go off in their heads,' she says. "I sat back
and thought, this is invaluable to my firm because
I saw people understanding color in a way they
hadn't before and are now actively using it."
Another firm programming life outside design into
the work week is Brooklyn's Brooks Atwood Design.
Chief Design Officer Brooks Atwood, IDSA, has
made "purposeful play" a central part of his work