Contract - March 2010 - (Page 124)

practice W W e know we’re living in a “new reality” when even our totemic prognosticators—Ouija Boards, Magic Eight Balls, and tarot cards—are iPhone apps. It’s a reality where cherished fundamentals feel antiquated and predictions feel quaint. In this economy, the design industry is feeling the shock of obsolete processes and protocols, and a clear picture of the eventual outcome is elusive. Many remember recessions of the recent past, but this one feels more intractable and consequential. There’s a sense that this time the profession may emerge a very different animal than it was just a year and a half ago. streamlining their operations and targeting active sectors and markets. They’re also strategically courting new kinds of clients and partners as well as striking out into unfamiliar sectors and services. Even though there’s no higher education work on the horizon locally, the Los Angeles architecture rm Pugh + Scarpa is reaching out to this market with the goal of building relationships for when that sector picks up. This strategy has served the rm well—its affordable housing expertise, developed during the last recession, is one area that is busy now. reading the tea leaves As alliances and collaborations combine with more frequency, and technological possibilities accelerate, how designers work and what the profession will look like will change profoundly By Jan Lakin A renewed buoyant economy a few years down the line might restore a more familiar landscape, but some of these conditions are here to stay. Designers who succeed in the long term will be those willing to embrace radical changes occurring within the practice and to actualize the expanded role it offers the profession. This emerging reality includes a fundamental shift from linear to concurrent design processes, a wider array of partners and collaborators, and increased use of technology for designing and communicating. Disorienting as it is, the new reality comes with some explicit givens. Designers are having to produce work faster than ever before, are required to be more virtual, mobile, and exible, and feel challenged to expand their expertise beyond their comfort zones. There are more competitors for work nationally and internationally, and allied businesses such real estate developers and manufacturers are competing for design services. All while fees continue to shrink. And the bar is higher. Strategies and approaches that differentiated designers just a few years ago are now status quo. Sustainable design is becoming standard practice, and multidisciplinary capabilities as well as expertise in multiple industry sectors—a saviour for rms during the last recession—are considered “best practices.” Many designers are expanding into strategic planning opportunities. Mergers and acquisitions and the new entities emerging from bankruptcies are creating a bewildering jumble of properties for large corporations that designers can help assess and recon gure. To capitalize on this, Gensler has shifted personnel from its slow aviation practice to its consulting services. Building repositioning work has stepped up as well, with developers and building owners recasting newly acquired properties or struggling to attract tenants to existing buildings. Washington, D.C.-based design strategy rm Lehman Smith McLeish has seen a big increase in this work, which comprises 35 to 40 percent of the rm’s current activity. To presage our future, many designers look East. The Hong Kong-based workplace strategy rm, M Moser has honed its ability to deliver corporate interiors quickly via its experience in Asian markets such as Delhi, Beijing, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. “The fast pace of things in that part of the world has driven us to gure out how to keep doing things more quickly,” says Bill Bouchey, design director of the New York of ce of M Moser. By providing clients a comprehensive range of services from design, engineering, and construction management, the rm is able to overlap phases and compress design and building cycles. Far from limiting a project’s creative potential, Bouchey feels this approach, also known as “Integrated Project Delivery” (IPD), allows the designer greater control and exibility Not surprisingly, to manage and thrive right now, designers from rms of all sizes are 124 contract march 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - March 2010

Contract 3/10
Editor’s Note
Essays from the Past:
The Contract Design Dilemma (May 1962)
Space Planning Symposium (July 1963)
Changes in Workplaces Reflect Changes in Task Structure (June 1970)
Women Need Feminine Desks (June 1970)
Name “Interior Designer” Is a Misnomer Because of Broader Duties (August 1970)
Research Reveals Proper Height, Width, Depth of Furniture, from Office Chairs to Library Tables (September 1970)
Astounding Technology Portends Drastic Office Changes in the ’80s (January 1980)
Is the Office Really Necessary? (January 1989)
If You Cut Your Fee, Do You Bleed? (June 1990)
Design: Retrospective
Essays on the Future:
More Happiness, Less Stuff: By Ray C. Anderson
The Social Aspect of Social Responsibility: By John Cary
Leading in the Global Market: By Ross Donaldson
Technology Trends: By Cathryn Barrett
Inadmissible Evidence: By Michael Berens
Designers Rate: Eight Designers Pick Their Favorite Three Commercial Interiors Products of the Last 50 Years
Ad Index

Contract - March 2010