By Lindsey Theobald
A month or so ago, Dzine SF hosted an SF Design Week event entitled “Medici by the Bay: A New Renaissance for Clients and Architects.” Jonathan was invited as a guest speaker to the luncheon panel, which also included Bay Area architects Matthew Mosey and Irit Axwelrod, as well as developer Greg Malin. The speakers were also joined by Lissoni Inc.’s CEO Stefano Giussani, representing Pierre Lissoni and their interior design practice. Lissoni is also a prolific furnishings designer, several pieces of which are well represented by the DZine showroom.
The panel’s discussion focused on design within SF and how it compares to the caliber of design across the world. Topics they debated ranged from SF’s implementation of cutting edge design practices compared to Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia as well as how we as architects can push our clients out of their comfort zone to then expand our own design boundaries. They questioned how to push forward design in SF while still respecting the regional vernacular of the city, and what could potentially come next.
I was interested in much of what Irit Axelrod discussed. She often found herself frustrated by the limits of design that local clients typically prefer. Few clients have been willing to put total trust in her as a designer, choosing instead to play it safe and design up to known regional modernism. Her aesthetic tends to lean towards raw, warehouse/loft spaces with modern minimalism, but she admitted that she’d be equally as interested in creating an edgy and minimalist interior within a traditional SF Victorian. Perhaps that juxtaposition would show future clients that the two can coexist.
Jonathan was sympathetic to the struggle between the freedom of pushing design versus responding to our clients own aesthetic comfort level, as well as their pragmatic requests. Jonathan feels that as a firm we are lucky since most of our clients are great collaborators and put a large amount of trust in us as designers. We are able to push the envelope on design frequently, knowing that our clients’ design values align with our own, as well as with the world of architecture.