Jeanne Schultz, a young female designer, talks about the benefits of working with a progressive design firm.
Describe the work environment at East Side Collective. The East Side Collective is both a community and an office space. It’s where my firm’s studio has found a home, among other small-scale designers. Together we share resources and collaborate to empower one another. In addition to the goings-on of business as usual, we almost always have local artwork showcased. We also bring in local musicians for intimate shows and gatherings, brew intense espresso, and celebrate our office dog–Maui Russell, an apricot poodle.
Describe your progressive firm and why you run it in such a way. My firm is interdisciplinary and collaborative. In addition to architectural and interior designers, we have graphic designers, woodworkers, sketch artists, and other design professionals who participate in both the creative process and production. I chose this team structure because it enables us to provide our clients and projects with an integrated, holistic approach. I think our process is elevated with the contribution of individual craft expertise, in that together we figure out how things come together and really hone in on the details.
What is the value of working with an architect/design professional? I think the greatest way that design professionals bring value is through our ability to make all the parts and pieces come together. It takes a lot of people to build a building and to create space. We strive to manage all of the relationships between constituents and maintain a continuous vision throughout the project. Other ways that we bring value are by providing the tools for clients to realize their vision, as well as the resources to execute it. One of my favorite instructors in college, Larry Speck, said, “Architecture is a subliminal experience.” For example, we all experience space in buildings and other structures each day. But rarely do we analyze what it is about those spaces that enable us to be productive or enjoy ourselves. Part of our roles as design professionals is to really think critically about that and define those experiences.
What criteria do you use to establish priorities and make design decisions? Our first priority is to understand the client’s objectives and the physical site to determine what is feasible for the project. Through experimentation in sketches, modeling, and abstraction, we work to discover what the project is about. Our formal design decisions are then guided by a few principles in order to realize that big idea: dynamic space that can be achieved in as few architectural gestures as possible, rational geometry, and a refined material palette.
What is your role and the client’s role with the contractor? We suggest that our clients bring on a contractor as early as possible. Contractors contribute great value to the design process as we work through budget and construction constraints. We can assist the client in finding the right contractor, communicating design details, and working as a team throughout the duration of the project.
Do you ever integrate low or no cost sustainable design strategies into projects? Absolutely. ‘Sustainability’ is a buzzword, and I think many people have an understanding of what it means in relationship to things like energy and building materials. However, sustainability encompasses environmental, social, and economic practices. We strive to address each of these appropriately considering what’s feasible per project. It may mean sourcing material locally to reduce our carbon footprint, designing to minimize physical site intervention, or promoting a safe, fair-waged construction environment.
Jeanne Schultz Design Studio
2400 E Cesar Chavez, #302
The Miriam Design Team: Jeanne Schultz Design Studio & Joel Mozersky Design,
Development Team: Will Steakley, Taylor Perkins, Jack Lieberman, Photographer: Leah Muse,
Home goods: Kettle & Brine, Furniture: Madre
East 12th Street Duplex Design Team: Jeanne Schultz & Shane Pavonetti,
Developer: Matt Schram, Photographer: Andrea Calo
Historical Governor’s Mansion Design Team: Jeanne Schultz Design Studio
& Joel Mozersky Design, Development Team: Will Steakley, Taylor Perkins, Jack Lieberman