8 Values : 1 Vision
At the end of 2018, our VP, Marcel van Garderen, issued an employee satisfaction survey. Now, every Monday during our team scrum we discuss one of the questions. A couple of weeks back, one of those questions prompted a conversation about WORKSHOP8’s values and vision which spiraled into me creating this blog series called “8 Values : 1 Vision” in which every few weeks we will explore what our 8 values and our vision, mean to each team member.
8 VALUES >
1 | ARTISTRY
2 | COLLABORATION
3 | EXPLORATION
4 | INTEGRITY
5 | LEADERSHIP
6 | PASSION
7 | SUSTAINABILITY
8 | VIABILITY
1 VISION >
Inspire, enrich, and transform lives through great design.
1 | ARTISTRY
We define ARTISTRY as “bringing joy and delight through the creation of bold, innovative, exciting, exemplary design.” Today we explore ARTISTRY and how it is integrated into our culture and our work.
ARTISTRY is my favorite of all of WORKSHOP8’s values as it should be since I am an artist! My goal with every project is to infuse it with touches of unexpected pleasure. We strive to do this without adding too much to the budget, but we also hope to educate our clients that it is worth investing in beauty. Many of our projects are affordable housing, and the populations we serve in this sector deserve so much more than basic. Yes, the most important thing is to provide, safe, efficient, and durable projects — but bringing bold, well-thought out touches and details is what takes the project from basic to extraordinary. And let’s be honest, that is what makes coming to work worth it. We don’t make much money, so the real gratification of our work comes through self-expression.
This flooring finish sample for The Olin Hotel Apartments illustrates how the addition of a few, inexpensive Spanish style tiles will make the stairways something more than just a utilitarian way to get from one level to the next.
One of the reasons I became interested in the field of architecture was because I saw it as a form of artistic engineering. On one hand, I am a technical problem solver, but on the other I am a creator who believes that art adds interest and meaning to our world. In our projects at W8, I am constantly striving to come up with creative components that will lend to a human experience that is unique and inspiring. It is challenging to design artistically stimulating spaces while at the same time focusing on peoples’ basic needs and coming in on budget, but the added effort is worth it. I hope that the work we do here at WORKSHOP8 inspires people (whether they realize it or not) similarly to how a musician or an artist would.
To me, the word ARTISTRY reflects an overlap of thoughtful design, creative problem solving, and quality craftsmanship. Integration of these three components produces work that can serve people of any background, age, or level of design knowledge. We as designers keep ARTISTRY in our work by integrating it into the loftiest and vague initial concepts of a project and carrying it through to the smallest of details.
Art by Megan Stanley
Mitch welding during his International-Design-Build Project in Nicaragua
I believe ARTISTRY is what makes our studio an architecture firm, and not just a firm that produces construction documents. ARTISTRY is where we as designers are able to work our magic to make a project interesting, thoughtful, and beautiful. For any project we take on as designers of the built environment, one of our simplest goals is to always improve and stimulate the lives of those the project is affecting. ARTISTRY is one way we are able to achieve that. I believe that when it comes to design, the true “beauty” one picks up from a work can be found in the signs of the human intervention behind the product. The attention to details, the unique arrangements, creative outside-the-box ideas realized in material form, they all call out as something somebody took actual time and effort to consider seriously. It is through this perceived intuition and “elbow grease” that we integrate ARTISTRY into our work, to produce a completely unique space that its users can be proud to call theirs.
ARTISTRY is a WORKSHOP8 value that is very important to me. Since I was in elementary school, I always wanted to be an artist when I grew up. As I got older, the idea of being an artist morphed into becoming an interior designer. I love that interior design and architecture meld puzzle solving with art. At WORSKHOP8 we pride ourselves in incorporating ARTISTRY into every project. Through aesthetic choices, careful detailing, and finishing touches we are able to create a unique and joy-filled atmosphere for our clients, regardless of budget, which is so rewarding for me.
ARTISTRY has always a big part of my life with my mom and brother being artists. I believe as designers it’s our responsibility to bring delight to every project and to improves the lives of the people we’re designing for. I try to bring beauty to projects whenever I have the opportunity to, and here in the office, our environment encourages us to be creative problem solvers. That’s how we’re able to bring joy and innovation to all our projects. My hope is that our designs bring out the artist in all of us, and encourage aspiring architects to do the same.
Marcel Van Garderen
A significant part of my role at WORKSHOP8 is Construction Administration. This phase of the process is steeped in tradition—and for a good reason—errors can be costly. However, coming up with creative solutions during construction requires a solid understanding of the design intent, the construction process, and building code.
I associate ARTISTRY with craftsmanship. Architecture is not something we do just because we can or just because we may have a knack for it, but we do it as an art form we are passionate about. In every project, there are budget constraints and other challenges, but being artistic and finding creative solutions turn a project’s challenges into an opportunity. It’s sorta like Architectural Jujutsu if you would. By taking pride in the work that I do, I am able to come up with artistic solutions to do the best job possible.
Webster defines artistry as a noun relating to a skill or craft, but I like to think that true artistry as a verb. It is easy to integrate ARTISTRY into our work at WORKSHOP8 when the office culture cultivates and promotes the heart of “MERAKI” (A Greek word that means doing something with soul, creativity, or love). When you put “something of yourself’ into what you’re doing, whatever it may be, the act of ARTISTRY is being practiced. At WORKSHOP8, we are all encouraged to pursue our passions inside and out of the office whether it is cycling, painting, cooking, music, firefighting, motorcycling, auto mechanics, etc. It is easy to see that, with full hearts, the office culture of MERAKI also carries over into the world of architecture, art, and interior design.
My parents were a part of the strong art movement that emerged at CU Boulder in the early 1960’s, so you could say I was born into a community of art. Art was just a part of life, whether it was painting, poetry, film or sculpture. Most of my childhood friends’ parents were artists. Both my parents painted and my father ran an Art Movie House for many years (my first job was selling tickets when I was 8). I was surrounded by artists. As an adult, I am drawn to this type of crowd. I strongly believe that art is what makes Architecture more than just a building, and treating a building as a “canvas” is our responsibility as designers. I strive to be an Architect, not just a Building Engineer (not to disrespect Engineers, they have their own way of expressing themselves, which is equally important).
As for me, never have I been in a work culture where I was surrounded by as much ARTISTRY and creative expression as I am each day at WORKSHOP8. One of the greatest commonalities amongst myself and everyone here is our desire to expand the status quo through creative expression, and I think a really important component in feeling that we are able to do so is to feel that we can be 100% our true selves in the work environment. Everyone’s opinion of what good design looks like is different, but with such a diverse group, it is a really enjoyable experience to suggest an idea, converse among others and hear their opinions, and work together to blend our design preferences to create something unique and beautiful. ARTISTRY, in my opinion, is a process and not a delivery.
Thanks for reading!
Maris DuBois | Studio Manager
08 May 2019