Skip to content

Welcome to Saved by Design

September 24, 2018

New Stuff:

In Random Stuff:  BEAUTY: More Important Than Image

In Home Page: YOUNG at Home

In Left To Myself : Forgiveness

In Not (As) Fat: One Meal A Day

In Finding Home: The Virtue of Doing Hard Things

In The Rules: Between Rocks & Hard $$$

In Silence In Spring : Astonishing…

In Days ’till Spring : 40 Days

Standing Up From Sitting Shiva

October 20, 2018

44504172_10160891780980363_465505288733065216_n.jpgControlUntoDeath

It is not easy excusing indulgence.

The death of my sibling has forced me to indulge my perspective with expression.

The art above combines 4o minutes alone in silence standing on feet of collective rejection, trying to understand what I was seeing. https://artspacenewhaven.org/cwos-home/cwos-alt-space-2018/

In the end I was seeing the damage of cruelty – and the gift of its absence. So I have written and talked and created the art of the fruit of that cruelty. Cruelties for most of us are petty – selfish acts, denigrating name calling, simple prejudices.

But real, hard, cruelty is seldom seen, and it wrecks the young. I have seen it. I know.

Devotion is at its most intense and vulnerable in the young. I am left destroyed by the beauty of the youngest among us. Inordinately so. Their full reactions to every happy and threatening stimulus is guileless and is simply about the fragility of the love they fully embody. But I am no victim, and my family is not tragic. We were never beaten, starved, poorly clothed, even uncomfortable, it was MidCentury Suburbia for God’s sake, Private School. Dry Cleaned Clothing. Shined Shoes, Veal Cutlets.

In all the visible ways we, all of us, were living the American Dream after the nightmare of World War 2, But in the last 60 years the outcomes of that time have revealed the damage of those who created us, in the damage their cruelty inveighed upon us.

In fact my sibling had the luxury of controlling her life to the point of suicide. That final measure of a life built upon hard breaks of killed careers, marriages, devotions, gender and Faith. Each was done with a finality and purpose. Being in a place unseen by anyone but my sibling for 16 years was a daunting reveal of survival via control and exclusion.

Addressing death will do that.

The act of sitting shiva is not easy for we Puritans, A Sabbath might make sense if I deserved it, but I know, somehow, that I do not. So I think taking time to process death, first of those I love and then my own yet to be, is self indulgence until it becomes unavoidable.

The results came home to reveal themselves a year ago. My sibling acted upon her last act of final complete control. My life, and the lives of every family member in my youth was shaped by cruelty. The snap of denigration, dismissal, judgment was swift, complete and irredeemable. My sister left. My brother retreated to a life he controlled. I, the youngest, watched and shut up. A little like now.

I had to admit today that I excuse the common cruelties of self-indulgent prescription, dismissal, condemnation, judgement. Not pious sanctimony, but because in my tender youth I saw real, intended, repeated cruelty. What I see now is simple acting out, not the dismantling of belief in the potential of love being a part of our lives. My parents could not see what they were doing.

They were not alone.

In the mid century, millions of men who were broken by the most hideous realities of violence and murderous hate survived to seek solace without diagnosis. For them, there was no antiseptic, only the bandaid of control. My parents, deeply damaged by circumstances beyond their control  found a place they thought would end their pain.

The suburbs were a sanitarium for the damaged in Mid Century. Endless smoking was a distraction. Every night drinking till fully drunk was a daily retreat to intoxicated rationalization. They were “right”, after all, they survived. We, their creations and dependents, had no other voices other than theirs.

Those who were not smoking or drinking were in their care. Those infants and innocents looked to their parents for love beyond sustenance. They expected protection, assumed nurture, hoped for love amid all the confusion of parents’ lives made before their existence.

In the death of the damaged, it is clear to me that cruelty wrecks the young. In having children I realize that the absence of cruelty feeds the best in us. So whether it is justification by judgment or acceptance by love, in death the fruits of giving or cruelty are harvested.

That is why some sit shiva. That embrace of understanding is hard for me to accept. So I act. I write, I make things, events, images. We consume the essence of the lives that have been harvested. But those who hold the hearts of the young in their hands do not have many options beyond love and acceptance towards the innocents, or innocence is ended.

When the damaged create the undamaged it is easy to inveigh the next wave of cruelty upon the fragile. It does not take much to wreck the innocent for life. Children only have love in them until a new reality inevitably enters in. That earliest of times is life at its most tender, and complexity beyond love is unavoidable. Love can be crushed instantly and forever by the terrible realities of each of us. Here in this capture of a moment I see what was left for my sister to control, completely distinct from the cruelty of her youth, but caused by it, and I wince.

But it is self-indulgent to write this. To make the art seen above shares imponderable assumptions rendered as truth, but it what I have been left to do. I installed this wee event with my son. We love each other without qualification, in the absence of any cruelties.

That break is what love is.

I call it God because I know, have always known, that the cruelties of broken lives were not part of the Grace I was given. I have never asked for it, but it was there. I cannot control much, I wish I did, but I have no choice in the matter. I can make things because I have been given everything.

A year of WASP shiva has given me that simple reality.

 

 

BEAUTY: More Important Than Image

October 7, 2018

 

5 years ago or so, I was asked to write a piece on PR and it’s role in architecture for a branch of the American Istitute of Architects. I have a fair amount of exposure over the years, not so much in the New Era of tinier venues. So I have a large footprint for a tiny firm on a variety of internet platforms.

I knew I was being asked to offer clever advice and insights to game a system of recognition that benefits the relentlessly self-promoting. Well I relentlessly self-promote. Because I have to. My work is not of the avowed Modernist “Canon” (as the picture above indicates). But additionally what I do is not so appealing to the “Neo-Traditional” Canon either. (Ditto the aesthetic Trugger Warning).

As it turns out that I get some affirmation simply because the work appeals to people that want to build, but not in this century to people who want credibility by publishing “correct” work. So I wrote abiut that.

It was up, in a corner of a corner of the Internet for a couple of years, and then vanished, for whatever reason, but under any Canon, I am only ‘correct” under one set of principles: that people find Beauty in it.

So it was wiped from view by the voice of a Canon that I was made Fellow in last year (the AIA): not just for my aesthetics but for my impact on those who design and those who might want design services:

Including a former intern who put this piece on his website and thus it survives: What goes on the Internet never dies: so you can read this:

It’s Not The Media: It’s The Work

By Duo Dickinson, AIA

A very nice woman emailed my office last week, and was interested in auditioning me to be her architect after seeing my Houzz Profile. I had created that series of images and words at the behest of my publisher before my last book. That contact was nothing new, but the process of connection was nothing like it was 30 years ago.

Every mechanism of client contact has changed, starting with HOUZZ – that now states “HOUZZ is the new way to design homes.” To me, HOUZZ is 4,000,000 images and limited enlightenment. I now have 134 “followers” and 33 “reviews” on HOUZZ, – all seemingly positive, and I do put pics there occasionally. I have not updated the written content (my office is 25 years old, and holding) and I created 4 “Ideabooks” at their behest – which I liked, but were a dead end for the site: which wanted more captioning than commentary, an act of authorship that took time in getting the deep background about the projects.

I have gotten no work from the few calls I have gotten from investing about 40 hours of staff time and 20 hours of my writing time. A lot of curiosity, but no work for this architect.

In contrast, I had over 700 calls over 15 years and had perhaps 40 projects result from one 1994 article in the New York Times.

That print exposure resulted in letters and phone calls, which resulted in me taking a slide projector to each and every home, with a show tweaked for each potential client. Back then, there were no websites to direct people to, no email to send links to articles to. Instead, I spent about $20,000 in printing and staff time a year to create full color PR packets – one for new homes and one for additions – not a home-brew “brag book”, but articles on my work, mostly written by others – 3rd party validation.

15 years ago I created a website on a Homestead platform. It is the dumbest of sites that I refuse to transition to a Flash-based movement/fade/sound/video nightmare that crashes potential clients’ IPhones and expectations. We update every month or so, costing about $1,000 a year in time. Many (but never architects) gush “I LOVE your website”! To be user friendly is better than to be beautiful, it seems. The most obvious change since cyber land invaded my efforts at client contact has been the mode of communication; now most email, some call, but we receive almost no letters (although one was in the mailbox last week, and I met them last weekend.)

I also entered, and enter, a few competitions each year to few good ends.

Although I have never paid for advertising or pay-for-play/vanity publishing, I do offer my services up for charity auctions and put ads in charity event programs. We also email blast articles/writings/awards to lists of stakeholders (perhaps 700) via Constant Contact once or twice a month – with a 40% “open” rate and few “opt outs”.

Whatever we have done it has worked – in about 30 years we’ve had over 900 clients who have built over 700 things. I have never laid an employee off, missed a payroll or a mortgage payment – I, personally, have no money, but hey, its 2014 and I am an architect. Our office has between 40 and 60 projects in some stage of reality at any given time, and we do build about 70% of what we start.

The big change that has been wrought by the “new” media is not the number of new jobs – that seems constant despite the rollercoasters of boom/bust – but in the fact that by pre-screening us people know what I do before they reach out. One 1990’s slide show victim was so uncomfortable looking at what I do on the slide projector that she leapt at the chance to have me stop, and leave.

Just like 30 years ago I still personally visit everyone interested in any work of any size. I never charge, but if visits require travel costs those get covered. The net-net is we get about one contract for every 3 visits – versus the pre-website era where we signed about 1 in 5 potential clients to do the work.

Now, however, 20 plus national shelter magazines have dwindled to a few, a book or two a year trickles out of a few publishers, and so I now have the most fun creating a blog solicited by the local newspaper, that has had over 64,000 visits in 4 years with zero advertising. No work has ever been generated by it, but people say they like it, and Karma may just accrue to branding.

At the behest of a literary friend of friend of mine I created a Facebook site, early, when mostly celebs and media freaks were on it, and now I post writings and projects there every day. I have over 1,500 “friends” about half of whom I have never met. Similarly my publisher wanted me to do a Wikipedia page that hasn’t been updated in 3 years, and I have no idea what it does.

My publisher said “you should be tweeting” so I do: photos and articles and links everyday (https://mobile.twitter.com/duodickinson) – I have over 600 “followers” without paying a service to gin up the numbers (apparently quite a business). There seems to be a few people finding my blog thru it, but otherwise its reality is inscrutable to me.

More important than all the social media efforts I actually do what I believe in: meaning I am on 7 not-for-profit boards, contribute work, either fully or partially to about 1/4 of the projects in the office that are for not-for-profits, give copious amounts of free advice with zero expectation of getting work. This extends to radio where I cohost a show and being the architecture critic for the local paper.

Of course, writing 7 books and having a long resume of honorific factoids helps but all of this PR effort, all of it, is meaningless without 3 essential realities:

1) We do work that is, objectively, interesting and competent – shallow trendiness or safety-in-pandering or design-for-the-camera is not in my genome.

2) We partner with clients and create a personal relationship that survives all the ups and downs that occur in life and building – our open-ended, client-based design process takes longer, but it creates a deep trust in the value of my work.

3) Despite all the media I employ, it is a guileless, transparent effort without an agenda. It’s an open book practice, where I talk frankly about our focus, process, failures, as well as strengths.

So tomorrow I show my work to those people who saw images on HOUZZ, not with pictures or articles but in person, up-close-and-personal, visiting four sites, at their request. That personal touch is only possible because those four clients whose homes we are visiting experienced the follow thru that should follow every successful public-focused act of self-promotion.

Because it’s not how you present the work, or the rush of getting the work that matters, it’s how you actually do the work, and the value of what gets built to those who build it. If the product fits the site, meets the budget, loves the clients, and does not leak: you will get more work. If it does not, you will not have new work based on what was built – no matter what the hype.

That’s because of the dirty little unspoken buzzkill of the architectural hype industry – that, despite HOUZZ and the New York Times, 90% of the contracts we sign have come from some level of personal referral, not PR and self-promotion – new school or old school.

The article happens to have the benefit of being true. But the best part of the piece is its introduction:

“A great article written by the first Architect I worked with. I still remember my first task…building a stick model of a staircase.

Damien Busillo October 28, 2014

I grew up in Madison, Connecticut. A small, rural beach town along the coast of central Connecticut. While attending Architecture School in Savannah, I would always return home during the summers to get a jump start on the Intern Architect requirements. My first taste of this industry was working for Duo Dickinson, architect, in 1999. His insight, knowledge, love of work, and leave-your-ego at the door approach to being an Architect has stayed with me to this day.”

Forgiveness

September 30, 2018

image002

I have come to believe that those broken, I think, are like Linda Ronstadt’s great belted out “Heart Like A Wheel” – “when you bend it, you can’t mend it”. High functioning has suited my purposes pretty well these 63 years, but the gist is a misfit where others have a perspective that I just cannot.

Like innumerable Boomers, I had a “Mad Men” family. It crushed several in it. No one was undamaged, even unto death. I may be the lone simulation of registering with a day-to-day world, but I know that getting things done is not feeling completion, let alone happiness.

I think we are in a national exposition of brokenness. Two Very High Functioning (on the back end cusp) Boomers have their bent wheels on live television for hours for everyone to see. Both plead victimization, – one by the other, the other by the system he trusted to buy into and simulate wholeness.

So it was The Week of The Hearings, was followed by the Week of Day of The Hearing which will now have the week before the FBI finding: all centered around broken lives and wrecked moments. It gets a bit overwhelming in the focus. I long for a simple recognition that the pain is there, it is permanent on one level, and we, I at least, am incapable of making life happy-clappy, but I, at least, go on.

Despite having been fairly crushed by the high-functioning yet angry and acting-out alcoholism of our father, I have moved on, another child made a very circumscribed life that minimized risk, and the other, well, took her own life after years of failures at happiness.

I only “get” the impossibility of unbending the wheel of my childhood when I can fully take in the overwhelming humanity that is, finally, all I am and all of us are. No achievements make that possible, even having the Grace of our own children (which my siblings could not risk). No grade, drunken revel, sexual ecstasy, or haircut can undo the basis of everything I do: where I have been. Just like the two broken folk that are starring in the reality TV show we see before us.

But I can be a human, as such a failing human, because all humans fail. Some badly, others wrecking others in their failure, but the flooding commonality of failure can be a way to get it to a place we can deal with. Listening to some, it is only extreme, abiding punishment of the benders that is sufficient to convey the impact of the bad acts that were imposed on others.

I am sorry, but I cannot do that.

Like Jimmy Carter who said this week that he prayed for Donald Trump, I know I am no better than anyone else.

So involving no one but me I pray this passage below every week in some fashion, the prayer I said as soon as I could say anything, probably in 1959 and did for the next decade until I thought I could grade and football and college myself to get to a place that simply was far enough away from the bent wheel that I was OK. Only I could only go anywhere riding on that bent wheel.

Others’ errors had bent it. I did nothing. My siblings’ wheels were bent too: and the benders of these wheels had deformed wheels themselves. I am guessing we are all, all of us, wobbled by bent wheels – just some more than others. That is why these words, as read in 1959, still crush me now, as they did then. Because I cannot control much. I cannot make the life I simulate. But these words, 500 years old or so, were written and said and crushed an infinite number of those who heard and said them too.

They were, we are, in this together.

Fixing is not an option, but understanding is possible.

I do not presume to judge, but grokking these words can make the victim see the wheel bender better, and those whose wheel is bent unto full dysfunction can see the Grace that is not a ledger sheet of proportional punishment. I wish I could be righteously angry at those who damaged us 50, 60 years ago, but I just cannot.

I cannot understand them, ever. But I can understand this about me:

“ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.”

Calendars

September 27, 2018

 

 

 

 

In an hour a summer becomes the center of our cultural life. A TV Reality Supreme Court Hearing Show sets two talking heads in mortal telegenic contact. There will be grave, solemn, deeply important commentary saying “Let’s see…”

The summer in question was one person’s 15th, the others 17th. My 17th could not have been more different than theirs. Mine was 10 years before the one we will see exploded on national media freakout. I had no parents. I was in Buffalo. I was alone. The summer in question was in DC, with at-home, intact parenting, and scores of events, including parties, movies, birthdays, and, apparently a lot of drinking and bad acts – a full life.

My summer, I did only two things: work out to be the best I could be as captain of my football team and I took 2 courses at the University of Buffalo, I only spoke during those classes. I wore 5 pound ankle weights. I ate protein shakes and I slept. I rode my bike a couple of hundred miles a week to do those things.

I am in awe of the wild ride being described today, which at minimum was fun, friends and beach time. I guess this was normal.

Mine was odd enough, apparently, that I wrote about it a few years ago:

”“I’ll see you in August.”

My mother shut the door of our 1968 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon, yet another time, after three years of serial withdrawal.

It was June in downtown Buffalo, 1972. It was hot. I was 16. It was a couple of weeks into the summer after 11th grade. The previous fall I had been voted one of the 2 captains of my high school football team, that had, again, won our very small private school league championship.

I had played some, less as the year went on. Not being a natural athlete I had played in the fall of 1971 because I was ready, because I worked out the summer before. I also played because I focused on the thing I cared more about than anything else – being good at football.

My other focus, my best friend, was leaving, too. She was a classmate, and she summered in the Adirondacks. My coinhabitant of our house was my 21 year old brother, who worked – and never said much to me if he was around – and when around he was often remotely in the hands of mind alteration.

So I was alone, again.

In the previous spring I had discovered that the University of Buffalo had a program for rising high school seniors: if in, you could enroll in any undergraduate course. Including summer courses. Heaven. I applied, and got in.

I did odd jobs on my block for expense money, but my parents agreed to pay for any courses I could enter: remarkably inexpensive at a state school 45 years ago. I entered two 400-level, max credit courses. Both courses were 5 days a week, for 6 weeks, I wanted to do this because I was into school: grades were a thing I could do.

One course, reading and discussing about 24 Shakespeare plays, met from 7:45 to 9:15am. The other was about the history of Britain from the Magna Carta to The Bill of Rights and met one building away from 9:30 to 11. The professors were remarkable, the topics fascinating – it was a complete immersion.

But I was immersed in football too.

I was slow of foot, so I had worn 5 pound ankle weights for a year when I was not practicing or sleeping. I had no driver’s license, so I rode my bike everywhere, rain or shine or dark of night. For several years I rode to the Downtown Buffalo YMCA where other high school athletes, off duty police and interpersonally ambiguous middle aged men were. The kids and cops worked out – the others seemed to watch.

So there was my summer: mornings cycling 10 miles up Main Street to classes, then cycling to our house, changed, had a large shake of protein powder, 6 raw eggs, vanilla extract, honey and skim milk, back on the bike cycling down Main Street to hit the track and weight room for 3 hours: then back home by 5 to study, sleep at 10 and wake to do it again. Weekends were working out and studying.

Six weeks seemed like an endless sea of time. I had 24 hours a day to do what was necessary, and only what was necessary. It was bliss. Letters from my friend, living with Cromwell and Shakespeare, sore and crushing it in the gym.

I had no friends, no family, no hobbies, no social life. But I had two things to do as hard as I could do them. In rotation: Mind, Body, Mind, Body: School/Gym/School/Sleep. 24 hours a day for 46 days. I went to bed exhausted. Mind racing, thinking of the next day

I never said a word before 7:45AM or after 11AM, and I was largely silent on weekends. There was no questioning: This was Right. I could do this. My grades were good, the class discussions intense and fun. My Leg Press on the old Unversal Gym Weight Machine as completely maxed out, and my bench press was finally approaching my weight. I came to run, with the ankle weights, for an hour without distress – pushing to go faster on the 1922 banked track around the basketball court.

I could do this.

I may not have a family, I may not have straight A’s, I may not be the best player on my team – but I could get better.

I could get better.

In doing well in class, I realized I could not have history, writing or ideas as the rest of my life: I had to make things: like this summer, like my body. But I loved ideas, physical acts – and drawings. Each night, like most nights then, I went to sleep by thinking about how things were made: a chair, a box, a building.

Amid the silence, my brother’s closed bedroom door, another load of laundry, I knew I had to decide: I had to apply to college: and college was to train you for the career that was your identity. I was 16, after all.

In that clarity, I saw my books, my drawings, my thoughts in the moonlight, before I drifted off and said: “Architecture.”

I was, for a short time, a monk. There were few questions. There were some answers. Those before me on the practice field in August paid a terrible price.”

We are all humans, but we are all different. Two white, prep-school Boomers, who loved football, and school, had their 17th summer 10 years apart. I think the similarities made the differences insanely pronounced.

My summer would have made a very bad reality show.

image004

Judged

September 26, 2018

Even though the irony that a Judge is being Judged is fairly stark, it is not the freaky accusations towards a Supreme Court nominee that are scary to me, it is that I could be judged as wanting as well.

Like Judge Kavanaugh, in my young life I had been well judged: White, male, (even WASP), private-schooled, Ivy-finished, licensed profession that had perhaps 85% of my ilk constituting it when I graduated. I, and my peeps were King’o’the’World.

And I did not drink a drop of alcohol before college – it became sanctioned when I obtained legal age in 1973. Nor have I ever inhaled anything, ever. I never even tried to kiss a girl, let alone any other untoward behavior toward anyone else until I went to Cornell, either.

Upon attending freshman orientation I connected with a girl from Connecticut and we went a little crazy. Neither had done anything ever. Then we almost did everything. But still no drink. Until a year later when a place was so fraught with joy and exhilaration that booze became a fantastic gateway to expression.

There were alcohol based revels – it was the 1970’s but sounded like the tales recounted this week.

That college reverie was probably facilitated by my judgment-proof life in high school. It was not the wild DC Prep School Ride so graphically described last week. I was invited to no parties at my private high school (I am told they happened) because I did not drink. I had judged that the right thing to do was to live into the measurables. I judged myself pretty severely, and I lived into that judgment.

I had lived in high school as if there were cell phone cameras, so the judgment of grades, college acceptance, your date, was enough. I had no thought that anything meant more than those things that I could control, and thus be judged by in their accomplishment.

But the rigor of high school was clearly not enough. Something switched in college and I fully launched into a life of expression. Rather than go home alone, I helped create a place of 200 similarly young and expressive kids at Risley College at Cornell. I was completely young and filled with the hubris of inexperience. The Judgment I cared about was switched from the world to those I lived with.

The unearthing of the raw histories of many folk who are fully living the lives of measure: titles, degrees, institutions, proves that our ultimately common humanity is unavoidable. The desperate desire to measure up is universal, but the judges change.

I have come to know what I always suspected, and I think those in judging purgatory will live this week. Despite all the numbers and titles in the end the judgment within all of us, one I ascribe to God, is what unavoidably reveals the truth. But we here on earth have to deal with the here and now, not the cosmic.

Humans judge humans. We have faith in what we can control but as Judge Kavanaugh is finding out, we judge what we can control, and we do not control much. The simple truth is that the anger and fear over these uncontrollable parts of every life are in our face this week. Here, the judgments that result are critical to our culture, but are also deeply ignorant of our common humanity.

There is no defending bad behavior, cruelty, even indifference in simple human terms. Karma, The Golden Rule, Secular Humanism, Jesus all call out the self-serving judgments of rationalizing the worst in us. I hope the humans we are judging remain humans to us, not caricatures or useful tools for political ends. We are inherently profane, but we are also, to me, children of God.

I think of how I would be judged in 1975. I shake my head.

YOUNG at Home

September 23, 2018

duoonly-hometime-fbheader-1b-851x315_w

PODCAST!!! LISTEN!!! https://soundcloud.com/wpkn895/home-page-radio-young-at-home

Designers most often design for their contemporaries. When those young creatives start out, they begin with mentors and a paycheck, but they inevitably seek or encounter those who want to create something. So they start designing for those who need them, but not a lengthy resume. Since everyone owns a home, and some want that home to become THEIR home, and often find a young designer who is exploring their craft to help them do that.

So today HOME PAGE talks to those who are Young, Gifted and Designing.

First, from Colorado,  we contact Alex Gore and Lance Cayko, who met while completing their master’s degrees in architecture from North Dakota State University, won several top architecture awards in their graduating class. While they were able to find architecture careers after college, the recession hit, and both friends were soon laid off from their first jobs. They started the F9 productions in Colorado f9productions.com, a technologically astute design firm, that started in 2009. Their firm has since grown from  design and production services for other designers.

Then we call Ming Thompson, one half of  Atelier Cho Thompson (AKA ACT)  http://www.chothompson.com , a design firm based in Connecticut and San Francisco. The firm was started by Thompson and Christina Cho Yoo. Ming focuses on all scales from Furniture to logo’s and everything in between. Ming studied at Yale and Harvard, and prior to creating her own firm she worked for larger firms all around the world.

Lastly we talk to designer/writer Ben Willis who is a licensed architect who received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame, with a concentration in furniture design. In 2014, he joined Union Studio, http://unionstudioarch.com/ a 22-person architecture & community design firm in Providence, RI.  There, he has worked on modular, multifamily, and student housing projects across he country, and was part of the award-winning Side Hustle House team. Ben writes regularly for the Common Edge Collaborative.