Business View Magazine - March 2016

8 Business View Magazine - April 2016 Business View Magazine - April 2016 9 Opening Lines Architecture Design Collaborative Creates Real-Time Design Architecture Design Collaborative (ADC) is a multi- disciplinary architectural and interior design firm that specializes in commercial, retail, and residential projects, and serves companies nationwide. Col- lectively the team brings a wide-range of expertise across many design related disciplines including architecture, interior design, workspace strategy, master and urban planning, and brand strategy. Recently, Craig Chinn, AIA, principal and founding partner of ADC, perfected what he calls the “Mobile Design Studio” after enduring many redeye flights to meet with retail clients in New York. There, on a storefront project near Times Square for the men’s and women’s accessory company, Fossil, Craig saw how being on-site for the entire design and con- struction phase could drastically increase the effi- ciency and efficacy of the process. Shaun Garrett, Business Developer for the Costa Mesa, California firm picks up the narration: “We stayed in NYC for the first phase of the process, hauling the equipment with us. While designing on- site, we experienced collaboration on a new level, attributable to the frequent in-person interactions. Being side-by-side fostered casual discussions with the client and allowed Craig to immediately inte- grate feedback, creating a greater sense of shared ownership. It also streamlined the decision-making process because all stakeholders were present. “Inspired by this positive experience, we began ex- perimenting with ways to set up a mobile office. Craig remembers flying out to Texas and being there for weeks at a time to work on other projects for Fossil. We brought our Mobile Design Studio there, and we came up with three design concepts for 30 stores in a period of about seven months. “When Craig was ready to start his own firm, in 2013, I joined him after being at KTGY, the interna- tional full-service architecture and planning firm, for ten years. We knew we wanted to make the con- cept of the Mobile Design Studio, as we now call it, central to our business. Doing so has paid off. We attribute much of our success to the speed that be- ing mobile has afforded us. In fact, we cite speed as the biggest differentiator. We don’t need to work for weeks—we can get the feedback we need in hours and days and the cost of putting together a Mobile Design Studio pays for itself after the first trip. “The typical setup of a Mobile Design Studio will often include items like survey equipment, a moni- tor, a printer/scanner combination, and two Wi- Fi hotspots (in case one isn’t working). Each kit is packed in a ‘dun case’ that is fiberglass with foam inside, and we usually ship two cases per project.” Being mobile gives younger firms a competitive edge and allows them to work across the entire country. “We are doing more work than older established firms because we are able to do it quickly,” says Gar- rett. “Embracing technologies and new processes is a unique selling proposition when competing with older design firms that often take a lot of time and end up being more expensive. This is a new way of working that young firms can adopt in order to gain an edge. It’s a way to compete with less overhead or staff. You just need a talented group to go to job sites.” Garrett continues: “A day in the life of the mobile ADC team goes something like this: morning pre- sentation to client; break to incorporate feedback; lunch presentation; break to rework designs; eve- ning presentation; and then work late to finish de- signs for the next morning’s presentation. We often use mini-projectors to show designs to clients in- stead of printouts, partly to control how clients re- ceive the designs. If a client is put off by something as minor as the color of a wall, the designer can make the change immediately. “Being on-site eliminates many pain points com- mon when working with clients at a distance. Often there are discrepancies when you go back to your office, but this way, you can finish things on-site and make corrections as you go—it’s a way to double- check and triple-check what you are doing out there. We also encourage clients to be candid and not hold back any thoughts on the design. The in-person pro- cess allows them to experiment in real-time with new, innovative ideas and then we are able to gauge a client’s response before moving forward. “There is so much value in getting the design right early in a project, as well as getting details and con- struction documents right, having a clear design up front, and getting answers to as many questions at possible, so we don’t waste a client’s time and money by going down the wrong path. We believe that the concept of the Mobil Design Studio is tak- ing Architectural Design to a whole new level.” Streamlining the design process with on-site studios