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Six Industry Innovators Share Their Inspirations from the Lunar Landing

When the Apollo 11 came to rest in the lunar Sea of Tranquility on July 20th, 1969 and began transmitting back to Earth grainy black-and-white images of a spider-legged ship, pale figures within shiny helmets, and, a bit later, magisterial photographs of Earth itself against the black void of space, the human race’s conception of itself changed forever. The voyage inspired political realignments and countless scientific breakthroughs; it also inspired the look and feel of a number of cultural masterpieces, from Brian Eno’s 1983 ambient classic Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks to Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1971 stark sci-fi epic Solaris.

Architecture and design took that giant leap for mankind along with Neil Armstrong. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, we spoke to innovators in the industry about their own lunar inspirations.

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Perilune by Suzanne Tick for Luum Textiles. Photography courtesy of Luum Textiles.

Suzanne Tick, creative director, Luum Textiles

As a child, the textile designer Suzanne Tick watched the landing from her home in Bloomington, Illinois. “What was riveting to me was the sound of someone on the moon and his buoyancy,” Tick says. “I had this realization that a person can be on the moon while I’m sitting at home and he could also be floating!” Since then, the moon has been an important force in her life. “I’ve lived by the MoMA Moon Charts and they have played a large part in my consciousness. A poignant time in my life was 2009, 2010, and 2011 which coincided with the last three years of my father’s life, my marriage, and my son living with me. For this reason, I wove a triptych of each of these years and sewed them together as a reminder of that shift in my life.” This design became Perilune, a printed polyurethane which was introduced through Luum.

Long Dock Park in Beacon, New York by Gary R. Hilderbrand. Photography by James Ewing.

Gary R. Hilderbrand, FASLA FAAR; principal, Reed Hilderbrand; Peter Louis Hornbeck Professor in Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Design

“Because my Aunt and grandmother had a large color TV, anything momentous like this we watched in their living room,” says Gary Hilderbrand. “All gathered ‘round for the moon landing. It’s singed on my brain.” The landscape architect would go on to transform a brownfield in Beacon, New York, into a waterfront parkland with site-specific work by artist George Trakas and two buildings by ARO. “Apollo amplified my instincts about knowing our place in the world and a sense that we somehow had technological knowledge to improve it,” he says. “Seeing these missions orbiting around the other side of the moon, and then exploring its surface, gave me hope that we could right our own environmental mess and craft a smarter, saner landscape. That way of seeing the Earth descended directly from the Apollo 8 ‘earthrise’ photograph. Who would not be affected by that image?!”

SiriusXM’s New York Headquarters and Broadcast Center by Michael Kostow. Photography by Adrian Wilson.

Michael Kostow, founding principal, Kostow Greenwood Architects

Satellite radio wouldn’t exist without the technological breakthroughs of the Apollo mission, so it made perfect sense to have a space fan design the headquarters for one of its largest players, SiriusXM. “I watched the moon landing as a youngster and even had early aspirations of becoming an astronaut,” says Michael Kostow. “I later wanted to design space vehicles for NASA, would build and fly multi-stage model rockets, and even as an architecture graduate student had an early morning ‘party’ to drink Tang and watch the first launch of the space station with my classmates.” The compact efficiency of the capsules influenced his plan for the satellite broadcasting company: “We wanted to invoke simplicity and timelessness,” he says, “and allow the empty space to be an active player in setting the mood.” Mission accomplished.

Aerial and Half-Moon by Kelly Harris Smith for Skyline Design. Photography courtesy of Skyline Design.

Kelly Harris Smith, designer and creative director, Kelly Harris Smith

“I’ve never been on a rocket ship,” says designer Kelly Harris Smith, “but I have flown on an airplane and to this day I always request a window seat so I can peek out over the landscape.” The designer was born after the moon landing but carries the legacy of an aerial point of view into a collection for Chicago’s Skyline Design of glass panels with systems of micro-patterns within shapes and gradations of color over larger repeats. “It’s rooted in looking at the familiar in a new way,” she says, “which I have to imagine is what all astronauts experience looking back at Earth.”

Draper, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photography by Mark Flannery.

Elizabeth Lowrey, principal, Elkus Manfredi Architects

“Watching the moon landing, even at such a young age, I was awed by the realization that anything is possible,” says Elizabeth Lowrey—even growing up to design a new home for Draper, a not-for-profit engineering firm that created software for Apollo 11. “I remember, as we stepped into Draper’s lobby, the first thing we saw was a space shuttle model.  Even more thrilling was the opportunity to meet Margaret Hamilton, the pioneering software engineer who had made the moon landing possible!” A glass and steel structure forms the roof of the Draper atrium, which is rung with seven floors of offices and laboratories connected by blue glass vertical and horizontal stairways, green walls, and “the Cloud,” a polished steel polyhedron that is truly out of this world.

On the Water/Palisade Bay, New York City. Photography courtesy of ARO.

Adam Yarinsky, FAIA LEED AP, principal, Architecture Research Office

“I was seven, I remember watching the feed of the moonwalk,” says ARO co-founder Adam Yarinksy. “And if you were a kid that was into building models, you had the plastic model kit that was black and white with USA in red on the side. I built a model of the Saturn V and the lunar and command and service modules. The purposefulness of the vehicle had a kind of directness when you compare it to technology today. The control panels were just rows and rows of switches that all looked the same. There was a kind of Dieter Rams quality to it.” But it was politics, not aesthetics, that really inspired Yarinsky’s work with ARO, including this vision of the upper harbor of New York and New Jersey which proposes archipelago and wetlands to mitigate rising sea levels and storm surges. “The finite nature of the planet we’re on reinforces the notion that architecture is part of this web of relationships,” he says. “The best architecture tries to modify and transform, but it’s not an autonomous thing. It’s linked. That sense of connection is the legacy.”

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How A Unique Approach to Cash Flow Has Helped This Architect Construct Her Business

How A Unique Approach to Cash Flow Has Helped This Architect Construct Her Business
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Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc. is an architecture and interior design firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that primarily services the greater Boston and Miami areas. The business focuses on renovations including offices, restaurants, retail stores, senior living facilities, private homes, universities, churches, and synagogues, among many other building types. Founder Leslie Saul says that having such a broad practice has helped her maintain a business for more than 26 years. Additionally, her attention to quality and value have brought back return customers and helped retain long-term employees.  

Why did you start your business?

I went to Rhode Island School of Design. When I applied, I wanted to be a painter. I took a gap year and realized that I’m a people person. I got my degree in architecture. Even when I was in school, I was really focused on interiors, partly because of my painting background.

I worked my way up in the architecture business, working for various firms. I talked to a friend from a big firm who mentioned a model shop they didn’t really use. He mentioned that maybe I should start my own firm. Once I had that space, I asked my previous firm to buy me out. I wanted my firm to be family-friendly, with flextime and things like that. Those things are very common now, but at the time, I had a four-year-old and I felt limited by not having them, even though I was a principal at my old firm.

How did you fund the business at the start?

I used my savings. And, in 1992, American Express gave me credit even though I had no income. My husband worked, so we had one income, but we gave up everything, from newspapers to dinners out. Within six months of starting, we were cash flow neutral.

How do you manage cash flow?

We ask for retainers from our clients. It needs to be enough money to show a seriousness of purpose, even though it might not necessarily cover the costs for the first month. When we get inquiries, we sometimes do some initial low-cost services that get clients comfortable working with us

To help with cash flow, I don’t take a big salary to keep a lot of cash in the business. I’ve never missed a paycheck over 26 years, except for my own. I’ve learned that people will stick with you if you stick with them. If you lay people off at the start of a slow down, you may not be able to hire people when you need them. Though that may negatively impact cash flow, we have the benefit of keeping our team together and being able to produce very quickly when new clients bring us on board.

What’s the most challenging thing about running the company?

Continuing to grow the quality of projects and clients. I’ve never focused on quantity. When I worked for larger firms that do focus on quantity, it felt like I was just keeping the underlings motivated versus getting my own satisfaction from any of the work.

What’s the most rewarding thing about running the company?

Seeing the successes and development of the people who have worked for us over the years. Not only the long-timers, but also the people who move away and call me and say, “I always say to myself, what would Leslie do?” That’s very rewarding and I feel very proud of them!

There’s no better gratification than seeing a finished product and knowing how you’ve fulfilled a client’s needs and wants and overcome their challenges. Just this morning, we were talking to an old client who said, “I’m not sure if I ever told you how much we love this and how perfect everything you did was!”

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What’s the biggest mistake you made when starting out?

We’ve made some economic mistakes like setting a fee too low or not really understanding the scope before starting a project. I was and probably still am easily bullied when it comes to money, especially when it comes to doing work for larger firms.

What’s the smartest thing you did when starting out?

I asked a friend to help me and he said I needed a good phone number. It was so memorable! People still say they call that number when they try to reach us, even though we moved 19 years ago!

Also, I hired people who filled my weaknesses. I think a lot of entrepreneurs hire themselves, especially in my industry. The smartest thing you can do is to be honest with yourself about what your weaknesses are and hire people that are good at those things. Together, you’re better than anyone individually.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

You will do great! Always believe in yourself! Always do the right thing. Always stay true to your values and remember your reputation can’t be rebuilt.

What’s next for Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc.

I’ll be turning 65 and I want to keep this going. I really enjoy what I do. I like the idea that design services should not just be the exclusive benefit of wealthy people. I feel like there are others who have needs that we can help meet. So, I feel like I haven’t finished and there’s a lot in our future.  

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Ashley Sweren

Ashley Sweren

Ashley Sweren is a freelance marketing writer and editor. She owns her own small business, Firework Writing (http://www.fireworkwritingonline.com/), located in San Jose, California.

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Continue reading How A Unique Approach to Cash Flow Has Helped This Architect Construct Her Business

New England Patriots Star Rob Gronkowski’s Massachusetts Home Was Burglarized the Day After the Superbowl

Rob Gronkowski returned home to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to some devastating news, and it had nothing to do with football. The New England Patriots star’s home was burglarized Monday, just one day after he and his teammates lost Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles. According to Foxborough Police Chief William Baker, officers received a call to Gronkowski’s home at 6:18 p.m. Monday. “Whether you’re Rob Gronkowski or Bill Baker, being the victim of a residential property crime like that is unpleasant,” he said during a press conference Tuesday. “So out of respect for Mr. Gronkowski’s privacy and because this is an active and dynamic criminal investigation, we’re not going to be releasing any information right now about what was stolen or whether any suspects exist.”

Gronkowski’s home, located in the town of Foxborough which is about 22 miles outside of Boston, is comprised of five bedrooms, and in the words of a 2015 Sports Illustrated profileon the athlete, is “bigger than a McMansion, smaller than an actual mansion.” Perhaps the most intriguing part of the home isn’t even the home itself, but the “Sinners’s Bus” that the athlete sometimes has parked in his driveway: a white party bus that comfortably seats eight that he bought from a church in Long Island. The football player previously lived in a Tampa Bay mansion with custom fish tanks, but sold it for $2.4 million before moving to Massachusetts. At the time of the Sports Illustrated profile, Gronk was living with a roommate—a friend named “Goon” who also served as his chauffeur, contractor, and bodyguard—in the five-bedroom home.

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These Are the Most Fabulously Unexpected Hotel Amenities

As avid travelers, we come to expect certain amenities in every hotel: coffee and water readily available in the lobby, turndown service nightly, complimentary bath products. So when a hotel goes above and beyond the normal provisions, we take notice. Here are eight hotels that are changing the hospitality game.

Photo: Courtesy of Hamilton Princess & Beach Club

Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Bermuda

Decoding the key to transit on an island that forbids car rentals is not the way to start off a relaxing trip. The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club eases the pain by providing their guests with electric Renault Twizy vehicles. thehamiltonprincess.com

Photo: Stevie Mann / Courtesy of &Beyond

&Beyond Bateleur Camp, Kenya

Getting up to work out while home is hard enough; having to roll out of bed on vacation and head to the hotel gym is even harder. &Beyond Bateleur Camp makes it easy for their guests to squeeze in a workout by providing a “gym-in-a-basket” in each guestroom. andbeyond.com

Photo: Courtesy of Nantucket Island Resorts

Nantucket Island Resorts, Massachusetts

It’s always the little things forgotten when we travel: a toothbrush, face cream, or, worst of all, headphones. Nantucket Island Resorts knows the packing struggle is all too real, which is why they teamed up with Bowers & Wilkins to offer guests headphones and speakers to borrow during their stay. nantucketislandresorts.com

 
Photo: Courtesy of Claridge’s

Claridge’s, London

Forget your pajamas? Claridge’s Hotel has you covered. Suite guests are treated to complimentary silk pajamas designed by Olivia von Halle, featuring a black-and-white striped design inspired by the hotel’s lobby. Every night you slip into this decadent sleepwear helps ensure a lasting memory of your stay. claridges.co.uk

Photo: Courtesy of Muse St. Tropez

Muse St. Tropez

Feeling the burn? Summon one of the Muse’s sunscreen butlers to lend a hand in protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. You’ll never have those random spots of sunburn again. muse-hotels.com

Photo: Courtesy of Nayara Springs

Nayara Springs, Costa Rica

Missing your pets while away on vacation? Nayara Springs has an up-close-and-personal on-site sloth sanctuary on the grounds to hold you over until you get back home to your furry friends. nayarasprings.com

Photo: Courtesy of Planters Inn

Planters Inn, Charleston, South Carolina

A weary traveler’s late-night sweet tooth may not be satisfied by the typical square of chocolate left on the pillow with turndown service. Planters Inn in Charleston shows off one of the town’s specialties by leaving macarons on the bedside. plantersinn.com

Photo: Courtesy of The Berkeley

The Berkeley, London

The Berkeley knows that all good music sounds better on vinyl, especially British artists like The Beatles and Pink Floyd. That’s why they provide all their suite guests with a record player and a curated selection of vinyl by Britain’s finest. the-berkeley.co.uk

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The 9 Most Stunning Islands Off U.S. Shores

There’s no denying the allure of Santorini and Sardinia, but we’ve got plenty of idyllic islands to explore in our own backyard. From upscale enclaves favored by presidents and celebrities to low-key nature preserves teeming with wildlife, the best islands off U.S. shores are perfect for a summer getaway—no passport required.

Photo: Patrick O’Brien / Courtesy of Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Charleston is consistently ranked among the best cites in the U.S., so it should come as no surprise that Kiawah Island—where Charlestonians go in the summer—is one of the country’s most gorgeous islands. With ten miles of pristine beaches, legendary golf courses at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, and nature trails among the marshes, it’s the perfect place for a family vacation or romantic getaway.

Photo: Courtesy of Sunset Beach

Shelter Island, New York

When New Yorkers need to escape the concrete jungle, this island between the Hamptons and Long Island’s North Fork is one of the places they go. Buzzing with visitors in summer, it’s a blissfully unpretentious alternative to the Hamptons with plenty of rural charm. Find a dash of New York sophistication at Sunset Beach, a twenty-room hotel by André Balazs.

Photo: Dennis Frates / Alamy Stock Photo

Lanai, Hawaii

Pristine beaches, winding roads clinging to cliffs over the Pacific, volcanoes, and lush tropical landscapes—Hawaii’s islands draw vacationers from all over the U.S. As one of the smaller, more under-the-radar isles, Lanai boasts blissfully crowd-free beaches, dramatic cliffs, and luxe accommodations like the recently renovated Four Seasons Lanai.

 
Photo: Getty Images

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Georgia’s largest barrier island is an 18-mile stretch of undeveloped beaches and marshes teeming with wildlife, including shrimp, sea turtles, and alligators, not to mention the horses that roam the land. Protected by the National Park Service, the island’s natural beauty has been preserved. Pitch a tent or book a room at the comfortable Greyfield Inn.

Photo: Getty Images

Mackinac Island, Michigan

We wouldn’t blame you for mistaking Mackinac Island for the Caribbean—the water is the same vibrant shade of turquoise. This car-free stretch of land in Lake Huron feels like a blast from the past thanks to enchanting properties like Mission Point and the Grand Hotel, which have been welcoming guests for over a hundred years.

Photo: Getty Images

Gasparilla Island, Florida

The Florida Keys may be more famous, but that just means this barrier island off the Gulf Coast remains a secret hideaway for insiders. It’s been a low-key luxury vacation spot since J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts started visiting in the pre-Prohibition days. Check into the Gasparilla Inn for a taste of that Jazz Age life.

 
Photo: Getty Images

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

This idyllic New England enclave is the preferred vacation spot of preppy Bostonians and of presidential families including the Kennedys, the Clintons, and the Obamas. You’ll find plenty of historic charm, scenic lighthouses, beautiful beaches, and yachts. Rent a house like the locals do or stay at the funky new Summercamp by Lark Hotels.

Photo: Getty Images

Mount Desert Island, Maine

Thick pine forests, waves crashing against rocky cliffs, sandy beaches—this little island off the shores of Bar Harbor is the stuff summer-camp dreams are made of. Stay at the quaint Asticou Inn and spend your days hiking and swimming in Acadia National Park, whose carriage paths were commissioned by John D. Rockefeller.

Photo: Charity Burggraaf / Courtesy of the Willows Inn

Lummi Island, Washington

This little island in the Salish Sea off the coast of Washington state has become a pilgrimage site for foodies thanks to award-winning chef Blaine Wetzel’s must-try Pacific Northwest cuisine at the Willows Inn. Spend your days spotting orca whales and exploring the forests and coastline where Wetzel forages for ingredients that appear on your plate.

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