An exceptional portfolio is key to business, allowing you to pique the interest of prospective clients or submit work to a publication for consideration. For some disciplines, this practice is straightforward: Fine artists, for instance, can typically digitize and circulate their images for portfolios with ease, as they often own the rights to their work. But interior designers and architects, who work on commissions, usually need to get their client’s approval to share images of those projects. That’s not always the easiest thing to do, especially if the project is a private residence.
Sometimes—in fact, oftentimes—you’ll end up working with clients who refuse to have their space photographed because they want to maintain their privacy. In those cases, it’s essential to arm yourself with some techniques to handle such situations, since, as New York–based designer and illustrator Jason Grimesnotes, “You’re only as good as a photograph of your last project, especially at the Instagram-sharing pace the world has adopted.”
Here are several strategies to keep in mind when trying to convince clients to have their space photographed.
Put photography in your contract from the start.
The best way to work around a no-photography situation is to avoid it completely. Lawyer Alex Ross, a partner at Ross & Katz, PLLC,who works closely with designers, highly recommends including a clause about photographing a space—both before and after the project—in your standard contract. “This way we’re able to manage expectations from the beginning, so the client knows that photography is important,” he says. Work closely with an attorney to hammer out the details—you want to be sure you’re getting the rights you need.
Negotiate. Suggest stricter terms, such as ensuring anonymity, or offer a first right of refusal.
Even if you have a clause about photography in your contract, the client may strike it out before signing. That’s the time for negotiation. If your original wording didn’t mention anonymity, it’s a great place to start. Offer your client complete privacy, ensuring that no identifying details about the home or its owners will be shared with publications, on your website, or on social channels. Work on finding a middle ground with your client that still allows you to add photographs of your project to your portfolio.
It sounds obvious, but sometimes long discussions can change your client’s mind. Again, having a lawyer in this situation would be advantageous, as he or she could help negotiate specific rights.
Ask to photograph details only.
Say that your client is standing his or her ground during negotiations. The next tactic to try is to give in, just a tiny bit. “Aside from slowly convincing the client over the course of the project, the best solution I’ve found is to focus on the details,” says Grimes. “All of my work is super-detailed and hyper-custom, so detail photos go a long way. These cropped photos may not make a publication, but they can at least be used in my portfolio.”
Go to court.
Or at least threaten to. “I haven’t any seen any designers who actually go to court about this issue, but we’ve certainly threatened it,” says Ross. Going to court is probably more expensive than it’s worth (and will also cost you a client relationship), so it’s not always advisable to do so, but the option is there.
Work with brokers if the property goes up for sale.
If you’ve lost out on negotiations and the client simply won’t budge—and you decide not to take the matter to court—it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If the client decides to sell the home, there’s a chance the space will be photographed to woo prospective buyers. In some instances, you can negotiate a deal with the broker to retroactively add those images to your portfolio.
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Brighten the outlook of building occupants and reduce lighting costs by bringing natural light inside.
By Jody Andres, AIA, LEED AP From the April 2019 Issue
In today’s climate of sustainable design, it’s rare that a newly constructed facility or one being renovated does not include some level of eco-friendly features. Overlooked in the past, daylighting is one of those features and is no longer an afterthought. It could be argued that how to best use natural light should be a primary consideration in the design of any new facility. But why is it so important?
The Physiological Perspective. The bottom line—daylight is good for us. Research has demonstrated the positive effects of exposure to natural light. Daylight has been shown to combat the effects of depression. It can help improve a person’s mood and maintain a calmer disposition. In addition, exposure to daylight is one of the primary ways we can get and maintain healthy vitamin D levels in our bodies.
When we incorporate windows and natural light into facilities, we’re helping fulfill a basic desire for a connection to light and nature. The biophilia hypothesis—introduced by Edward O. Wilson in his book, Biophilia—proposes that humans have a desire to seek out connections with nature and other forms of life. Biophilic design and planning increases access to nature, light, and biodiversity to reduce stress, promote healing, foster creativity, and improve cognitive function.
The Productivity Perspective. In the workplace, daylighting is a critical design element for employers and their facility planners to consider. Not only does daylighting and controlling artificial lights in the workplace save money, but it’s been proven to help create a more comfortable work environment and make employees more productive.
“Daylight and Productivity—A Field Study,” a study conducted by Mariana G. Figuerio, Mark S. Rea, and Anne C. Rea of the Lighting Research Center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Richard G. Stevens from the University of Connecticut Health Center, Department of Community Medicine, explored the occupancy rates, amount of time subjects spent on work-related tasks, and electric lighting operation in daylit and interior offices. They found that people located in windowed offices spent considerably more time (15%) on work-related tasks compared to employees in interior offices. These results matched their hypothesis that people who work in interior spaces would spend less time in their offices and be less productive than people working in windowed spaces.
When it comes to educational facilities, consider the results of the Heschong Mahone Daylighting Study (conducted by Heschong Mahone Group), which involved more than 21,000 students. Study results presented a significant correlation between learning spaces with natural light and student performance, finding that both reading and math scores improved for students in spaces with abundant daylight. Additionally, there was a 20% faster progression in math and a 26% faster progression in reading.
Meanwhile, school administrators are continually seeking the means to retain the best faculty and staff. Abundant daylight in well-designed work environment is sure to be looked at favorably by current and potential employees.
The Economic Perspective. While there are a bevy of health and production-related reasons to incorporate daylighting, we shouldn’t lose sight of the financial benefits. More natural light means a decreased need for artificial light. This trade-off reduces a building’s power consumption. Additionally, latent (passive solar) heat in the winter decreases the demand on heating systems.
EXAMINING DAYLIGHTING STRATEGIES
Whether in a school, office, or senior care facility, natural light can benefit building occupants by providing a healthier, more interesting, and dynamic environment in which to learn, work, or live. So, what are some of the best strategies to utilize when incorporating daylighting?
In the case of new construction, orientation of the building is critical. Siting the building on an east-west axis, with south- and north-facing windows is a key design strategy. And with technological advances, windows can be altered to control how much daylight will enter the space. When planning areas that will contain display equipment, such as high-definition televisions and whiteboards, the design team should take special care with window placement to control lighting levels and to prevent glare or blinding conditions in the space.
Daylighting and control options that are becoming standard design elements include sun control and shading devices, light shelves, clerestory windows, tubular daylight devices, and translucent skylight systems. In the case of a renovation, the use of natural light can be further enhanced by using window films to contain glare. While timers and motion sensors designed to reduce light levels are not new, the next wave of sensors actually measures daylight levels in a room (or portion of a room) and adjusts accordingly.
Although at first mention it seems counterintuitive, artificial lighting can contribute to a good daylighting strategy. A popular design element is the installation of direct-indirect lighting fixtures. With these, more than half of the light generated can be directed upward, reflecting off of the ceiling and other surfaces. This results in reduced glare, a more uniform ambient light level with fewer “hot” spots, the need for fewer artificial lights, and decreased energy use and costs.
MODELING AND ASSESSMENTS
Energy modeling and computer generated building models can be extremely helpful evaluation tools when determining daylighting strategies. Using these, facility owners and maintenance staff will not only be able to observe how natural light and views will exist in their building, but they’ll get an understanding of how much energy—namely in lighting and cooling—can be saved. Whether new construction or renovation, modeling should be incorporated to inform the design effort and guide decision-making. As early as possible, the project team should evaluate the most appropriate ways to bring daylight and views into a facility and how these will be integrated with artificial lighting and controls. As more design and product options are entered into modeling software, facility planners are able to make informed design decisions.
Another critical element to consider when pursuing daylighting is assessing lighting quality and levels compared to the visual tasks being performed. Not to be overlooked is controlling glare in environments awash in daylight. Building occupants will close blinds and shades if they decide too much daylight is obstructing their view. This not only removes views to the outside, but may also necessitate use of artificial lights.
When using natural light to help achieve lighting levels, the selection of window glass (based on the orientation of each window) is vital. While spaces that are over lit waste energy and money, occupant productivity may be negatively impacted by inadequate or poor quality lighting. As a guide for determining a good lighting level for most offices or educational spaces, daylight balanced with an average of 40 to 50 foot-candles of artificial light capability is ideal. (A common unit of measurement in the lighting industry, foot-candle is roughly defined as the amount of light that actually falls on a specific surface.)
The benefits of daylighting are numerous and should be enjoyed. When planning your next project, discuss potential strategies with your design team to create an environment where occupants can thrive.
Andres is a senior project architect and the K-12 market leader at Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc. in Appleton, WI. He is a LEED AP, past President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Wisconsin, and the regional representative to the AIA Strategic Council.
Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or send an e-mail to the Editor at email@example.com.
Best Practices For Automated Shading SystemsThe right balance of daylighting and daylight harvesting strategies can provide health, productivity, and energy saving benefits: Here’s how to get the most out of your facility’s automated shading system.
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McDonough grew up in Tokyo after World War II, so the globetrotting lifestyle comes second-nature to him. He’s as agile at strategizing ways to reuse consumer and industrial waste as he is when discussing ancient philosophy. After his latest trip to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland—where he designed the ICEhouse, short for Innovation for the Circular Economy—he paused to remind us how designers can save the planet.
Interior Design: The ICEhouse has become the cool hangout for the Davos cognoscenti.
William McDonough: It’s been a quiet place to meet outside the conference center, without badges—a small pavilion full of emptiness. Someone who didn’t know my personal background said it must have been designed by someone who was born in a Japanese paper house. And that is true.
The walls are only 1 inch thick, but they are fitted with Aerogel translucent R-15 nanotechnology insulation. Really space-age. You think you’re going to freeze, and actually you’re warm. The light is perfect, too. It’s slightly magical—and also a way for people to physically be inside the circular economy.
ID: What is the circular economy?
WM: Instead of simply taking, making, and discarding, we can remake things— and start designing for that. The ICEhouse is constructed from a few simple materials, with nylon carpet from my C2C collection for Shaw Industries. Everything can be reused or recycled, ad infinitum.
ID: How have people reacted to the ICEhouse?
WM: Two CEOs told me that the best meeting of their life occurred there. When they had an idea, it became light, beauty, perfection.
ID: What sort of ideas?
WM: SABIC announced a plan to take back plastic trash from “bottom of barrel,” all the stuff you can’t normally recycle. It’s going to upcycle it using pyrolysis, or non-oxygen combustion, at a specially designed plant. Essentially, the process leaves behind a sludge that contains all the inks, glues, and other contaminants that can’t be recycled while pulling out the hydrocarbon. We get back the oil that makes recyclable plastics and stop putting fugitive carbon into the world.
ID: What’s fugitive carbon?
WM: Carbon is innocent. Carbon is a tool in the hands of humans. The user gives it a value, positive or negative. Fugitive carbon is released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, deforestation, food scraps in landfills, and so on. Carbon can be toxic. But there’s “living” carbon, which is organic, flowing in biological cycles, providing fresh food, healthy forests, and fertile soil. That’s also different from “durable” carbon, which is locked in stable solids such as coal and limestone or recyclable polymers that can be reused.
It’s important, at this moment of the fourth industrial revolution, to learn a new language. Being less bad is not being good. We have to be more good. That’s what we have to tell children.
ID: How many kids do you have?
WM: Two. And I consider myself an honorary child. The world needs adults operating under child supervision. Children think Cradle to Cradle is obvious.
ID: What’s on the C2C horizon?
WM: International Flavors & Fragrances has launched a C2C scent—and such companies don’t typically give out a formulation to review against C2C standards. Also, new C2C plastics are coming out. We even have C2C-certified T-shirts. Every single molecule of those shirts has been designed for human health, made by people who are properly rewarded, using 100 percent renewable energy and water that is so clean that they reuse it. So we can do this. We can live like this.
ID: Do you have time for architecture these days?
WM: We always like to have a house in progress—we’re finishing an exquisite one in Santa Cruz, California. In Luxembourg, we’ve been commissioned to design a hotel based on principles of the circular economy. With various clients around the world, we’re working on solar arrays that also help grow food. Our solutions don’t do only one thing at a time. We can do solar plus food plus water. Plus, plus, plus.
ID: What was your first product conceived as Cradle to Cradle?
WM: It was Eco Intelligent polyester for Victor Innovatex, almost 20 years ago, when I was first thinking about indoor air quality. We surround ourselves with things that we breathe, see, and touch. Why shouldn’t they be healthy and beautiful? When you’re working with a matter of principle like this, you just keep going. Sure, it’s tough, but it’s great work, so get on with it.
Whether you are a football fan or not, you probably know that Super Bowl LII is scheduled to happen Feb. 4 at the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Beyond excitement for the game itself, there’s a lot of buzz about the stadium itself, which can seat up to 70,000 fans.
2017 was a busy year for the design industry. Here’s a look back at ten stories that inspired and challenged us.
First Phase of Second Avenue Subway Completed
Progress on the eagerly anticipated Second Avenue subway line in New York City moved forward, with new stations opening to the public on January 1. When completed, the line will run a total of 8.3 miles and transport over 200,000 daily commuters.
Women Made Gains in Architecture, But Diversity Remains an Issue
The architecture industry has gotten a bad rap for its lack of diversity in the field, but some small gains were made this year. Legendary architect and educator Denise Scott Brown was awarded the Jane Drew Prize for women in architecture, and Carme Pigem of RCR Arquitectes was awarded the Pritzker Prize, along with her male partners. She is the third woman to ever receive the prestigious award.
This Year’s Design Trends Were Bold, Brilliant, and Bizarre
The muted palettes and rigid geometric forms of minimalism saw a backlash from new and established designers looking for something to break up the monotony. Iridescent coloring, unconventional forms, and frenetic maximalist arrangements made a breakthrough this year.
Oslo Airport’s Expansion Sets the Bar High for Sustainable Design
Nordic Office of Architecture’s Oslo airport expansion is the greenest terminal in the world, receiving the BREEAM excellence in sustainability rating. The Scandinavian airport reaches Passive House standards of energy consumption through clever building orientation, environmentally friendly materials, and biophilic design.
Louvre Abu Dhabi Opens to the Public
Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in November to wonder and applause from the design community and the general public. The museum boasts impressive numbers, including 55 individual buildings and 23 galleries, all covered by a dome comprised of 7,850 lattice work stars and measuring 590 feet wide.
Neave Brown Receives Royal Gold Medal
Modernist architect Neave Brown designed some of London’s landmark social-housing complexes, including the Alexandra Road Estate and the Dunboyne Estate. He is the only living architect to have all of his work listed.
Biophilic Design Continues to Bloom
Biophilic design gained more ground this year, with several hotel and apartment lobbies featuring lush green walls, and exciting new designs, like BIG’s San Pellegrino flagship factory or SOM’s India Basin, making biophilic design more and more popular. This year also introduced the Living Future Institute’s first annual Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award, awarding the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore with the inaugural first place prize.
Architects Call for Change After Grenfell Tower Tragedy
As it became clear that subpar external cladding caused the tragic Grenfell Tower fire earlier this year, architects around the globe responded by demanding better practices and code for high-rise buildings going forward. RIBA demanded an end to combustible cladding, and incensed industry professionals suggested the U.K. government’s long history of cost-cutting policies directly lead to the disrepair and ultimate destruction of Grenfell.
Tech Giants Embrace Bold Architecture
Tech giants Apple and Google publicly revealed their plans for bold, new headquarters in Cupertino and London, respectively. With big names like Norman Foster (Apple) and Heatherwick Studio and BIG (Google) spearheading these projects, each building pushes the boundaries of what is feasible for workplace design.
President Trump’s Border Wall Stirs Controversy in Design Field
When President Trump made his plans for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border known, architects were divided over the ethical ramifications of bidding for the project. Many designers felt that the wall reflected xenophobic values and stood against the architect’s professional code, while others saw no moral reason to not bid for the project.
There’s always been something fantastical about imagining the cities of the future. As a society, we’ve curiously studied utopias and dystopias, drawing similarities between our own world and theirs. We watch science-fiction films that conceptualize flying cars, teleportation machines and floating green parks. Some of us even fantasize about cities above the clouds.