DZINE + Lissoni Event Part 1: “Medici by the Bay: A New Renaissance for Clients and Architects”
“Be Brave.” That was a prophetic quote by Stefano Giussani, CEO of Lissoni Inc. as a panelist at DZINE’s two architectural events on Friday, September 21.
With a luncheon panel hosted by our own Austin Forbord featuring NY-based Giussani, as well as Bay Area architects and developers Jonathan Feldman, Matthew Mosey, Irit Axelrod and Greg Malin, the group discussed the opportunities and challenges of working in San Francisco – a naturally beautiful, but not yet world-class design city.
Something the group could all agree on is that while the Bay Area is cutting-edge in many ways, architectural design has not caught up.
This sentiment was shared by Irit Axelrod who talked about needing projects to be edgier and not so “pleasant.” She maintains an office in Tel Aviv for just this reason – there, she finds more clients ready to push the envelope. Axelrod sees the potential to strike a balance between Victorian preservation and modernism as a “great opportunity.”
“In Italy, creativity is problem-solving in environments with constraints,” Guissani shared. “It’s about continually learning and focusing on quality design, versus just focusing on the wow factor and keeping up with the Fancy Joneses.”
The upside of affluence in the Bay Area is that it is allowing architects to have their “pinch me” moments, as Jonathan Feldman coined it. Those moments when firms win great projects, with clients who are open-minded and eager to try something new and exciting, with emphasis on quality and even sustainability at the core; a topic also very important to Greg Malin from Troon Pacific.
Wrapping up the session, Matthew Mosey put a positive bow on it with the statement, “It’s a great time to be an architect in San Francisco.” To him, there may be projects that don’t get built – like a recent tree house project his firm designed – but “everyone got excited about it” which is part of the motivation and allure.