Creativity

Exhibit of recent paintings

Last week Stephen Frey had a number of acrylic and watercolor paintings on display at Montpelier’s Center for Arts and Learning group show. Located on Barre Street in downtown Montpelier, CAL as it’s called, pulled out all stops joining with 20 or so other venues as part of #ArtsFest 2019.

Executive director Alice Dodge worked tirelessly to hang art of many kinds around the building, a former convent, converged now to a community arts space.

Here’s a few photos. See Steve below standing in front of two of his abstract works near the grand piano. Earlier a visitor played sang and played the piano sone rock and roll tune. His playing really rocked the room bringing smiles all around. The other is a detail of a colored glass window in the former chapel space.

Be sure to stop by during regular hours to see the art. Steve’s work is in the front “green” room on the first floor and upstairs in the third floor hallway. To learn more about Steve’s art and possible commissions drop a note on our contact page.

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Why Best Place to Work Thinking?

Why Best Place to Work Thinking?

Curious if Best Places to Work thinking might be valuable to your business or organization? See this post for more.  Check back in the weeks ahead for more insights about Best Places to Work thinking and design.  

Creating places and spaces which inspire: Color, finish and material selection integration

Best Practice Tips for creating inspiring places and spaces

Curious about how architects work to help their clients create attractive and purposeful interior spaces as part of a renovation, addition or new construction project? See our video with helpful insights into our creative process. With our work we seek to help you, your organization, your business, or your family move gracefully through what often is a stressful, complicated part of any project.  

For a typical project, small or large numerous decisions await which require careful integrative consideration and creative insights on sustainability, indoor air quality, durability, comfort, branding, cost, production time, installation coordination, and more.  

Watch to learn more

There's a lot that goes into creating an attractive high performing interior whether an office, retail space, school classroom or home. This video explains the complexity of color, finish and material selection and why hiring an architect to help adds tremendous value to the long term success of your project large or small.

Curious about next steps?

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Looking around for inspiration

When designing your home, office or place of work where do you turn for design inspiration? We often look for inspiration locally, in the place and region we are working in. We do so to help clarify the mood and character of the place and spaces we hope to cultivate and design. We think its crucial to the place based design we favor. We think its critical to get outdoors, to take a walk, hop in a canoe or get in the car and go experience and see your surrounding looking for inspiration in unlikely places. 

Here is a recent example from Stephen Frey.

Recently I drove around where I live looking for design inspiration for our architectural, placemaking and creative work.  The hills outside of Montpelier have lots to offer this time of year with the seasonal transition from winter to spring.  I look for intriguing forms, shapes, textures colors and compositions.  Here's a historic 100 year old plus 1-1/2 story cape style farmhouse, mid-house and barn combination I found.  The creaking bend in the barn frame caught my eye evoking the timeless play between building and landscape, and the inevitability of nature and time.  Also, the simplicity and sturdiness of the forms intrigued me as well as almost matching roof slopes between home to barn.  

For me, I find inspiration in the barn board, the red time worn color on the siding, the white trim, field stone walls and foundation, and yes the grass, mud and snow.  I also get a kick out of the form follows functionality of the barn windows sizing and layout. Often these windows are laid out reflecting the internal milking stalls providing views outside during milking.  Also, the front-house, mid-house, back-house barn connected building layout is an enduring aspect of our vernacular landscape.  Note how the site is cut with the barn's levels allowing easy access to the middle floor and lower levels at opposing grades?  This appears to be a smaller general purpose barn used to farm a small tract of land with a small amount of animals and room for hay above. 

Barn on Kent Corners Road - Stephen M.  Frey 

Barn on Kent Corners Road - Stephen M.  Frey 

What do you have around where you live? Do you have common to your area vernacular building forms or traditional buildings?  They often have a lot of endearing qualities, even more so, if you don't own one and are trying to keep up with all of the quirky ongoing maintenance. 

That's another story.  Bottom line, get outside and take a look around and really look to see what lies in plain view for inspiration for your design project's materials, colors, mood and detail character.  Try to suspend your preconceptions about what's there and really take your time looking.  You won't regret the effort.

You will no doubt find unexpected insight and a treasured memory.  

Design thinking and doing: Arranging rocks

Sea glass and rocks in hand - Stephen M. Frey

Sea glass and rocks in hand - Stephen M. Frey

     What do you do to cultivate your creative design capabilities? Practicing architecture, art, photography, graphic design means just that, practice and training.  

     So practice means doing and sometimes practices means playing.  

Sea Glass and Stones, 2.23.17 - Stephen M. Frey

Sea Glass and Stones, 2.23.17 - Stephen M. Frey

     One of the things we do is play with rocks and creat impromptu compositions. We do so to quickly iterate an idea and test it. We look to create balance, variety and visual interest while creating a point of focus.  

     Sometimes we photograph these ideas. Other times we just play. Setting up a layout again and again. Admiring each for a moment, then rearranging them. Over and over again. This is practicing how to compose, to see and to self-critique. 

Marblehead Rocks Rearranged - 11 x 22 Watercolor on 140lb Cold Press, Stephen M. Frey

Marblehead Rocks Rearranged - 11 x 22 Watercolor on 140lb Cold Press, Stephen M. Frey

      Sometimes these arrangements make it to a painting. Here's one such example from a few years ago. That day the sun shone really low providing illuminating side light to the stones and the green sea glass. It caught our eye as a metaphor for the passion of creativity emanating an inner light which models how it feels creatively from within.  Kind of warm inside, glowing and knowing we call it!

      Do you practice like this to hone your creative eye and hands? What do you do? Please share! 

#creativity, #designthinking, #design, #making #HowTo

 

American Meadows New Offices

A New Home

      Driving down Shelburne Road in Shelburne, Vermont a new workplace for American Meadows and High Country Seeds rises along one of the busiest roads in Vermont.  
     Their new workplace displays our mission and values driven design and work process. We designed their interior architecture renovation including front of house offices, meeting spaces, collaboration areas, and shipping/ receiving areas. We provided space planning, workplace strategies and more.  
      We worked closely with the owner on the design who then collaborated with Christine Burdick who provided finishing touches of targeted finishes, furniture selection and wall graphics. 

The Process:

      Together we created a new workplace environment echoing their brand DNA of a disruptive e-commerce company operating in the gardening and seed space.  The owner purchased the former site of a venerable area outdoor recreation store which became a high end furniture store seeing new possibilities for re-purposing its' tall floor to floor heights and vast open areas into a high functioning collaborative focused open office workplace and seed shipping and receiving warehouse area.  

View of open work area towards "garden shed" meeting space and kitchen work cafe beyond.

View of open work area towards "garden shed" meeting space and kitchen work cafe beyond.

      There's more to be done in the months ahead but these images show what's emerging.  Like their brand, they've planted a new seed in Shelburne providing the area with renewed energy and vitality.  We helped create meeting spaces in close proximity to open work areas and common spaces like the kitchen commons which also doubles as a flexible meeting space.

A Kit of Parts

       We developed an interior kit of parts of interior elements which evolved out of a garden shed aesthetic with common everyday materials like galvanized corrugated sheet metal, rustic shake shingles, a timber frame. The client was extremely interested in bringing a feeling of nature near into their new workplace with natural materials including repurposing as flooring in the central common area reclaimed bleachers. 
      Improving daylighting and access to views outside was also critical to American Meaodws. We campaigned for opening up the center of darkest area with a generous skylight to let daylight and the sunshine in over the kitchen / common area.  To further lighten the space on the south elevation, a series of large windows matching existing windows on other elevations were installed.

View of open work area from main entry.

View of open work area from main entry.

See this gallery of more photos of their new space.