I was recently having a debate with one of our architecture partners about the interrelationship between architecture, interiors, and branding. This came up because, in New York City, you almost need a name brand architect attached to your project in order to sell luxury condos.
But this raises an interesting set of questions: How much value is driven by the quality of the architecture versus the architect’s brand? (Though, presumably you need the former in order to build the latter.) And how much of the value is actually just driven by the finishes (interiors) and the branding that you layer on after?
This latter scenario is a depressing thought for architects. It is architecture as a kind of “empty vessel.” One that just gets dressed up for today’s Instagrammable moments. And I am sure that you can think of some examples of this. Not everything can be capital A architecture.
But what is clear is that the most successful design-driven projects don’t think in this way. They are thoughtful and deliberate about each component, and they all work together to strengthen each other. Marketing, after all, is about telling the right story. It is always helpful when you actually have one to tell.
Brandon, I did a tour of luxury real estate in NYC a while ago and sought Interior Design bids from a few firms there for a luxury project in my market. The proposals that came back EXCEEDED the architecture fees we had already negotiated for the entire project, and one even included a percentage of revenue bonus on top of the fee – over the top! The fee was just not commensurate with any additional value they might have brought to the project. Suffice to say, we got great design and value from one of our top local firms who worked in tight coordination under the prime consultant.
Michael Mortensen, MA MCIP RPP
LIVEABLE CITY PLANNING Ltd.
Cell (778) 899-7943
Vancouver BC Canada
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