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One day, many years ago, as I sat in my 12th-grade desk I remember looking blankly at the chalkboard and asking myself: “who do I want to be?” Just then, a friend dropped a flyer onto my desk. Unbeknownst to me, this small piece of paper would be the gateway to my future. It was an announcement for a recently opened architecture school in my hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Interested parties were invited to a small conference where the dean would explain what the school offered, and provide greater insight into the profession. I was unaware of what architecture studies would entail, but when I left I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.
I decided to major in architecture. My decision stemmed from a powerful need to impact the world in a positive way. My dream was to leave a mark that helped inspire others. I saw the power that spaces had on people. My drive came not from designing the physical spaces but creating memories that those places would house or make possible. I was never intending to be an architect in the traditional sense, but rather a design professional focused on creating experiences and impacting people.
This abstract concept that I was striving to achieve, although clear in my mind, was difficult to convey appropriately to my colleagues. In efforts to better present my ideas, I began to hone my graphic design capabilities. What started as just a tool to more effectively explain a concept, eventually became a medium to express the change I was so keen on achieving. I decided then to pursue a minor in Graphic Design along with my architecture degree and continue improving my craft.
Today in my role as an Art Director I consider myself more of an intermediary between disciplines. I am fortunate to work in a multidisciplinary studio that offers a breadth of creative services, from architecture to interiors to exhibit design to identity systems and more. Now being well-versed in each design profession, I can appreciate how similar they can be and how they inform each other. Having a working understanding of buildings, codes, regulations and real-world restrictions help ensure our designs are grounded and work to add value to spaces. Our work becomes purposeful and functions in tandem with the rest of the space. In the same way, I incentivize our architects to think about how space impacts users, and not focus exclusively on function. We’re able to have articulate conversations on the importance of branding and how best to achieve client marketing and business goals.
Often, architects and graphic designers speak two different languages. I can thankfully speak both and as the disciplines become more and more integrated I find greater reward in my work. In the ever-changing landscape of design, it is imperative that professionals look outward for inspiration and seek out the knowledge of other disciplines to better serve our clients and our communities.