EAVESDROPPING WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD, PART 3

EAVESDROPPING WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD, PART 3

“You’ll love Barcelona. It’s just like New York City. Only nicer.” I overheard this conversation during our last dinner in Amalfi, before departing for Rome. At the next table were two young, sophisticated-looking American couples talking about their travels. One couple lived in New York City.

It’s not uncommon for us to put things into context when explaining them. Context helps to illuminate a point we’re trying to make. In many cases, context is essential to a description. But overhearing the conversation got me thinking about false context, and how it takes away from a point that’s being made, ultimately causing confusion.

Comparing Barcelona to New York doesn’t add context to the description of Barcelona. Barcelona is like Barcelona. New York is New York. Period.

EAVESDROPPING WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD, PART 2

EAVESDROPPING WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD, PART 2

This is the second in a three part series about things I’ve learned from overhearing conversations in English while traveling abroad.

“I convinced myself that I needed to add an employee when I looked at the amount of lost billings that resulted from me not doing what I should have been doing.” This conversation was also overheard in Naoshima, among design professionals talking about how they have grown their practices. (You could tell they were design professionals by their chunky black glasses and elegant but impractical shoes)

While this sentiment is sort of obvious, what struck me was the balance between the art of design and the logic of business, happening in the same conversation. Running the numbers to see when new staff is needed balances the emotional and artistic realms in which design professionals work. When you’re running a design business, it’s a both/ and.

It was also a good reminder that staff members doing work that a new staff member could be doing is sometimes a value suck. It’s not just about working an employee too hard (which is also an issue). It’s about allowing staff to add their most valuable value. And that helps the employee and the business overall.


1.jpg

EAVESDROPPING WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD, PART 1

EAVESDROPPING WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD, PART 1

I’ve had the recent good fortune to go on some pretty amazing trips. Last September, we went to the Amalfi Coast of Italy, and last month, we went to Japan. Besides the obvious enrichment and inspiration that comes from traveling abroad, I’ve realized another benefit.

When you’re in a foreign country where English isn’t the native language, people speaking English stand out to you. When you hear something familiar among otherwise unfamiliar sounds, you listen closely. What would be background noise at home can sometimes resonate.

During my recent travels, I learned some interesting lessons, simply from eavesdropping.

“You can’t call yourself a Modernist if you haven’t been to Japan.” I overheard this conversation while visiting Naoshima Island in Japan. Naoshima is known for its contemporary public art collection, and its art museums and resort designed by Tadao Ando. It attracts design-types, so it wasn’t a surprise to hear this conversation considering the context. But it got me thinking more about what I’d seen the previous week in Kyoto. The debt that Modernism owes to Japanese design is undoubtable.

Frank Lloyd Wright famously credited Japanese art as informing his aesthetic. But it’s more than aesthetic. The Japanese were separating structure from enclosure long before le Corbusier wrote about it in his manifesto “Towards a New Architecture.” And the poetic sparsity of 15th century Japanese temples and gardens happened long before Mies uttered the infamous phrase “Less is more.”


IMG_6427.jpg

WOOD

WOOD

2018 marks the fifth anniversary for Charlie Greene Studio. It’s been an incredible, unbelievable thing to start a design firm. We’ve worked hard, and we’ve been very fortunate. The five years have seemed simultaneously long and short.

The traditional gift for a fifth wedding anniversary is wood. I like this as an expression of our fifth anniversary in business as well.

Wood isn’t manufactured. It grows. Wood is strong and straight and true. Wood is authentic to itself, but responds to its surroundings.

As we mark a milestone of five years in business, we celebrate our wood-ness, and look forward to what the next five years of growth will bring.


The-Timber-Movie-Wallpapers-1.jpg

LOVE

LOVE

We believe that great brands don’t just talk about themselves. Great brands also talk about what they love, what they believe in, what they’re passionate about. So that’s what we’re going to do here: talk about what we love. Sometimes, it might be people who inspire us, and that we think you should know. Sometimes, it might be a project we’re working on, or an exhibit we’ve seen, or a lecture we’ve attended. Sometimes, it might be something we’re talking about, figuring out, or struggling with. Sometimes, it will be about design. Sometimes, it won’t. But rest assured, it will always be authentic to who we are.

 

See you soon.