The road from initial chats and scratched ideas on paper to the final handover can be a long – often winding – one. Creating and nurturing the right foundations for that relationship to be built upon is the underpinnings of any project, and the shared appreciation of trust, cannot be undervalued.
“Trust allows the process to unfold more naturally,” Ritz & Ghougassian founding co-director Gilad Ritz says, “ensuring we spend less time having to prove solutions and instead can spend that time designing and detailing.” While there often exists a hesitancy to relinquish control from a client, once the base briefing of core functional elements has been established and agreed upon in the form of a brief, allowing the professional to leverage their years of earned experience to deliver is critical.
“I often try and put myself in the position of the client, especially in the early stages, and ensure we are delivering and extracting as much information as possible,” Gilad says. Whether drawn to a particular architect or designer due to their aesthetic style or approach and philosophies or from a recommendation, once paired, the client-architect rewards are best reaped through an open dialogue. “For us, the best clients have seen our work, understand what we do, and there’s a trust already present in our interactions,” Gilad adds.
Access to a global catalogue of ideas and visual stimulation through Instagram and Pinterest has undoubtedly changed the design industry and the process. It has also dramatically altered the initial stages of engagement that lead to an agreed brief. “Quite often, preconceived ideas or visuals collected can be distracting and not allow the best resolve to emerge as it otherwise would,” Gilad reflects.
In the same way that one wouldn’t operate on themselves (unless you were a surgeon, perhaps), it begs the reminder that in engaging an architect, you are engaging their experience, contacts, access to knowledge, and continued professional development. Not allowing them to do their job is counterproductive. “The whole process is about learning and education both for the architect and the client,” adds Gilad, “It’s about having an open-minded perspective to everything.”
How then can this image-flooded reality help hone (not hinder) the process? These initial images need to be used as a base to discuss likes and dislikes and explore connections to space, light and volume with your architect. Through openness, ideas can then be funnelled into a design response that is both unique to and expressive of the client.
“Some projects have a feasibility stage, (pre- concept), helping us to work out what the brief might be, initiating conversations early on, about whether what the client thought they wanted will work, and is actually what they want. ”
– Gilad Ritz
“It doesn’t mean surrendering all of your questions and your hesitancy,” Gilad concludes, “Instead, we suggest that you trust the process, the exploration, and the uncovering of new ways of thinking.” By working together to uncover the ‘why’, it is important to then allow the architect to resolve the ‘how’ and to show more interpretations of the ‘why’ along the way. The engagement, otherwise, is moot.
“Our projects take time to draw up, and detail, as we want to resolve every section and junction, allowing us to check that it is in alignment – that’s how we design. It makes our process a lot smoother to work with clients who appreciate that, as part of our process.”
– Gilad Ritz