Changing the World
“Following that, it’s another shift and another pivot as I went and decided I wanted to get away from teaching and become more reconnected to the world. I wanted to be reconnected to what was going on in the real world and I decided to become an architect again. I reached out to some people and ended up accepting a position which wasn’t quite that, but it was a position with a developing company in Baltimore with projects around the country. In fact, they owned and developed, say, close to 75, 80 shopping centers.
The firm I worked for was changing the retail environment, they were changing the urban environment, and they were buying up properties and converting them. We were changing these places back to real thriving, enterprising places, places that were exciting to be, places people love to go. I spent a good 10 years with them and all of a sudden the economy falls out and I got laid off. I thought, what’s next? This is very exciting, it’s going to be hard, so it took me a while to get my feet on the ground. A couple of years later I got hired by some designers in Colorado where I used to work and they were some of the same people who were working with the company I worked for, the development company.
I worked for them for a few years and then I felt like I was ready to do the work on my own, so I developed an office in Denver and did the same kind of work. It was basically environmental graphic design. I did brand identities for shopping center developments and that was very exciting because I could make the connection between a good design and making money. I thought that was fantastic. To be able to make that connection.
I learned that through my retail experiences, a good design made sense, not only made sense but it was a very profitable venture and made that case. You know that for good design it wasn’t just looking for beauty. Now all of a sudden we could talk about beauty again, whereas before it was subjective and not wanting to be talked about, but now it’s important. Now there is a reason for it. There’s a trade-off for it. We talked about it, so that led me to do the work in my own office. I did that for about four years. One of the projects, by the way, was here in Minneapolis. It was uptown shopping, uptown center, uptown square. I developed the crown logo on top of the building on the corner there and up in Lake.