Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: What are the keys to designing an award-winning kitchen or bath project and entering a design into a competition? Following are some of their responses.
“Certainly the presentation of the project is important, but having been a judge for design competitions before, it is always important to remember that design is subjective. When you dig down deeper into the design statement, you find different reasons for the solution that support the design.
Any designer’s prime responsibility is to get their client where they want to go. It is also important to feed off of a client’s desires and communicate with them. Ultimately, [their project] will become an expression of who they are and how they live. The best way to put it is that it is not about having a great design challenge to overcome, but rather having a great design solution.”
Doug Durbin, CEO
Highland Park, IL
“Creating an award-winning project should never be a designer’s goal. The goal should be to design the most spectacular space for a client that is possible within the parameters of program, budget, space and vernacular. Whether these prove to be limited or limitless, perfection and vision must come into play. Then, awards and accolades are sure to follow.
The crème de la crème solutions always have a complete vision behind them: a stylistic concept – whether modern or traditional or eclectic/transitional – that is maintained throughout. There should be an intense attention to detail, from the placement of switches and outlets, the profile of baseboards and window trim, the choice of speakers and HVAC grilles, and the juncture of one surface or material to another.
The best entries often immediately strike one as fresh, new, different. This can be seen even in the finest of traditionally derived kitchens.
In the end, the complete vision must extend to all six (or more!) planes of a space. The ceiling must be thought through as well as the cabinetry and backsplashes. The floor should amplify or echo the theme, and support the whole. You can’t build a great building without a strong foundation.”
Jamie Drake, principal
Jamie Drake Design
New York, NY
“Designers need to respect the space they are going to design and to deal with the challenges that the space presents. When you send your file in for a design competition, make sure it is an organized file. Send a floor plan and elevations in a scale that people are used to looking at, whether it is half an inch or a quarter of an inch. As a rule, do not send renderings rather than photographs. Generally speaking, three pictures are enough, but if it is a complicated design, then perhaps five would be better.
Another good idea is to add a dog or people to the photograph because it makes the space look more humane and less sterile. The main goal is to try and design a space that leaves an impression and is memorable for its beauty.”
Dalia Tamari, principal
Dalia Kitchen Design
“Mainly, it is the overall impact of the photographs that make the difference. You really can’t pick one element to focus on, instead it has to be a balanced room.
I’ve entered design competitions multiple times and sometimes it is the challenge the design presented that determines whether I submit that project, but a lot of times when it is being judged, no one knows the challenges the designer faced. It is hard sometimes to convey those challenges to the judges as well. Therefore, we are very selective as to what 8.5"x11" photograph we will submit for a design competition.”
Wendy Mayes, ASID, CKD
Kitchens by Design
“Having great photography is key. You can have a fabulous design but if you haven’t documented it properly then it doesn’t come to life. You always want to bring something to the judges that’s new, interesting and unique because some things just get mundane and start to look dull and repetitious. I love doing master baths, for instance, because they make a huge impact within a small space.