What We're Studying Now: Pierre Cardin | July 2019

Studying his use of commitment to a single idea, the parabola, expressed through his visionary fashions, iconic architecture and sculptural industrial and furniture design. At 97, he continues to stay curious and invent his vision of the future, which is fascinating to say the least - hop aboard the Cardin Express with us!

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Mary Elise Chavez
What We're Exploring Now: DesertX | Mar 2019

Just in time for Spring, DesertX lured us to Palm Springs, a city rich in mid-century style, architecture and retro signage - three things we love and tend to seek out. On through April 21, 2019 in the Coachella Valley, this freshly minted biennial is a brilliant fusion of art and environment, where contemporary artists stage their works against the dramatic landscapes, leaving us in a state of hypnosis.

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Mary Elise Chavez
What We're Reading Now | Feb 2019

The experiential grounds of The Vitra Campus is a thrilling place to discover modern architectural and built environment concepts. The Campus is open to the public via tours of key structures and the architects behind them. With over 330,000 visitors a year, this special campus has the most concentrated collection of buildings by world-famous architects, than anywhere else in the world.

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Mary Elise Chavez
Charles & Ray Eames | #emotifIcons

“Design is an expression of the purpose.” Charles Eames // As the most important exponents of organic design, Charles and Ray Eames demonstrated how good design can improve quality of life and human understanding and knowledge. One of their top lessons here are the Case Study Houses - built in 1949, No. 8 was a celebration of indoor-outdoor living, and for the Eameses it became a laboratory for their shared life and work.

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Mary Elise Chavez
What We're Reading Now | Jan 2019

Assouline’s ‘In the Spirit of...’ series may cause severe cases of wanderlust (and should be read with your travel planner in hand). This iconic book publisher is known for the best of the best editorials on iconic travel destinations and specialty subjects. From Gstaad to Rio, Harlem to the Hamptons, we’ve found great design inspiration in these beautifully-curated pages.

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Mary Elise Chavez
What We're Reading Now | Dec 2018

We’re in a Gerhard Richter frame-of-mind, and this gorgeous book, Panorama is the most extensive representation of his career to date. Including his work from the 1950s to present - from paintings to sculptures, drawings and photographs - it’s a fantastic deep dive into the artistic journey of Richter. And when it comes to squares, they haven't been the same since Josef Albers applied his spectrum of colors to them.

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Mary Elise Chavez
A field trip to The Orsoni Furnace during the Venice Biennale

While in Venice exploring the Architecture Biennale, we enjoyed a private visit to the Furnace of Orsoni - the only mosaic tile furnace still functioning in the historic center of Venice. Orsoni has revived the city's Byzantine mosaic style and remains an icon in the artisan craftwork communities. They use the same techniques since 1888 to produce 24K gold leaf mosaics, colored gold and Venetian smalti in more than 3,500 colors.

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Mary Elise Chavez
Your brand is not a story: here's what it really is

A lot of companies treat their brands as "stories to be told". In this post we explain how this framing makes brands overly reliant on third parties, typically media companies, to keep them in the public eye. We also show why this approach is so damaging to long-term brand health, and propose a different way of understanding your brand that can lead to long-term growth and success. 

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Simon Pearce
Will Software "Eat" your Company, or Feed it?

The inexorable march of the software industry across the global economy continues unabated. Incumbent and after incumbent goes from skepticism, to panic, to obsolescence. It's now apparent to everyone not living in a bunker that the level of disruption, great as it has been, will only increase. There will be no more "status quo", at least, not for the rest of my life, or yours. What's a business to do? 

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Simon Pearce
Is emotional branding bunk?

A lot of ink has been spilled (and money spent) on trying to convince companies that the goal of having a brand is to get people to fall in love with your business. While nobody's going to argue that having customers who love you is a bad thing, too much focus on this from the outset could distract brands from more important work that creates more enduring sources of value for customers and the companies that serve them. 

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Simon Pearce
How are you different?

Having points of difference is the lifeblood of branding. Without it, you're a commodity. Finding those points is the easy part, the hard part is finding ones that others are unwilling or unable to imitate. Differentiation is exponentially harder in professional services, where the barriers to entry and imitation are almost non-existent. One of the ways we have achieved differentiation in this market is through a greater willingness to stick our necks out in an industry that's notoriously risk-averse. It has taken us places others are unwilling to go, and it compounds on itself by giving us unique learning experiences that others in our industry are not being exposed to. 

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Simon Pearce
Are Bad Habits Killing your Brand Innovation Efforts?

...In almost every category of business, the current approach leads to managers seeking to squeeze a few more percentage points of revenue out of business practices that they have already optimized, over and over again, in many cases going back decades. 

Managers end up ignoring bigger opportunities because they don't fit neatly into the established paradigms implied by existing measurement systems. Put simply, the needs of the measurement system start to outweigh the broader need of the business (to grow, to add value, to win).

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Oh The Places I’ll Go! - Daydreaming about Oculus Rift

First there was WoW, then there was Second Life, now there’s Oculus. Exploratory worlds can be a place of escape, but also a place of great inspiration. When Linden Lab created the platform for Second Life, it was exactly that, a platform on which to build - this is a great study of where a passionate audience can take a platform. Literally building out this virtual world brick by brick, the documentary Life 2.0 takes you inside this world in which many people live many hours of their real lives.

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