July 5, 2016

Bialosky + APE Made

Local artist April Bleakney of APE Made, was commissioned to create an original piece with a street-art flavor that payed homage to Midtown Cleveland—home to Bialosky’s new office located at 6555 Carnegie Ave. She graciously took on the task by creating a bold, screen-print and mixed-media statement piece that would complement the overall simple and clean aesthetic of the office space.

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April Bleakney's original mixed-media piece

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Large-Scale Installation in Bialosky Cleveland's 6555 Carnegie Ave. office space

As I stepped into APE Made’s unique E. 40th Street studio, I am greeted by one of April’s two cherished dogs, while the tunes of “A tribe Called Quest” hummed in the background. We sit down to discuss the commissioned piece and April’s love of art.

April's E. 40th St. Studio

April's E. 40th St. Studio

What was your goal when asked to create a custom piece for our office?  [My goal was to] use artistic freedom to highlight Cleveland’s “Midtown” area in a positive way and to bring out its many textures.

Tell me a little bit about the piece and your process? The images stem from photographs taken of the E. 40th community while out walking my dogs (Spliff & BB).  Forms that depict the landscape and architecture of Midtown past and present ground the piece. The images of a bridge and water tower were edited within Photoshop until the desired composition was reached; then came the process of screen printing and painting. The chosen color palette reflects the neighborhood - "once bright blues and greens that have become faded and earthy with time, forming rusty warms, and grays". Transparent ink was used to get the desired depth and texture. Warm red and cyan blue were introduced to complement the colors of Bialosky’s space.

Education:  Graduate of Kent State University (BFA ’08)

Origin of APE Made: April began screen printing as a secondary source of income in her Kent, OH basement. Five years ago “APE Made” took flight, and is widely known today for their hand screen printed products (clothing, posters, etc.) that showcase Cleveland and local regions in a positive, well-crafted manner.  

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APE Made is widely known today for their hand screen printed, Cleveland centric products .

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April's work is Inspired by the Cleveland landscape

Who/What Inspires You? The Cleveland Landscape; Makers movement (D.I.Y) and social issues going on in Cleveland and throughout the country.

Your Alternate Reality Career? National Geographic Photographer.

Hidden Talent:Scratching” (A DJ and turntablist technique used to produce distinctive percussive or rhythmic sounds and sound effects by moving a vinyl record back and forth on a turntable while optionally manipulating the crossfader on a DJ mixer. (Wikipedia.com)

April in her element.

April in her element.

For additional information about APE MADE visit.

https://apemadeohio.com/

http://www.apemade.etsy.com/

April 5, 2016

Building the Bialosky Brand

2016 has brought along quite a few changes here at Bialosky—new projects, new hires, a new place to call home at 6555 Carneige Ave, a new name, and a new brand identity to celebrate and highlight these exciting milestones.

The first step in rebranding was to clearly define our promise to our clients and the process though which we make that promise a reality. To do this, we took a step back to analyze our design process and the values we hold as a firm. This introspection allowed us to define the four core values through which we interpret all aspects of the work we do: innovative, responsive, enduring, and beautiful. These four words and their corresponding promise were the jumping off point for the creation of the new Bialosky Cleveland identity.

Sketch, Discuss, Revise, Repeat

The cornerstone of the new identity is the name shift from 'Bialosky + Partners Architects' to simply 'Bialosky Cleveland.' Although we didn't intend for a name change when we set out on our rebranding mission, the name change grew organically out of the logo design process—reaffirming the value of an iterative design process of thoughtful discussion and intentional revisions. The design process began with a series of rough sketches exploring the basics of graphic identity: typography, mark, and color. These initial sketches were reviewed and discussed by our team and used to tease out successful ideas for further exploration. During the first round of sketches, we were drawn to concepts with bold typography that were simple, timeless, and clean while nodding to the idea of integration, cooperation and partnership. As these initial concepts were explored and refined, we found ourselves pairing down each iteration more and more until we landed on the final mark: a bold typographic treatment, stating simply 'who we are' and 'where we're from.'

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This pairing down of the logo to its key parts led to the discussion of what exactly it would mean to simply be 'Bialosky Cleveland.' Bialosky's equity is not only tied to its leadership and history as an architectural firm, but also to its employees and its multi-disciplinary approach. We are a diverse group of individuals anchored by strong leadership and an even stronger history. We are architects, planners, interior designers, engineers, and environmental graphic designers. It's how we answer the phone and it's what our clients call us—we are Bialosky. The name change makes more sense now than ever before.

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Color & Type

Pushing the ideas of simplicity, flexibility, and equity was key in the continued development of the Bialosky graphic identity. Blue—representing trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, and intelligence—has always been at the core of the Bialosky palette. The updated palette plays off of this equity with a bold pairing of blue/black and cyan. A classic navy and middle gray provide depth, while a bold pop of warm red rounds out the palette with an unexpected brightness.

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Strong typography is the basis of the Bialosky Cleveland logo and is a pillar of the extended identity. The typography pays tribute to the equity of the past Bialosky + Partners Architects marks while adding a contemporary twist. The primary Bialosky typeface, Knockout, is a condensed sans-serif that subtly nods to the Bialosky + Partners condensed logotype of the 1990s. The secondary typeface Gotham, a geometric san-serif inspired by mid-twentieth century architectural signage, is a well-balance blend of new and old that adds a great deal of flexibility to the identity.

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Function & Application

The flexibility of the new identity is continued throughout its various applications. As an integrated architectural firm, the Bialosky brand needed to be easily translated across a number of platforms from formal business letters and proposals, vibrant marketing collateral and environmental graphics throughout the office.

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This work is protected and owned by Bialosky Cleveland and cannot be used, distributed, or displayed without permission.

May 13, 2015

The Year of the Advocate: Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Pro bono, civic, and community projects have always been deeply embedded in the culture of our firm. We wholeheartedly believe that as architects, we have a distinct responsibility to serve and strengthen our community. But the value of pro bono work runs deeper than the neighborhoods it touches, it has transformed and elevated our very profession. Pro bono projects are a powerful medium for architectural firms to grow and empower leadership and heighten awareness of local expertise that can often be overshadowed. Too often we hear bemoaning around awarding projects to outside architects.

LeBron said it best, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.” In Cleveland, “being of this place” means rolling up your sleeves, and chasing what you want. For Cleveland architects specifically, it means fueling ourselves (and each other) to rise up, advocate for architecture, and serve our city.

Consider the following article I wrote for AIA Cleveland as a call to our local design community - to challenge the notion of pro bono work being categorized as simply “other”, “charity” or “unpaid” projects, but rather as an ingrained part of architectural practice.


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Pro Bono and the Genius Loci

Jack Bialosky, Jr., AIA Cleveland President-Elect

For AIA, this year is intended to be "the year of the advocate". The recent national "I Look Up" ad campaign has engendered comments, both positive and negative, about architecture and advocacy (for more information on the campaign, read AIA Cleveland President Aaron Hill's recent article Why "Looking Up" Is Important). It is good that there are strong feelings about this, especially if you ascribe to the theory that any press is good press. But more importantly, the campaign has empowered dispersed dialogues to surface as one national conversation.

Personally, I believe that every year should be the year of the advocate for architects and architecture. As President-Elect, and a fairly new comer (or late returner) to active duty in AIA Cleveland, I have been educating myself on the issues that our local members prioritize as the most relevant and important to our community. In response to our recent member survey, most of the respondents felt that one of AIA Cleveland's most important roles was to advocate for local architects. Many architects feel they have lost power, voice and position as leaders of the built environment. Furthermore, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have suffered for years from a low self-image which has fueled a desire for outside experts. Compounded by an economic downturn spanning half a decade, this triple-whammy has left some architects in our community feeling under-appreciated and unable to compete for important commissions in their own market.

There have been past efforts at advocacy for local architects. The Design Forum of Cleveland was founded in 2006 as a multi-disciplinary organization with the goals of improving awareness of area design professional services, increasing the consumption of area design professional services, and enhancing and sustaining the professional careers within the local design community. The forum sought to educate area leaders on the quality of available services and the economic impact of the commissions going out of town. Unfortunately, the efforts foundered when confronted by the Cleveland malaise described above; Corporate cultures that inherently value the corporation over the community at large have failed to see the connection and synergy that strengthens them both, while political authorities focused on feathering their own nests or occupied with surviving the times.

Fast forward to 2015, Cleveland has been rightfully labeled as a "Comeback City", as a new sense of optimism pervades our town. The City of Cleveland has new momentum and the economic cycle appears to be stable and in our favor. Downtown Cleveland, no longer a ghost town at night, is experiencing a resurgence of pride from its residents. Clevelanders are feeling better about the future of their city and architects in Northeast Ohio similarly seem to be doing a bit better than years past. AIA Cleveland has new energy and engaged members in all stages of their careers. We have schools of architecture nearby who are engaged in the community and turning out great students, many of whom are choosing to stay in Northeast Ohio. Now seems like a good time to start the conversation again about local advocacy, and to develop our own virtuous cycle.

To propel the local architectural and design community to the  position of leadership and respect to which it aspires requires a concerted effort by the whole A&D community to work together in a collegial and non-self-serving manner; to strengthen and elevate the design culture of our internal community. If you want to be the best, play with the best; taking pride and ownership in our place calls for addressing challenges facing our community as thought-leaders of the issues we feel passionately about.

We become thought leaders by educating and pushing ourselves, by looking outside our own immediate surroundings, by learning from each other, and reaching out to the community at-large. I believe that local advocacy should not be the focus of our efforts, but rather the byproduct of how we lead our lives, demonstrate our creativity, navigate complex systems, solve problems, give back to and strengthen our own community.

If I look around, I see that this is happening even now in many encouraging ways, although we have never been good at bringing attention to ourselves. Just as it has taken many years for Cleveland to begin to understand its place as a world-class, second tier city, it may take a long time to establish Cleveland architects in the appropriate place in the hearts and minds of our fellow Clevelanders. That's no reason to stop trying.

I recently learned about a Not For Profit group in San Francisco called Public Architecture http://www.publicarchitecture.org/, who propose that firms donate 1% of their firm hours towards pro bono work and track these efforts* . I started thinking about this and wondered what percent of effort Northeast Ohio architectural firms are already donating pro bono to charity, faith-based, community development, or public policy agencies. My guess is it exceeds 1% of firm hours- Let's find out and demonstrate that we are the geniuses loci.

* Bialosky + Partners Architects exceeds this benchmark set by "The 1% Project", donating 2% of their firm hours annually towards pro bono work.

December 22, 2014

Bialosky + Partners at Zygote Press

Last week, the Bialosky + Partners team headed to Zygote Press—a fine art printmaking studio in Cleveland’s St. Clair-Superior neighborhood—for our annual end of year team building celebration. The morning began with breakfast and the unveiling of the 2014 Bialosky + Partners Year in Review timeline outlining all of the exciting accomplishments and changes that have occurred in the office throughout the year.

Welcome to Zygote Press!

Welcome to Zygote Press!

After breakfast, the Zygote team lead us in a workshop exploring three different printmaking processes—screenprinting, letterpress, and free form mono-printing.

Zygote Press's Liz Maugins demonstrates the mono-prininting process for the BPA team.

Zygote Press's Liz Maugans demonstrates the mono-prininting process for the BPA team.

At the screen printing station each member of the team got the chance to print their own t-shirt to show off their Bialosky + Partners pride. Afterwards, Alan Hipps and Brian Kuck got a chance to go head to head against the Zygote team in an intense speed-printing contest—unfortunately the Bialosky team could not compete with the pros and lost out to team Zygote.

Brian Kuck mans the screen printing station.

Brian Kuck mans the screen printing station.

On the letterpress, our team printed a limited edition Bialosky + Partners 2014 infographic featuring all of the offices’ achievements over the past year. Additionaly, we got to be a little creative and set our own type from Zygote’s extensive collection of vintage wood type.

Bialosky + Partner's 2014 Year in Review hot off the press.

Bialosky + Partner's 2014 Year in Review hot off the press.

The Bialosky team got to stretch their creative muscles even further at the mono-printing station where many of us used various textural objects to create festive cards.

Tyler Gentry tries his hand at mono-printing.

Tyler Gentry tries his hand at mono-printing.

At the end of the afternoon, the team gathered together for a photo op with Zygote's house pet, Inky before heading to lunch. All in all, the day was a great way to flex our creative muscles and reflect on the exciting year that was 2014.

Bialosky + Partner's newest team member, Inky.

Bialosky + Partner's newest team member, Inky.

December 9, 2014

Bialosky + Partner’s First Annual Chili Cook-Off

In true Cleveland fashion, winter is once again upon us and bringing the cold and snow weeks earlier than anyone ever wants.  Here at Bialosky + Partners, we responded to this chilly arrival the only way we know how: showing off our culinary capabilities with the first ever BPA Chili Cook-Off!

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With three prizes up for grabs (Spiciest, Most Creative, and the most coveted, People’s Choice), our eight entrants worked tirelessly to craft the perfect chili.   A host of other delectable treats were available to pair with the main event, from homemade cornbread to bacon-wrapped chicken, and perhaps most importantly, a number of delicious desserts.  It was quite a full spread, which was a good thing with so many members of the BPA family present!

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After an hour of intense chili-tasting by our esteemed group of judges, the results were in.  Winning the Most Creative award was Ryan Parsons with his Bourbon Spiked Chili while Spiciest went to the Kuck family for their aptly-named Hottie FooFoo. And our People’s Choice winner, by the margin of a single vote, went to Brad Valtman for his Cajun Sausage Chili.  While getting most of the office together at once is never an easy task, the first BPA Chili Cook-Off was certainly a success, and should prove to be a great new BPA tradition for years to come!

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