October 1, 2014

Meet Sai Sinbondit

If there is such a thing as the most interesting man in the world, Sai Sinbondit deserves serious consideration. A graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture (MArch ’07) and the University of Toledo with honors in Painting and Printmaking (BFA ’04), Sai is the rare designer with a technical fine arts training. Sai's childhood experiences and background in art deeply influence his design sensibilities.


Drawing by Sai Sinbondit from "Between Thoughts… Notes on an Architecture of Development: Sai Sinbondit at William Busta Gallery, Jan 4-Feb 9 2013".[flickrvideo]

Born in Thailand, Sai emigrated with his family to the United States as a young child. After settling in a Mennonite community in Northwest Ohio, he proceeded to live various states around the county, before eventually returning to Ohio for college.  Additionally, before his art and design career Sai spent extensive time working for humanitarian NGO relief organizations around the world including UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and USAID. Sai’s humanitarian relief work, which inspired him to be a designer, included work in countries such as Turkey, El Salvador, his native Thailand, India, France, Italy, and the Darfur region of what is now South Sudan. Sai's childhood experiences, travels and art background continue to shape his design approach. 

Refugee Camp in Darfur (South Sudan) taken in 2006 by Sai Sinbondit

Untitled ('12) Watercolor by Sai Sinbondit

Watch this video to learn more about Sai's background and design philosophies:


Sai’s work is interested in the relationships between people, culture, systems, technology, and the registration of time. By believing that architecture and art are not removed from politics, but rather are generators of change. Having exhibited nationally in museums and galleries, with numerous art works in private collections, Sai was honored to receive the 2011 Creative Workforce Fellowship form the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. As an Adjunct Professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Sai teaches the next generation of designers and artists to think broader and bolder.

Let’s hear more from Sai:

Favorite building / space / place in Northeast Ohio?

South Bass Island Park

I really enjoy camping, fly fishing and being closing to the Great Lakes. Especially in the fall when the leaves are changing colors and everything is in a state of transition. It’s a very beautiful place and most importantly, quiet.

South Bass Island Beach, Ohio

Hidden Talent:

Kite making & Ice cream making.

I can make really good ice cream. I’m sure it probably has to do something with growing up across the road from a dairy farmer, who in the summer, I would go visit almost every day. Plus, I just enjoy eating it.

Kite making would be my other hidden talent. Not sure where that came from, almost remember making one out of odds and ends that were lying around…such as the doll clothes of my sisters.

Hobbies When You Are Off the Clock:

When possible, I enjoy fly-fishing, drawing and playing soccer. Other than drawing, I enjoy doing anything outside. From fly-fishing, playing soccer to working with Habitat for Humanity.

Your Alternate Reality Career:

Sai's Alternate Career would be being a first line responder to humanitarian crises around the world via the UN's HRD.

United Nations Frontline Responder. Enjoy leveraging my background and design training to help people in need. Also, enjoy being part of a larger conversation with different people, culture, places around the world.

Your Ideal Dinner with One Architect or Designer?

I know we’re supposed to pick one, but since this is ideal and I can’t decide, I’d sit down with both Edward Tufte and Neri Oxman from Mediated Matter at some remote beach in southern Thailand, sharing a large plate of calamari and beer.

The discussion would revolve around ideations, from process to materiality & fabrication technology and their capacities through design to influence social issues, such as globalization, humanitarian relief, customization of mass production, poverty, etc…

An Edward Tufte Classic

Neri Oxman is shown before a prototype for an environmental screen, Fibonacci’s Mashrabiya, work inspired by fractal patterns found in nature. Photo: Len Rubenstein

Bonus: Favorite designed object …let’s say back the beginning of 2013?

Anything that comes out of UNFOLD Design Studio, a small design group out of Oslo, Norway. The critical thinking and process that you can see through the work is wonderful.

Ceramic 3D Printed Objects designed and made by UNFOLD Design Studio

January 29, 2014

So You Want To Build a Culinary School?

Dollar signs ($$,$$$,$$$) are what every College administrator imagines at the mention of a new Culinary Arts Program. Its launch may be one of, if not the most costly investment an institution of higher learning can make. For these reasons and more, its recipe must be artfully constructed with consideration given to both the end user and community’s palettes. Its conception must be artfully balanced to satisfy the institution’s curriculum needs, the technologically entrenched student user’s expectations and prospective donor philanthropic objectives. The development of such a facility affords opportunities for public outreach, rectifying existing campus master planning shortfalls, and the development of synergistic opportunities between existing internal and external College partnerships.

The May Company Building Store Front

The May Company Building in downtown Cleveland, OH is home to both Cuyahoga County Community College's Hospitality Management Centeand acclaimed restaurant Pura Vida.

At first glance, the creation of a new or revival of an existing culinary arts program appears self-contained and finite, when in fact it is quite the contrary. Many of a College’s existing facilities can and should be evaluated for their potential symbiotic relationships with your new culinary facility.  Its only when your perspective elevates to 20,000 feet do these synergies truly reveal themselves.  Performing art centers, conferencing centers, sports facilities, central food service, public programming, are all venues that can take advantage of and enhance a culinary program/facility. This new facility, in addition to fulfilling its primary use teaching the culinary arts, can provide the college with a marketable team-building outreach center, special event pre-function space, or an elegant on-campus restaurant to aid in its fund-raising endeavors.

LCCC Culinary Demonstration Kitchen

Demonstration Kitchen with smart classroom technology for distance learning at Lorain County Community College Ben & Jane Norton Culinary Arts Center

In addition, this investment must exploit the potential of each space beyond its original program and consider the opportunities to utilize its physical environs for alternate educational offerings. Flexible and well-planned teaching kitchens may convert to an A-La-Carte kitchens, with a simple equipment reconfiguration, to service gala events being held in the culinary school’s new multi-purpose lounge/lecture hall/special event space. Accessory spaces normally considered off limits to students should now be seen as invaluable educational tools in support of your new culinary curriculum. Shipping and receiving areas, for example, can serve as a working sanitation and safety labs, or prep kitchens, where students attain first-hand experience receiving, inventorying, cleaning, and prepping food product. Better yet, your new program could celebrate the locally grown food movement with the inclusion of a greenhouse/garden adjacent to or on top of your new facility showcasing the advantages of locally grown produce, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of sustainable building design.

Pura Vida Restaurant Kitchen

Cuyahoga County Community College's Downtown Hospitality Management Center shares space with noted Cleveland restaurant, Pura Vida (pictured here). Having a professional kitchen adjacent and visible to culinary school students provides additional opportunities for students to be inspired, learn, and engage.

You can now imagine that these students, your students, graduate from a program with more than just the traditional culinary education but one with innovative business practices at its core, an embedded understanding of the benefits of local sustainable food communities with a creative approach that these prospective employees associate with added value.

Ben & Jane Norton Culinary Arts Center - Exterior

Exterior View of the LCCC Ben & Jane Norton Culinary Arts Center at dusk.

This post was authored by Bialosky Cleveland Principal Mark Olson, AIA, LEED AP For more info: View this video produced by Lorain Community College with students, professors, and professionals discussing the opening of the Ben & Jane Culinary Arts Center and the launching of LCCC's Culinary Arts Program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZmZZQOJs9w Cuyahoga Community College offers a similar video with background on their program, focusing on the downtown Cleveland Hospitality Management Center and the Eastern Campus HMC programs, which were both designed by Bialosky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0iOeGQdoME

December 23, 2013

Meet Heather Ruwe

Heather Ruwe is an interior designer at Bialosky + Partners Architects, Cleveland.

Heather Ruwe has worked in New York, San Francisco and Chicago – and can now add Cleveland to the list! As our newest interior designer, Heather brings a background to the office covering the whole spectrum of interior design, including brand development and on-going client relationships. Already Heather has an incredibly versatile background in interior design: She’s done financial corporations. She’s done high end restaurants. She’s done underwear boutiques. But she speaks most fondly of the client Brown Forman, one of the kings in the wine and spirits business. In its fifth generation, the client worked with Heather when she worked at BHDP to sharpen and envision interiors/branding. All over the occasional lunchtime cocktail, of course! Her breadth of experience began with the University of Cincinnati College of Architecture, Art, and Planning’s  (DAAP) Co-Op program . For those unfamiliar with the DAAP’s School of Architecture and Interior Design, co-ops (aka internships) are built into the program. Coursework and real on-the-job experience alternates on a quarterly basis, which Heather found invaluable. She graduated in 2010 with a BS in Interior Design. While it is a rigorous program (DAAP's ID program recently ranked #1 in the country by DesignIntelligence), she had managed to squeeze in some unique elective courses. Namely, a course centered on tea and its origins and place in culture – taught by just the sort of instructor you would expect by a small, petite women who loved floral prints and all things British culture - basically the whole nine yards! A Stow native, Heather now lives in Lakewood with her husband, who is in the medical field. We asked her a few extra questions that we think you’ll enjoy. She’s given them quite some thought. Favorite Designed Object of 2013: Kinematics, Nervous System’s 4D Printed Jewelry.

Nervous System's Kinematics project is an example of luxurious 4D printing- and Heather's favorite designed object to come out of 2013.

(from dezeen.com)

I think the progress that has been made over the past few years with 3D printing is incredible and to see that they have come up with a way to 3D print flexible structures is amazing. The forms that Nervous System has created are really unique and actually pretty wearable.  Hidden Talent: I’m an Organizational Mastermind. I am way too organized for my own good. I have a place for everything and can fit more items into a closet or a suitcase than you probably should. Because of this, I tend to be a little over prepared for any situation, hence earning me the nickname Studio Mom in design school.  Your Alternate Reality Career: Jimmy Fallon’s Puppy Keeper.

"Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon interviews the winning New England Patriots puppy - in a parallel universe, Heather would care for the other 31 pups backstage. (from TODAY.com)

If you have never watched Late Night with Jimmy Fallon before, you probably don’t know that he has a segment on his show called Puppies Predict where he puts out multiple bowls of dog food with Oscar nominees, sports teams, presidential candidates, etc. names on the bowls and then sends out multiple golden retriever puppies to see which bowl of dog food they will choose, therefore predicting who will win the game, race, etc. I think Jimmy Fallon is hilarious and I have a soft spot for golden retriever puppies so I love this segment and have decided that if I could, I would be the keeper of the puppies. Someone has to take care of them when they are on the set, right?!  Your Ideal Dinner With One Architect or Designer: Kristina O’Neal from AvroKO.

W Bangkok – the Kitchen Table by AvroKO and SODA. Ideally, Heather would meet Kristina O'Neal here for a dinner with some razzle-dazzle. (www.indesignlive.sg)

They focus mainly on restaurant and hospitality work but the way they are able to take a concept and fully integrate it into a restaurant design down to the glassware and packaging is spectacular. You can walk into any of their spaces and easily understand the vision behind it. They have an office in Bangkok so we would go to one of the restaurants they designed there. I would want to ask her about where they pull inspiration from for their projects and their design process. I would also love to know more about the evolution of their company and how it has gone from an architecture and interiors firm to developing furniture lines and owning their own restaurants.  Bonus: Non-Architect/Designer: Hmmm…this one is tough. Probably Regina Spektor. I love her music and her songs are so bubbly and sometimes comical that I think we would have a pretty entertaining conversation.

October 31, 2013

NOMA Cleveland Begins its Resurgence

The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) is centered on building a strong national organization, strong chapters, and strong members in order to drive design professionals to minimize discrimination in the industry. And the Cleveland Chapter is aiming to do just that – the unofficial chapter’s membership has declined over the years, and is suiting-up for its comeback. In the midst of becoming official, the chapter is doing the prep-work for becoming a strong foundation to motivate minority involvement in Northeast Ohio politics, civic forums, and youth mentorship programs. Branding and awareness is a big part of that. Earlier this year, our very own James Cowan started re-branding the Cleveland Chapter of NOMA. I sat down with James for a long-awaited interview about his role in reviving NOMA in Cleveland. HD: How did you stand-out from the crowd to be selected as the designer? JC: At the beginning of the NOMA meetings, we just began to delegate responsibilities. The members knew I had previous experience in creating other brands for Cleveland businesses, and enjoy graphic design as something extracurricular.

James' re-branding of the Cleveland Chapter of NOMA.

HD: What parameters did NOMA give for their new logo? What was the number one priority in the design? JC: “Just go at it” is what they said. The members gave me creative license with the design, and stressed the goal of creating an impactful identity. We have amazing origins, starting with Cleveland native Robert P. Madison, the first black registered architect in Ohio, and who has trained and mentored about 200 minority architects in his lifetime. At 90, he is still furthering awareness of African American history and culture, and continuing to build/shape a new Cleveland. NOMA Cleveland’s brand should resonate that “Cleveland is back”, and capture this recent resurgence. Early on, NOMA members liked the idea of incorporating the familiar “CLE” that has come to represent a love and pride of Cleveland. That became the one known in the composition. HD: And the design process? Does it start with pencil and paper? JC: I start with lists. I listed what pops out when I think about Cleveland, looking for strong iconic structures. The Detroit Superior Bridge, the lake, the Terminal Tower. I sketch it out, scan it, and then go to Photoshop/ Illustrator. After a design, I usually walk away from it for a few days, and come back to look at it with fresh eyes.  I started with a complex design, using the bridge and the tower, knowing down the line it would be edited down. I review them with the chapter, and we boiled down the design to something clear and minimal. HD: When can we expect the chapter logo to roll out? JC: It is already being implemented in our letterheads, and the more complex version may still be used for t-shirts and the like. We quickly wanted this branding in place and set for new members. It is all about bringing awareness of NOMA to the region; it’s exciting be a part of increasing NOMA’s visibility.

January 25, 2013

33rd Annual Scholastic Art and Writing Contest

This year I was honored to be asked to judge for the 33rd Annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers identifies teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience.  Having submitted my work in middle school and high school it was very interesting to be on the other side of the curtain. I judged the categories of architecture, design & digital art and saw some truly excellent pieces! See for yourself as the top 650 individual works will be on view from January 14 until February 2 at the Reinberger Gallery at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Gold Key Winners across the U.S. will move forward to the national competition in New York City. http://www.cia.edu/events/2013/01/scholastic-art-writing-awards-exhibition - Savannah Dugan

Bialosky Announces Transition Plan