Working within different countries and cultures, holds no barriers when it comes to shaping someone else’s vision.
Working with architects, developers or basically those with a product to sell, we are all the same. We create products and services intended to stir a reaction in someone else that will hopefully get them to act ie. be persuaded through to making that commitment to buy.
When there is an appreciation of the project and the wider environment that it sits within, the only thing that separates us is water.
Lets look at the role of international CGI relationships working.
A recent project has been with Philip James Dodd Bespoke Residential Design, based in Connecticut, USA and their latest development in Palm Beach.
Phillip Dodd arrived in the US from the UK in 1996 on a one-year internship with a leading classical architect in New York. Over 20 years later, this is now firmly home. His practice specialises in designing classical and traditional high-end homes in Manhattan, Greenwich and Palm Beach. Phillip is also the author of The Art of Classical Details and An Ideal Collaboration. He is currently working on a new book on the Architecture of the Gilded Age in New York.
When relationships can grow overseas, they help set a precedent.
However, isn’t it always easier to find a local supplier? We asked Phillip why he decided to make that choice with a company over 3,000 miles away.
“A friend and old colleague, Ben Pentreath, recommend Architecture In Motion. This is where the connection started.”
“I specialise in classical and traditional residential design. In many circumstances, a huge component of this is the patina that you find, not just on old buildings, but also by using traditional materials. Whilst I had interacted with many visualisation specialists, the majority specialise in modern designs where everything is pristine and too perfect. Chris (Architecture In Motion) was the only person that was able to achieve the aesthetic I required.”
For a relationship to build when working overseas, one principal that has worked is the simple belief of keeping in touch. As Phillip commented, “Distance is relative.”
Perhaps the simplest advice is the best advice. Phillip continues, “I sent all the relevant information to Chris via Dropbox and then we communicated via email and phone conversations.” One thing to recognise is that we all have the tools, integrating your business internationally is already in place.
In the words of journalist and writer John Pomfret, “Working overseas is more difficult in that it’s much more complicated to get people to open their hearts to you and to tell you information.” This is true, the more we get to understand each other, the simpler the whole process becomes.
The Risk Element
If there was one part of the project we wanted to ask Phillip, was centred on this whole element of risk. Whilst we can liaise via email and regular communication, a lot of this project was faceless. Trust becomes a huge tool when it comes to working on a project that everyone is happy with. With that in mind, was there a certain level of apprehension when working with a company overseas?
Phillip highlighted, “There is always a learning curve – that getting to know you period. But as Chris had already worked with Ben (Pentreath), I knew that they were used to the level of demanding attention and detail I required.”
Going further, when it comes to architectural visualisation, is there an unease when there is not an appreciation of the local idiosyncrasies that a local company can have? Phillip responded, “The only element that I was apprehensive about ahead of time were the palm trees. These simply should not look too fake or cartoony. Any apprehension disappeared after Chris sent the draft of the first rendering. No palm trees were visible. Instead they cast a shadow of a palm tree on the lawn! It was so creative. It immediately set the scene. After that Chris had my full confidence. I realized that he had listened to my concerns.”
Building overseas working relationships naturally becomes attractive whilst the currency value of the pound stays low, despite Brexit having the greatest impact on investment and business activities in 2017 (according to KPMG).
Within the architectural visualisation industry, it is the role of the designer to take the role of the storyteller. This is what transcends any language or regional barrier. Phillip concludes, “The renderings were the paint brush that helped tell my story.”
For a project to be regarded as a success when working internationally, it is keeping simplicity at the core. From keeping the communication flow fluid, an understanding of the brief, empathy and the ability to interpret and deliver, does not matter where two people are in the world. When there is a shared enthusiasm, the end result is clear from the outset.