Podcast: The Business of Architecture 

In today’s digitised world, knowledge gaining and sharing have become much more accessible. Podcasts are a prevalent form of audio entertainment requiring little reading and energy. One popular podcast is The Business of Architecture, founded by Enoch Bartlett Sears. It is an informative business podcast to discover strategies behind running a fun, profitable architecture practice. The focus of their podcast is to discuss ways for architects and designers to create their dream architectural practice – giving themselves the power to design what they want and get paid for it! With their connections with leading designers, manufacturers, and public speakers from across the globe, this podcast is a must for any aspiring architect!

Industrial Design for the Built Environment with Billings Jackson Design

Among the numerous styles of architecture designers have created, practised, and mastered, industrial design is a popular one that is bold and impactful. It is an impressive style, much more than bare concrete walls. We see beautiful architectural examples all around us but don’t necessarily recognise the technical details that go into bringing the design to reality. The raw and unfinished details bring together an industrial design as an art. Billings Jackson Design is a unique industrial design firm that has mastered just that and a lot more. They work at the interface of construction and product manufacturing, aiming to enhance the overall built environment

In this informative episode of the podcast, Duncan Jackson and Eoin Billings, co-founders of Billings Jackson Design, talk about their business, its growth over twenty-plus years, and how the economy has affected their business. Joining them is Simon Kristak, the director of the firm’s New York office. They share insights into industrial design and its place in the industry. 

At Billings Jackson Design, they work with manufacturers and architects, creating a platform across which they transfer knowledge, understanding, and concepts. This knowledge is channelled into the building project. Their practice delves into using cutting-edge technology for materials, furniture design, lighting techniques, and much more. 

Podcast for Architects: Industrial Design for the Built Environment with Billings Jackson Design by Business of Architecture - Sheet1
Coriflex LED Continuous Row_©www.billingsjackson.com

Duncan, a furniture designer, and Eoin founded the firm in 1992, working on buildings and street furniture. Simon joined in 2003, and ever since, the company has been growing. Simon elaborates more on the scale of projects they work on. One of their recent ones is with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City. While renovating the old metro stations, Billings Jackson Design worked on curating a customer experience; they established prototypes of objects, information display boards, and signage that were kept constant across all stations. 

Podcast for Architects: Industrial Design for the Built Environment with Billings Jackson Design by Business of Architecture - Sheet2
MTA Station Improvement Project Package 1_©www.billingsjackson.com
Podcast for Architects: Industrial Design for the Built Environment with Billings Jackson Design by Business of Architecture - Sheet3
MTA Station Improvement Project Package 1_©www.billingsjackson.com
Podcast for Architects: Industrial Design for the Built Environment with Billings Jackson Design by Business of Architecture - Sheet4
NYC Wayfinding_©www.billingsjackson.com

Eoin talks about the stark reality of brimming ideas in the industry that die down without recognition as it lacks commercial investment. He reminisces about his father’s experience, who had designed numerous glazing systems but wasn’t recognised with a patent. In the past, their firm closely worked with manufacturers to produce ceramic tiles and cladding systems that weren’t produced. Eoin firmly believes that the role of a product designer is to create site-specific products. Any building or product should be designed while keeping the human experience as the core focus. Oftentimes, design is not perceived solely as a product of creative thinking but as a tool for stakeholders to take sides and solve conflicts amongst each other. It is a designer’s biggest nightmare, and eventually, the design loses its value. Billings Jackson Design always gets to the root of the design problem without associating it with layers of politics, stakeholders, opinions, and criticism. They aim to deliver a product that functions and serves just the way it should while harmonising it with the built environment. 

In any given project, they aim to remove all probable risks in design and implementation in manufacturing by paying attention to every detail. It helps make the entire project cost and quality predictable and standardised. They can boast of their expertise, right from design philosophy to getting designs approved by stakeholders. 

Attention to detail is key to a good customer experience. For example, even the smallest detail of a door handle that is easy to disregard can set the customer into a good or bad experience. It is the first thing a person would touch and feel as they enter any building, which sets the tone for the quality of the built environment. One of their biggest challenges has been to convince clients to stand out in a world that is comfortable with pre-designed products to avert risks. 

Without a doubt, Billings and Jackson have been recognized and awarded for many of their products. One such exceptional product is the SkyView Wellness Table Lamp. It is the first lamp to adapt BIOS SkyBlue circadian technology. Unlike artificial light that fails to synchronize with our body’s circadian rhythms, SkyView’s app allows users to customize the lamp with their personal sunrise and sunset times. This enables their product to produce the visual, emotional, and biological effects of being outdoors.  

Podcast for Architects: Industrial Design for the Built Environment with Billings Jackson Design by Business of Architecture - Sheet5
SkyView Wellness Table Lamp_©www.billingsjackson.com

With their goals set concretely, successful projects in their portfolio, and good relations in the industry, they are now an established industrial designer in this field. But every success needs to be measured to set a milestone for the next. Procurement costs, quality checks, maintenance regimes after 5 or 10 years (in long-term infrastructure projects), and design utility in alignment with the entire project are a few of the success criteria they use to analyse their stand in the design industry after every project. They ensure that they build long-term relationships with clients who come back to them for their next project – so they aren’t just as good as their last project but even better in the next one!

Citation:

Online Sources

The Business of Architecture : Industrial Design for the Built Environment with Billings Jackson Design, episode 363. (2021). [Broadcast, 2021]. Spotify, first transmitted 21 April 2021

Industrial Design for the built environment, Industrial design for the built environment. Available at: http://www.billingsjackson.com/ (Accessed: January 6, 2023). 

Author

Rhea is an architect by profession who believes that architecture is an intangible form of art that has the power to shape people’s life and surroundings. The relationship between built and unbuilt spaces intrigues her. She is a curious person with a love for art and its various forms of expression. She has a keen interest in travel, photography, and music.

Write A Comment