Surprise! I'm booked a spontaneous trip to Atlanta this weekend. I've played a little, worked a little, enjoyed some family time brunch and friend time shenanigans! So cheers to the South! I thought there is no better way to talk about about my 1st side job then seeing my inspiration in person!
Well, lets just say I think I can still see the imprints of the stool I sat in where I didn’t move and pretty sure I didn’t even get dressed. My kitchen counter became my workspace, my office and the dinner table.
My side job all started by having a coworker stop by my office and mention that his friend needed a conceptual image /rendering for a food market he was pitching as a new business. The image was going to be small in a 95-page document, so we could skip the small details. He needed to write up a small business plan and send it to the State Funding Agency. Monday morning was the deadline and well it was Friday afternoon. That weekend I skipped plans, cancelled working a wedding and focused entirely upon the success of completing my 1st side job. My friend didn’t know a ton about what was needed but regardless said he was in good hands with me and I should call my future client. Couldn’t thank him enough, if only I knew what I was getting myself into. I was out of practice with a design program called Sketch-Up and Photoshop (photo image editor program), but well here goes nothing. I made the 1st phone call shortly after leaving work and my client began to explain his vision of starting a food market with multiple vendors in the warehouse district of Albany.
Keeping with the existing structure of the building, as the saying goes; it has good bones but needed to some TLC. The exterior of one of the existing elevations had the perfect ability to add glass and establish a garage door style so in the summer months and cool evenings this concept could have a natural air flow with tables, benches and chairs outside.
When my client 1st explained his concept I immediately thought a coffee/bar in the main area surrounded by greenery and beautiful chandeliers, aluminum/metal tables that would fit the space perfectly . The vendors would be along the outsides of the interior space, which would include a bakery, burgers, pizza and authentic foods. As I began to design the space I had to take short breaks to figure out what command to use in Sketch-Up and to also refresh my memory. I started to have questions, lots of them. I typically design in the moment but slowly back away as my brain begins to design 15 steps ahead of me. I decided to call my client and start breaking down my ideas based on our conversation. The best and most exciting thing about design for me is working with others. Working closely with my clients gives me the ability to create a level of trust that continues throughout the job. I remember thinking we are on the same page but we weren't quite there yet. I was researching indoor markets in urban warehouse areas and my client was doing the same. We amusingly found ourselves sending the same mock images to each other, as we both developed more of an understanding of what he wanted to present. I can remember the hours going by slowly and each small design change took patiences and focus.
My Inspiration: Ponce City Market-Midtown Atlanta www.cntraveler.com (photo credit)
Going back into the design we started to showcase more of the existing structure, painting it red to brighten up the space. To make the design a reality, we started to develop fake names for the future vendors and how their menus and stations would look. We added wine and water bottles, as well as others. I began adding artificial light to the scene and tried to imagine myself in this space. Once we sent the last few images back and forth for review, I presented that we should show a sketchy version of the final image. Knowing that this rendering was just conceptual, adding the level of playfulness gave him an opportunity to talk and write more of the future potential it had.
A few weeks after the image was presented to the city, I received an email. It did well at the regional level and was competing for funding on the State level. My first 48 hour job hustle, to have been featured, approved and competes on the state level was pretty gratifying. It was a constant reminder that if you have a passion for something, you make it happen – regardless of the hours, the imprints on your wood floors, cancelling plans to be social, and, all in all, getting out of your kitchen stool. It was all worth it. Can’t wait for the next hustle… (oh and thanks coworker...sometimes you just need a few people to believe in your talent and your determination).