While most of our projects are for individuals or families, we also understand that each project we design exists within the greater context of the community. Community involvement creates meaning and balance for our office, and it enriches our design process. Not only do we view our projects with the perspective of the client, but also as part of the city, and the green building movement.

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Teamwork

Countertops are a big milestone for any project. One Saturday I had the time to watch the entire installation process. A very delicate stone was being delivered and installed. A 5’ x 10’ piece of stone is hard to handle, and this particular piece had natural fissures in it, and was susceptible to cracking. It had been cut and polished at the shop, and had been reinforced with ¼” steel strips on the back side. I had my fingers crossed as they unloaded it from the truck – 4 guys carefully easing it onto a pair of sawhorses.

They flipped the piece down, so it could be trimmed to fit exactly. You know the term – “it cut like butter”; the stone saw easily sliced off a tiny sliver of stone for a perfect fit. After rolling the slab inside the team carefully positioned it at the counter and then in a single motion tilted and slid the piece in place.

I held my breath, I had butterflies – for a moment there was nothing but suspense. This particular piece of stone had been carefully selected and composed. It was like a piece of art, it was fragile – there would be no second chances to get it right. And then in a few moments the counter was done.

What struck me most was the teamwork of the crew. With quiet voices and an easy manner, they hefted this heavy, unwieldy thing in to place perfectly. I never sensed a moment of tension or heard a raised voice. There was complete harmony, and I’m in awe of that. I’ve thought of craftsmanship as the skill of an individual; the ability to handcraft something perfect. To build a successful project, it’s not always about the skill of the individuals, but the teamwork. If only the whole world could function as well as the stone installation crew that morning. Kudos to Olympus Marble!

(We are big advocates for using man-made countertop materials; they are environmentally preferable to a quarried stone. But there are projects that only the beauty of natural stone can fulfill the design intent. When we use natural stone, it’s selected and detailed thoughtfully with the idea that it will be in place for many, many years to come.)