Meaningful Design

When designing anything it must be functional and meaningful.  The photo below is a stop shot. That’s when I make whoever is driving stop the car so I can take a photo.  The architect probably used this 1960’s CMU pattern on many of their buildings back in the day.   But someone creative added the sweet colors so it caught my eye. Is it meaningful? Yes, it keeps the rain out of the inside of the building and heavily armed knights charging the wall with x-calibers.


It is easy to get caught up in design especially architecture and forget that people are actually going to use your design after you leave your new building or whatever you designed. The photos below are from the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.  I like this exhibit because it reminds the visitor of playing with cars.  I always like when collections of any kind are showcased.  To make it more meaningful and fun they could design a ramp and let you race cars. The orange track has the cars permanently mounted. Cool but too static and boring.

cars   cars_02   cars_03

 You need to look at the problem from a different angle or a different outfit.   Stepping back is a good way to do this.  Changing into flip flops and shorts could work too.   Ask a friend for their perspective.

chahuli chahuli_2

The Collections Cafe in Seattle is a great example of meaningful design. Forgive me for not listing the designer, whoever you are… Can I be you? You rock!  Suspended accordions, vintage transistor radios, and creepy yard sale poodle statues are all part of Dale Chihuly’s private collection.  Hence the name of the Cafe. Crazy I know! It was a sequential understanding of one artist’s work. First you start in the dark gallery where the glass art is the main focus. Then you have lunch at this cozy cafe and absorb visual clues of Chihuly’s inspirations for his work.  I could imagine him looking around at flea markets in hopes of finding another fishing lure for his extensive collection.


The menu design is wonderful too with a continuation of shapes and color.  The whole design package is a design win!




Lara Serbin

Lara Serbin is the founder of Serbin Studio. She has had continuous involvement in the design and construction industry since 1995, and worked in all phases of project management, programming, design, and construction administration. Lara has particular interest in conceptual design with respect to cost efficiency and energy conservation.

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One response to “Meaningful Design”

  1. JS says:

    I can just hear the accordions. I wish I was really small so I could drive all those little cars. Honey I shrunk the kids!