Q&A with Chioco Design!

Q&A with Chioco Design!

Laure Joliet
Jul 22, 2008

Adrienne brings us an interview with the designer behind the Galaxy Cafe, check it out and tell us what you think!

Owner Jamie Chioco, the lead designer behind the dynamic Austin design firm Chioco Design, is leading the charge of great Austin design with amazing commercial and residential projects. If the name Chioco sounds familiar, it's because I featured one of Jamie's great designs, Galaxy Cafe, earlier last week. The work coming out of Chioco design is warm, modern, detailed and progressive. Jamie graciously offered to answer some questions about his company to give a peak into the inner workings of an amazing Austin design company.

When did the company start and why?
I started practicing on my own July of 2005. I made the decision to leave my previous architecture firm because I wanted to take control of my future and for the chance to really challenge myself.

Who's on the team?
I have one full time employee named JD Clark. He's a graduate of the University of Oklahoma (same as me) and has been a real asset . He's young and excited about the work. When you're excited about the work it makes everything easier.

When Chioco Design first gets a project, how does the brainstorming take place?
At a projects start I always begin by listening to the client explain in as much detail as possible what their goals are for the project. It's my job to ask the right questions and to inform and educate myself regarding the subject...if it's a home I try to understand how they exist in the present home and how they want to live in the future. Gaining an insight into their personal aesthetics is another priority. I don't know where to take them unless I know where they've been.

How do you guys work best? Out in the field, collaborating, high strung or laid back?
Since it's a small firm I try to give JD as much responsibility as possible. That means not only contributing to the design but also producing the working drawings, building computer models, researching materials and list goes on. We have to juggle several projects at once and that can be stressful but I would say the office is pretty laid back.

If your firm had a manifesto, what would it be?
How about a few statements from our firm profile: Chioco Design is a firm concerned with creativity and the economics of designing and making architecture and interiors. Our residential and commercial projects explore challenges unique to site, program, material and environmental and economic issues. We investigate solutions that are inventive, honest, and responsive to the entire scope of challenges presented by a project. Collaboration during the design and construction process is essential for success independent of a projects' scope.

What's been the hardest thing your company has had to face so far (design wise or business wise)?
The most difficult challenge for us is deciding when and how to grow. It's hard to predict where the economy will go in the near future so I'm constantly asking myself as a small company, can we take on another project without losing quality or do I need to hire another person?
If the walls could talk, how would they describe a typical day in the life of Chioco Design?
A typical day is me trying to assess the progress of each current project as on any given day we will have four or more truly active projects in all stages of design or construction. I will normally discuss what JD will be working on and what has the highest priority. Then we work. Sharing offices with two other design firms is always interesting and much more social. It's an open studio environment so there's always a buzz. Simultaneous client meetings, in-house design sessions, presentations, random dogs running around the office are the norm.

What's the best thing about being a design company in Austin?
Being a designer in Austin is exciting and fulfilling because the city is really growing at an amazing pace. Being a part of that and designing successful projects is important.

Where do you see the firm in 10 years?
Austin has been my home for thirteen years and I don't see that changing in the next ten. I want to be able to expand the scale of my projects. To do that I'll have to bring in more talented people. As long I we can continue to produce good, honest projects I'll be happy.

Favorite project so far?
That's a really difficult question. I would have to say any new project...I get excited about the prospect of new work and ideas.

You can learn more about Jamie Chioco's Chioco Design and see great photos of previous and in progress works on their website. And check out the post on The Galaxy Cafe.

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