Every business should follow the mantra: Do Good Work, and people will notice. How? By supporting community projects and partnerships through simultaneous understanding.   

Today’s guest is Lisa Sauve, principal at Synecdoche Design Studio in Ann Arbor. Synecdoche is an award winning design-making architecture practice with more than 100 projects that merge the built environment with craft and fabrication. Lisa talks about how the studio applies its vision, mission, and mantra to select projects.  

Episode Highlights

  • 2:15 Story Behind Name: Synecdoche means simultaneous understanding.
  • 4:52 Real World Recession: Best reason to start a business.
  • 8:00 Entrepreneurial Spirit: Soldering circuit boards for software engineer father.
  • 10:11 Back-up Plans? Go back to school, teach what you know, and design lunchroom.
  • 11:07 Side Revenue Success: False starts for six years and signing lease for space.
  • 13:00 Mantra: Do Good Work by supporting community projects and partnerships.
  • 16:25 Vision Statement: Elevate mindset of Great Lakes region as design hub.
  • 16:48 Seed Money: Support community and university grants to start a project.
  • 18:05 Ann Arbor: Great place to start a business, design, and create something new.
  • 20:10 Projects: Say ‘no’ to stick to niche and create badass spaces that work.
  • 20:50 Bottom Line: Ask a lot of business questions to design space and solve problems.
  • 24:34 Perks and Performance Metrics: Design is value, not cost, to survive budget.
  • 27:45 Client Feedback: Authentic brand experience over aesthetics.
  • 29:10 Storytelling and Scenarios: Connect through open and unthreatening spaces.
  • 31:00 Passion for Bathrooms: Red Herring for design shortcuts?
  • 33:02 Inspiration: Materials stand in for scope, scalability, sliding scale/equity structure.
  • 38:35 Synecdoche: Yes, we care. So, you’ll know when you see it.
  • 39:30 Definition of Success: Being able to make an impact.
  • 40:24 Moments of Doubt: What’s my role? Am I working in or on the business?
  • 41:16 Failures/False Starts: Take risks and have no fear when there’s nothing to lose. 
  • 43:07 Easy and Hard Parts: Function as alternative practice before license to start.   

Links and Resources:

Lisa Suave on LinkedIn

Synecdoche Design Studio
Huck Finch

Life On Brand Webpage

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