Episode 29 Echo Architecture + Interiors

Echo Architecture + Interiors
27th, 2021
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Interviews, Podcast
27th, 2021
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
Categories: Interviews, Podcast
echo architecture interior design - colorado springs
Our niche is not necessarily certain project types, but just creating really great deigns for really great clients and cultivating this culture that's really starting to explode in Colorado Springs.
Courtney Wilson, Echo Architecture + Interiors

Architect Scott Schuster and Interior Designer Courtney Wilson are partners at Echo Architecture + Interiors, a design studio based in Colorado Springs. Echo is in the art of telling stories through design — creating timeless, yet unexpected, spaces that enrich the community, embody local culture, and emphasize sustainability. That mission comes to life through new constructions, renovations, and custom design projects for life, work, and play.

In this episode, hear how the designers at Echo have played a hands-on role in cultivating the Colorado Springs community and shaping the local landscape through intentional and inspirational design.

Listen to our conversation for an intimate look at architecture that goes beyond the brick and mortar. For more impactful stories, visit our full library of interviews.


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Joe: Hi there. I’m Joe Dudeck, president and founder of Keyhole Marketing.

Shannon: And I’m Shannon Jirik. I work for Keyhole as the assistant brand manager.

Joe: And this is Metaphorically Speaking, a podcast that explores the mysterious side of marketing.

Shannon: Hello, and welcome to metaphorically speaking. You were in for a treat on this episode. We just had a really inspiring conversation with two of the three partners at echo architecture and interiors located in Colorado Springs. So we got to talk with Courtney Wilson. Who’s an interior designer at echo and Scott Schuster. Who’s an architect over there.

Joe: Yeah. We would have loved to talk to Ryan Lloyd, the owner of echo architecture and interiors, but they’ve had a pretty full plate since really, since COVID they never really shut down. They were in a central business. So he was inundated with all the work that they’ve had, which is a great, great problem to have for sure.

Shannon: Yeah. Good for them. Yeah. It was a neat connection for us to make, we just got finished talking with Bobby over at kinship landing. So if you haven’t listened to that episode, you can check that one out. But echo is actually the firm that designed kinship landing. So just kind of a neat kind of small world connection that we were able to make there.

Joe: Yeah. I just love like what a cool job to be able to live in your community, drive the streets and like play a role in changing the landscape. You can just really put your thumbprint on the community and change the vibe, the, feel the look just with your job. And I think what a cool, what a cool role to play.

Shannon: Absolutely. It was so cool to just listen to them. Talk about how intentional they are with those designs and everything is site specific and considers landscape considers community values, consider safety. You know, there’s so many things that they have to really think about that I would never consider when I walk into a space, you know, I see, oh my goodness, this looks beautiful. And I feel a certain way, but there’s so much more to that conversation that happens on their end behind the scenes. So just a really, really neat profession for sure. Yeah.

Joe: Yeah. You could tell that they just think deeply about their roles. You know, they don’t just dive in quickly to the work. They don’t just grab their Crayola cran off the shelf or whatever they use. Clearly I’m mad already for this role.

Shannon: Yeah. Stay where you’re at, keep your day job.

Joe: But they, you know, they just really take a lot of time and attention to get to know the client and get to know the people who are, who will interact with the space and just are very intentional about the final deliverable. And I just, you could just tell that in their answers, they’re just well-spoken and deep thinkers, and I’m sure that comes through in their work well,

Shannon: And we love them too, because they played with Legos as kids. So naturally we’re going to connect. Exactly. So thank you again to Courtney and Scott for talking with us, really enjoyed this conversation and hope that you guys do as well.

Joe: So I love to hear a little bit from both of you, Scott and Courtney of just your roads to Colorado Springs. I believe I saw neither one of you. I think Courtney you’re from the Midwest or at least you went to college in the Midwest. And I think Scott, you went to college in Kansas, so not too far away, but I’d love to hear a little bit of how you ended up here in Colorado and specifically Colorado Springs.

Scott: Okay, great. Well, I’ll start first and yes, you’re right. I did go to school in Kansas state Manhattan, Kansas, although I’m not from Kansas, I’m actually from Florida, but both my parents have strong roots and the Midwest. So it made a lot of sense for me to move out there and have some, some good years of my grandparents. And from there, it was actually, I came through Denver to figure out where I wanted to go and live and start a career. And so I’ve met a friend from architecture school in Denver and lived with him for a few months to figure that out and never left. And so I ended up working at Denver and practicing for about four years and then met my wife.

And she was the catalyst for me actually moving down to Colorado Springs. She had been here for a number of years and we met and when our dating became more serious and we were looking to start a life together, it certainly made more sense for me to be the one to move down. And so I certainly didn’t have big architectural ambitions or had any idea of what that would mean for kind of a career path. It was just a way to start our life together and, you know, having some degree of faith that we would figure that side of it out as we went. That’s awesome.

Courtney: Yeah. So I’m actually from a really small little farm town in Illinois population. I grew up in a town called Papa Illinois population of just over 800, so very small in the middle of nowhere, but did kind of branch out and, you know, moved away from home for college. So I went to undergrad and got my bachelor’s at SIU, Southern Illinois university in Carbondale. So that was a big step cause it was, you know, five and a half hours from home. And then I actually went on to grad school in Savannah, Georgia and went to Savannah college of art and design spent two years there and I had been dating my husband, my current husband.

And he was actually in the army at the time when I was in grad school. So we had a long distance relationship for a few years there. And he was actually stationed out here in Colorado Springs at Fort Carson. So once I graduated grad school, who was kind of my, my motive to move out here and be with my husband and all of that good stuff. And yeah, the rest is kind of just fallen into place ever since then, this, this is the first job that I had when I moved out here working with Ryan. So I, I got really lucky that I was able to, to, to find him and kind of start that, start that journey.

And you know, we’ve just, we’ve loved the city ever since, you know, just moving here and my husband’s not in the army anymore. He’s been out for about four or five years now, but we just really see ourselves in this community. So we haven’t left and now it’s just growing from there.

Joe: That’s awesome. You don’t pine for going back to the Midwest anytime soon,

Courtney: You know, it’s always nice to visit. I can’t say I necessarily see myself moving back there, but you, you never know. You never know where the, where life is going to take you, so yeah,

Joe: For sure. My brother who lived out here for years, also from the Midwest, he used to always say the Midwest is always a great place to be from you have those wholesome, wholesome roots. My family, I have some family in Indiana still. So we go back there and have done a couple of road trips this last year with COVID instead of flights and stuff. But yeah, we, we started scaping mountains out here a lot more for sure. What are some of your earliest memories of marketecture, interior design kind of meaning something significant to you, whether it was a childhood experience or things that you used to do as a kids, or maybe didn’t resonate till later in life?

Scott: That’s a, that’s a great question. And most people ask if we played with Legos, which I think every kid, every kid did that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to be an architect, but I didn’t, I guess understand that this could be a good career path for me until I was probably midway through high school. And I didn’t really even know until I was in college. Really what an architect even did. You know, I think a lot of people see movies and romantic comedies and, you know, they kind of paint a different picture of the, kind of the reality actually what we do day to day. But yeah, I think I, I first caught onto that just I loved art and took a lot of our classes during, during school.

And it was also, you know, fairly technical too, and, and kind of on the math side of things, which, you know, we don’t actually do math much, but it seemed to be the, the kind of the perfect way to merge kind of art and science and, you know, just, I think the idea of, of having community impact and having kind of a lasting the senior work last, you know, had a big draw for me as well. So I, yeah, from that point on, I was sort of on a track all the way through and, you know, went to architecture school and from there I’ve been practicing really ever since.

Courtney: Yeah. I, I’m not really sure. I have a vivid memory of kind of when it, when it really clicked, I was definitely a kid who played with Legos as well, such a great, such a great toy as a kid and learning tool. And I mean, honestly, I kind of blindly, I guess, went into a major of an interior design when I went to undergrad. Also not really knowing exactly, exactly what it was or, or how that might shape things in the future and just kind of had a feeling that it would be something that would be enjoyable.

And I mean, it it’s turned out to be amazing. And I, as I, you know, went through school, I think just having that connection to creating meaningful spaces for people and places for people that was kind of the, the thing that’s become my driver and just, you know, really being able to, to shape physical environments for, for others and kind of create this story in a different, unique way, depending on the person, the place, the clients, the project.

So that’s kind of, that’s how it kind of transformed, I guess, in my, in my eyes.

Joe: I love that. Yeah, of course we love telling stories here. So just in a different way for you, for both of you be able to do that, that’s, that’s beautiful. Is there a specific I’m kind of like this broad, is there a specific era or person, or I don’t know, civilization that, that kind of inspired you, you know, whether it’s an architect or an interior designer or, you know, the mid century time period or the Roman civilization, I dunno. I’m just giving you a, some very stands out where you’re like, I kind of feel like I was leaning into this I’m creating and it always gives, leaves me with inspiration and creative input.

Scott: Yeah, that, that’s, that’s a great question too, for me personally, I mean, I have a love of history and so I think I’ve always had an interest in just a ever-changing story of, of humans and, and our built environment. I don’t know if there’s any one civilization or time period that really kind of sparked an interest in it. It’s all fascinating to me, but as far as I, maybe more of a direct shaping of kind of where our work and our design aesthetic goes, you know, I really fell in love with the classic modernist Nessus, the era of , you know, in America, you know, everybody was Frank Lloyd Wright, but, you know, they really kind of charted the path to really where we are still today building upon sort of the, kind of the minimalist clean, elegant designs and structural systems.

And so, so, yeah, and, and those guys also, I think, took a holistic approach to design that I think we still tend to strive for, with, we’re not just designing the shell of a building or the interior as they designed really everything inside and out, down to the furniture.

Joe: Yeah. We lived in Chicago for a while. We used to go to Frank Lloyd Wright’s house and loved there’s certain rooms in that space that I just loved just standing in for so long. And what you just mentioned there, particularly the furniture taken in some of those designs, it wasn’t just the walls and the windows. It was everything, every small detail and really just brought you into that space and transfixed me and held me there for, for many, many minutes and visited many times. So I can totally relate to that.

Scott: Yeah. The fact that, you know, it’s still relevant today is a Testament to, you know, their, their talent that it’s standing the test of time. And it’s pretty, pretty amazing work and data without computers in our modern software to help them to

Joe: Yes, good point.

Courtney: Yeah. And I would say I’m right there, kind of with Scott, as far as, you know, time periods and other designers that, that you kind of resonate with. It’s, it’s also kind of just that functionality in the design that, that just really, it’s so simple yet functional that whole form follows function type of mantra. Right. There’s just something about that that just helps to create these more timeless environments and spaces and buildings. And I think, you know, for something that’s, that’s gonna be with us for years and decades to come, that’s just so important.

Like only, not only from like an aesthetic standpoint, but just from that sustainability aspect as well, you know, for, for designs to be, you know, 100% trendy, it’s, it’s, it’s a trend, right. It’s not gonna, it’s not going to be there to last and you’re going to end up, you know, remodeling or building a new building or something after that trend timeframe has passed. So to be able to, to kind of hone in and create these intentional designs and spaces, I think is just really, really important.

Joe: Yeah, for sure. For sure. One last question, just to just getting to know you personally a little bit more, and then we’ll dive into more the business related questions, but I think about my childhood and when there’s a space that really resonated with me was this, if you remember the Studebaker cars, there was this warehouse, I grew up in south bend Indiana, and that’s where they built the Studebaker cars in the forties and fifties. And I had access through my dad’s job to go through the warehouse and just walk through there as a kid. And most of it was shut down and not safe to walk through, but there was many places where you could just these old industrial windows and these long corridors and a lot of broken glass and all kinds of remnants from the past on the floor.

And I just always was so drawn to that space. It really kind of just helped me feel all the feelings, even though I know what they were, I just, just felt really comfortable and safe in that space. Are there places like that spaces like that, that provoke you in certain ways, whether it’s places that you design or even not even buildings or spaces, maybe it’s nature and things like that, just ways that things that really kind of engage you on a deeper level.

Scott: Yeah, that’s actually a difficult question because, you know, somebody, things do impact us and I liked what you mentioned, just that, you know, you, you felt emotion walking through that space. And I think that’s, that’s something that good architecture always strives to do is really, you know, we can impact people’s how they feel and experience space, which I think is really pretty interesting for me. I would say just pure emotion, something I’d feel I spent some time in Italy in Arctic school and I studies abroad and just feeling walking that past and these little medieval towns and winding streets and, you know, knowing that, you know, these buildings were there, you know, a thousand years ago, it was pretty, pretty, pretty amazing.

Courtney: Yeah. I feel like I draw a lot of inspiration from a variety of different places and I don’t think I have kind of my go-to necessarily something that really kind of calls in, but I do find myself being drawn to more kind of Daljit kind of items and it might not even be something that I’m personally connected to, but I’m like, I love kind of going and thrifting and just cruising through vintage antique shops and things like that.

And it’s something about the story that you don’t even know about these items that you’re seeing. That’s just super intriguing to me. And it’s, it’s almost like little time capsules of someone else’s someone else’s feelings and emotions and stories and life and these things. And, and I guess I, I’m definitely someone who cherishes and treasures kind of family heirlooms and things like that. So there’s those types of, of items that hold a special place in my heart.

Scott: And just to add to that too, you know, we, we designed for buildings to be site-specific and really they should be for that particular place and location and point in time. And really they’re only, and so I, I feel like the kind of on the flip side, the landscape is really something that I love and just, you know, we talked about the Midwest and kind of on a bike strolling through the countryside and just seeing these rolling Hills and just seeing what, you know, people in different time periods built as a result, but everywhere you go Colorado and Midwest, the Southwest, you know, kind of has its own its own magic and its own its own sense of place.

Joe: Yeah, for sure. And you’re both touching on some questions. I look forward to ask in a few minutes. Talk about speaking about the business. I know you’re both partners at echo. I’d love to hear a little bit of first, how you got connected to Ryan Lloyd, the founder of, of echo. And, and then as much as you’re able to share from your vantage points, you know, how this business came to be, what sort of inspired him and pushed him to, to hit go on, on a business like this.

Scott: Sure, sure. And I’ll, I’ll speak to that first, but yeah, Ryan Lloyd is the founder of echo architecture and he is currently tending to our many projects today. So it’s, according to I are here joining you, but Ryan and I actually have a similar story and start and Colorado Springs, we came the same year, moved with our families, or actually I moved down. He moved with his family from Denver the same year and started a new firms down here. So I actually interviewed with the firm he joined, which was a firm that was based out of Nebraska of all places and had opened a satellite office here in town.

And I have joining another firm just across the street from him, but, you know, four months after we both started the recession of 2008 was in full swing and just devastated construction and architecture and engineering. So his satellite office closed and they went back to Nebraska and left Ryan to finish up a handful of other projects, but that was the catalyst for him. You know, we have a kind of a romantic notion of kind of the architect charting out to design his own creations. And, and I’m sure that happens. But in this case it was necessity for Ryan. He had just moved down, bought a house.

And so he began taking on really any work he could to stay busy and small projects to start. And, you know, home renovation here, you know, somebody back to some small commercial space and every project led to the next and to the next. And you know, he slowly grew from there and hired his first employee and second third, and it’s been pretty amazing to see what he’s done in the last 12 years. And the point that I joined him, I I’ve been there now for five years, but I knew Ryan back to probably 2010, we met and got along great.

And you know, it’s a small town and especially a small town in the design industry. So we really hit it off and seemed to have, you know, similar attitudes and visions and kept in touch over the years. And the firm that I had been at, you know, had numerous rounds of layoffs and I was lucky enough to survive those. But at some point I became just burnout and was ready for a change. And the timing was right with Ryan’s work and made the leap and one of the best decisions I ever made.

Courtney: And I moved out here in 2013 from straight from Savannah, Georgia out here at that point, you know, this was going to be my first, my first step into the professional realm right out of school. And so I was kind of really just trying to find anything I could, I knew I was going to be in Colorado Springs. My husband was out here. I had to find something. So I was really just cold calling every firm that I could get ahold of out in the Springs and kind of the surrounding areas, trying not to have to make the commute to Denver because I knew that was going to be a total nightmare on a daily basis.

But, but yeah, I had just been reaching out to every single farm that I could, that I could pull up on Google and Ryan from echo popped up and I had sent him an email, getting a few with hiring and not even really knowing that at the time he was just really a two man shop at that point. He might’ve actually just been himself. So yeah, he, funnily had just kind of put out an ad looking for an interior designer, which I had not come across, but he, he called me back and, you know, had ended up hiring me.

And I started like two months after we had our interview session and I was his second employee. So there was a guy who started, you know, just a month before I did. So we were kind of the, the echo crew of three and 2013. And yeah, from there, like Scott mentioned this just kind of grown and blossomed from that point.

Joe: And yeah, years later it’s really, especially this day and age, that’s really a Testament of the quality of the firm. I think a lot of people in really any industry to jump around and find different opportunities, but the fact that you stayed there so long, it says a lot about the requirement.

Courtney: Yeah. And I don’t know if I really had any expectations exactly for, you know, what I was going to be getting into, but you know, the work that I saw on the website and I am website, you know, I thought it was really cool. It was kind of interesting and unique and, you know, stuff that I, I hadn’t really even seeing other firms in town kind of doing. So that was definitely an intriguing point for me and kind of got me excited to have that opportunity and yeah.

Joe: Yeah. What’s stood out to you, Scott, when you were looking, obviously, as Courtney said, there’s a little bit of, I just need a job. So I’m sure there was a little bit of, Hey, that works for me, but we’ll it to you and your recollection?

Scott: Probably a couple of things. One, I mean, obviously, you know, the work that Ryan was doing in the early days was, was new and really kind of innovative for Colorado Springs. And so it was exciting to see that and want to be a part of that. And just the, I think the culture that he was even from the beginning, you know, building as far as just treating people well, really going the extra mile for our clients and putting in the hours, whether we had to feel out to do it or not just finishing the project. Right. And, and it just seemed to really resonate with me and was certainly different than, you know, other parts of the industry. And so it felt very grassroots and hands on and, and, you know, being part of something smaller that we could help build really had an appeal.

Scott: And so, and yeah, then in the years that I’ve been there, the firm has continued to grow. I think we’ve, we’ve doubled our volume of work and we’ve, you strive to, as much as we can to keep raising the bar on the quality of design and the creative side of what we do. So what’s been great. We, you know, we’re, we’re certainly looking ahead and hope we can keep this momentum moving into the future.

Joe: Yeah. And you mentioned some of the, my next question, really, what sort of, what makes you different or better in the marketplace and you’ve indicated a few of those things.

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, I think one of, one of our strong suits is that we really approach every project and client with fresh eyes and kind of a different perspective based on the needs of that project, our clients, we don’t necessarily, you know, regurgitate design solutions. And I think, I think that’s something that we all really enjoy doing is as designers we’re problem solvers, you know, even you understand that it’s just kind of inherent to, to the designer and, and, and, you know, not one solution fits every, every client.

So being able to, to provide those more customized approaches, I think is really important. It really helps to set apart a project from other things happening in the area and kind of what Scott had had mentioned before. We’ve, we’re all very dedicated to this community. We live here, we work here, our clients are here at this point. We’re basically 100% of our work is in the Colorado Springs area and primarily in the more downtown region. So it’s, it’s kind of our backyard and we want it to be amazing and we want to see it grow and succeed.

Courtney: And we want to see our, our clients and those businesses do the same. And so I think that’s, that’s kind of what I guess I would say our, our niches is not necessarily a certain project type, but just creating really great designs for really great clients and really cultivating this culture. That’s really starting to explode and Colorado Springs.

Joe: Oh, for sure. And I’m still new to it, but I’ve, I’ve definitely seen it come alive in the last couple of years since we’ve been here. Yeah.

Scott: Yeah. And I think anybody that’s been in the Springs, you know, more than, you know, the last few years has, has seen just how dramatic it’s, it’s changed. It’s, it’s almost like a different city. And so, yeah. You know, I think one thing Ryan really, I think successfully was kind of create the design market that didn’t exist here quite yet. And, and that took just sheer determination to, to keep, even with clients that necessarily weren’t, you know, interested or had an understanding of what the design could be, just trying to always raise the bar, raise the bar. And I think Courtney said it well, I think the, probably the one most unique things about us as we don’t have the project type.

And you think about most firms, they work in schools or they work in offices or hospitals, or maybe a handful of project types. So we have no project type we do at all. And the one common thread we have between all of our work is design. And so it made it a challenge because we are constantly working on new things and different unfamiliar buildings or new buildings. And so it’s always kind of a, a learning curve, but it keeps it fun.

Joe: Yeah. We have the same challenge. We’d love to keep it efficient as possible and creating marketing materials and grab something off the shelf and give somebody else the next widget. But obviously it’s not going to be unique and applicable to them. So, and it doesn’t inspire us better to start from square one and really give them something that’s, you know, applies to their, to their unique story rather than try to save a few minutes and just hands last time. And what a cool thing that you guys are a part of it, like I said, I’m still new to the area, but whether somebody actually uses some of your designs and enters your spaces or just drives nearby, it just creates a whole different vibe that you’re, you both are a part of.

And your firm’s a part of, and that’s such a cool experience too. I’m sure that’s gotta be so rewarding for you to see like the community changing, whether you’re hearing all the stories directly or not, but just feeling the vibe changing based on your creations.

Scott: Yeah. Yeah. And the vibe is definitely changing and especially west side and downtown and, and that’s just kind of a fringe benefit from what we do is we, we get to spend time in at the spaces that we, we, the products that we finished. And so it’s, it’s great. You on a weekend to go down to, you know, serverless or kinship or loyal and, and you really enjoy the space. And we do, we try not to look at the one detail that we didn’t get quite right. But it’s hard to avoid.

Joe: You do tend to work in a lot of different industries, you know, mixed family, residential. I saw a couple, you know, industrial kind of spaces. What, what makes a project fall into their sweet spot? What makes it the right fit of work for you? According you want to shop at that one first? Yeah,

Courtney: That’s a good question. So I would say that it’s people who are looking for looking for good design kind of first and foremost, or who, who have an open mind to something a little different or might not really know exactly what they want and they need somebody to help them get there. Those are, those are the, the clients and the projects that we find end up being the most successful because you are more so working in this kind of partnership track with your client versus trying to force something upon them that they’re, they’re not receptive to.

So yeah, I would say, I would say those are, those are kind of the, the people in projects that get us most excited. It can be that you have that we’ve had clients that come in and, you know, they have an idea of what they want already, or they kind of have it figured out in their head and it can be a little more challenging to kind of get things to where we think they need to be as far as what the actual end result is. So you definitely need to have that, that open mind can going into it.

I’m sure you guys never have stuff like that going on.

Scott: Well, and it’s a personality, you know, you know, fit to that. If we want to have fun with the clients we work with, because we’re going to spend a lot of time with them and, you know, help their vision come to come to life. So if we can have a good working relationship and have fun and have that trust that’s needed, then you know, I think that that really helps kind of set the course. And I would also say, you know, we’ve, we’ve also, I think, made an effort to, to work with people in all scales. We’re not just doing, you know, maybe bigger projects or higher profile projects. We, we certainly like to work with people that will value design no matter what they do or what their budget is.

Scott: And we’ve, we’ve worked with different startups and it’s their, their, their first business. And, and that’s been really, I think, rewarding to see them become successful and open and, and really, you know, kind of, I guess, have to kind of the full benefit of design and the community right there. Oh, for sure.

Joe: Just a couple more questions. In Colorado Springs, there’s just such a unique backdrop. Again, coming from Indiana, you could drive a hundred miles in any direction and not see much difference in the landscape, the scenery, but it’s really unique, a unique landscape here in Colorado Springs. I’m just curious how much the landscape guides or influences your designs or I don’t know. Or could your designs work in Topeka, Kansas? You know, could they just sort of be picked up here and place there or is it, does it need to flow within the landscape in the, in the, the topography basically of the, of the area around here?

Scott: That’s a good question because our work primarily is downtown. And so it’s a lot of urban infill, old buildings are being renovated or, you know, vacant lots. And so those, those are really focused on the urban environment and certainly kind of relating to Colorado and in a broader way, but I guess maybe less directly to, you know, kind of the mountain landscape. Yeah. We do have some projects that are outside of the Springs and in the mountains. And those certainly have, I guess, a more kind of direct connection and materials forms, but, you know, maybe in a broader sense of just kind of tying to our landscape and, and climate, we, we certainly strive for sustainability and incorporating any variety of strategies and materials we can to help our products be more sustainable and grow.

Joe: Yeah. I think, I think, again, coming from the Midwest just a couple of years ago, the one thing I always pine for when I lived there was just a break in perspective, you know, everything, there was nothing to look up at or look down at because you’re always flat. And I think like, you know, what I love about being downtown is like the mound is always sort of staring at you and you can always put yourself in perspective against it, even if you’re not interacting with it in that moment, there’s just this sense of this imposing figure to the west. And I love it. I love that. Yeah. Shadowing figure a little bit in a good way. I think so.

Scott: Yeah. You probably couldn’t pick up a kinship and put it into peak. I don’t know how that would look,

Courtney: You could experiment. Yeah. And I think that he spoke very well too to kind of that. And just to add a couple, a couple points, you know, I don’t think every, every design solution that we provide is kind of very specific to the location, whether it’s downtown or a house in the mountains somewhere, that’s kind of framing those perfect use of bikes peak or whatever that might be. And, and I think what we really try to do is, is make those, those solutions that we bring kind of specific to the area versus something that’s a little more cookie cutter that could be kind of transplanted transplanted to any location in the U S

Joe: Yeah. That makes sense. For sure. You talked a little bit, you just said Scott, about sustainable sustainability and you had on your website, like we are known for thoughtful design that sustainable, memorable and inspirational to our local community. The term that stood out to me was that memorable piece, the middle term. How do you, how does a project become a memorable or how much, maybe more, how much are you in control of making it memorable? Or is it just sort of, you, you find that out later after, after the creative process is done.

Scott: Yeah. It’s probably a little bit of both. I mean, we, we certainly have an, an idea and intention of, of how the design will not only look like function and how, you know, people will use the space and potentially, you know, perceive it, but we can never fully predict that. And, and that’s kind of part of the loop of learning from each project, you know, to help inform the next project is we’ve certainly had times where things, you know, people use spaces differently and see spaces differently than we do. And so if we can, you know, I think kind of set things up to, to where the design really has some flexibility, but it really serves the client and the use, well, hopefully just having the community to use and, and be excited about the project can help kind of, I guess, add that extra, you know, next step up to hopefully be memorable.

Courtney: I was just going to mention, I think kind of having, having those open relationships with the clients really helps us kind of achieve that memorable experience. You know, we, we find it memorable working with the client and patrons, you know, visiting that cafe or brewery or what have you. They hopefully leave with a memorable experience as well. And it all kind of goes back to this very intentional, intentional design where we try to provide something that, you know, unique to the client and the space and the youth. And when working in more of like a commercial sense, kind of really tying back to the clients brand story and their vision and their mission that helps us inform our design decisions as well, because it’s, it’s really telling that story in the built environment for that brand or company and client.

So I think all of those parts and pieces kind of work hand in hand to, to hopefully create this memory of experience. Yeah.

Scott: And I think you touched on Courtney, but I bet the feedback that we get from that process with our clients really makes for a better outcome. You know, we, we’re certainly not designing. And just saying, here you go, here’s your project. Hope you, you like it, it’s a process and a back and forth. And, you know, in the end it’s, it’s, it’s our client’s building, it’s their house, it’s their project. And if we can get good feedback and a good process with them, it’s going to have, it’s going to have much better outcome. Yeah, for sure.

Joe: Just two more questions. There’s always this quote that I love by Winston Churchill says, We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of architects and interior design firms over the, over the years since I’ve owned keel marketing. And I th I’ve always been intrigued by the way they have, whether this known or unknown power to kind of wield sort of human interaction with their designs. You know, so with the way their shapes arrangements can kind of engage somebody’s brain or your spaces impact somebody’s mental wellbeing, even how much do you pay attention to the psychological effects within your creations, or, or do you sort of focus more on the design and then the effects will come, or are you trying to influence somebody’s behavior?

Scott: We were very conscious of, I think the effect that space will have on people and obviously from a, an aesthetic side of it, you know, we’re, we model everything in 3d and really spend a lot of time in 3d. And so we’re in a sense where we’re building a project before it’s built. And from just a visual standpoint, we, we certainly understand how color tone texture scale of space will, will impact someone and, and, you know, positive or negative ways to touch on. I think you’re getting at is more of the, kind of the deeper psychological effect on people.

Scott: That’s a, that’s a difficult question and I’m not sure I can, I have an easy answer for that.

Joe: I wanted to end with a softball here. A question. Yeah.

Courtney: Yeah. I mean, I think it, it all depends on the goal of the project. And one of the things that I have just found so fascinating with design is just its ability to inform behavior within community and individual people. And it’s so interesting and I mean, you could do a whole other discussion, like just on spatial influence and community and people and all of that. But I think we, we definitely keep that in mind as we’re designing and, and it will inform certain decisions, you know, depending on how, how we’re intending the function of the space.

So, I mean, I could give a million examples, but it’s all kind of, it is very intentional. And I, and I would say that we, we definitely pay attention to it and kind use those, those types of influencers as needed. Yeah.

Joe: Yeah. Go ahead please.

Scott: Oh, I was just going to add one thing. I think you touched on it already, but you know, this idea of concept maybe is a better way for us to think about it. And I mean, obviously every design has to have a concept to, to inform what we do and why, but when we develop concepts, it’s not just, how does it going to look like there’s sort of an aspirational and I think a deeper side of that, but it’s different for every project and every client. And, but that concept is sort of the, the marker. We can always point back to and say, are we, does this decision follow this or not? Or should we do this this way or that way? But the concept is something that we really helped kind of guide us all the way through.

Joe: Yeah. I kind of related a little bit to the things that we write for clients, you know, and I think writing can be a little bit more obvious to somebody knows they are. There’s a reaction that we’re trying to get out of somebody, whether it’s excitement, anger, persuasion, whatever it may be. And I think what I’m always so intrigued about your roles is just, there’s a little bit more of that subconscious connection to, to, to people that they enter a space. They feel good about it. They’re not quite sure why they’re not quite sure why they’re thinking this way or behaving that way and, and all influence through your designs. And I think, I mean, that’s just always the, the most intriguing part about your roles and what your, what you guys are able to create.

Courtney: And that’s, what’s kind of also interesting is that you can’t always control, you can’t predict how people are going to react, especially in a spatial environment because people are going to do what they’re going to do. And in certain projects or certain environments that we create, you know, you have to think about things a little differently as far as you know, is something going to get vandalized. Like we really want to do this cool thing, but you know, could be, could be a danger to somebody if they jumped off of it or, you know, there’s all of these other like nuanced scenarios that might be really great for a project, but you might also be restricted on as well, just from the, how, how certain people might end up using the space unintentionally and they’re all

Joe: People, right? So they bring in their own histories and things that you can’t control. And as much as you want to put, guide them down a certain direction, you know, they, they have another own factors here that are out of your control as we come out of. COVID a little bit, what, what is the, you know, we’ve kind of been sheltered in, in our homes and, and are becoming able to get out and interact in, in spaces and places and, and stuff more. What would you say is what do we need in our spaces now more than ever, things that we didn’t maybe need pre COVID, what are some things we must be in those, in those spaces now that we would have answered a year and a half ago?

Courtney: Sure. This is kind of a tough one. I, I think one thing is, and this is going to be kind of contradictive, I guess, but kind of communal spaces, I think, although they’ve been kind of the no-no over the last 12 to 14 months, I think it’s something that everyone is just craving so much right now, that person to person interaction. And I think that’s going, we’re going to see that even more in the future.

I kind of think it might be in a little different way and I’m not sure what that looks like exactly, but I think allowing safe places for people to congregate is definitely going to be going to be needed. And yeah, I’m, I’m not really sure as far as like other kind of facial influencers, you know, kind of looking into workplace environments, you know, we’re seeing a lot more working from home, kind of sticking around, I think a little, a little more so than it was in the past.

And, and kind of that being a big thing that, that larger businesses, especially are gonna continue to do with more kind of, I guess, we’ll call them satellite or hoteling office locations where people can kind of pop in and out as they need kind of creating that, that flexibility for people to use the space as they need and when they need. So I could see more accommodation in that regard, not only an office environment, but kind of throughout a variety of space types. Maybe it’s, it’s more so involved in kind of cafe type spaces, you know, where people can, can kind of have more heads down work space, but still be in like a more public communal type of environment.

So maybe it’s kind of the bridging of those two, those two types of places a little more than we see them now.

Scott: Yeah. I mean, we’ve had a lot of those discussions this, this past year, you know, those particular projects are finishing at different points in the year this year. And nobody’s known at that 0.6 months before what, what the world was going to look like. And so there’s been a bit of guesswork and I think the easy answer is we’ve, we’ve tried to, to handle that with furniture and maybe doing less kind of built-in items and, and allowing for some degree of flexibility, but it seems that, you know, as things are beginning to, to open up that a lot of the, kind of the design goals it would have had before are coming back slowly.

Joe: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, like I said, that’s, it is a tough question to answer. We’re all figuring it out in our own spaces and, and your, your jobs certainly have changed quite a bit in the last couple of years, but thanks so much for your time today, sharing your stories, what brought you to, to echo and then just to do as a company, as a whole and what you’re doing for Colorado Springs, and I have such an affinity for, for your jobs and what you are able to create. And, and I enjoy experiencing your designs, not knowing at the time they were your designs, but,

Scott: Well, great. Well, thank you. Thank you. We enjoyed it.

Courtney: It was great. Thank you so much for inviting us.

Shannon: You’ve been listening to the Metaphorically Speaking podcast. At Keyhole Marketing, we tell big stories for small businesses. If you’re in the Colorado Springs area and ready to tell your business story, we’d love to come alongside you and help you with your content, branding, SEO, social media, or photography needs. For an instant glimpse at your current marketing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, take our free marketing assessment, or send us an email at hi@keyholemarketing.us and let us know how we can help tell your story.

Metaphorically Speaking Ep13: Casey Ross, Axe and the Oak
Casey Ross is the owner of Axe and the Oak Whiskey House and Distillery in Colorado Springs. Every day, Casey...
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