Recent graduates of the Masters program at Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning, Adam Buente and Kyle Perry have spent the last couple years developing their unique interests and ideas into a business of their own. Working with fellow students Elizabeth Boone and Eric Brockmeyer, they began a collaborative graduate thesis project focused on exploring the possibilities of design and fabrication via digital equipment as a business platform. After their first year out of school they have begun to independently manage their Indiana based company. PROJECTiONE recently produced the ACADIA competition winner HYPERLAXITY and boast other projects such as EXOtique, bitMAPS, and Radiance. Words and images from the PROJECTiONE team after the break.
What we expected: We stayed at Ball State knowing that we would have more opportunities and access to equipment than would be offered elsewhere. This was due mainly to our connection with IDF (Institute for Digital Fabrication) and the fact that we were one of very few utilizing the equipment on a daily basis, and we had a number of projects under our belt already.
Our initial goals for grad school were to develop our own interests in architecture and design, completely separate from a curriculum (mainly fabricating whatever we could dream up). Also we were developing a better working relationship with each other (the four of us at the time). This led to a number of projects pre-thesis, including reBarn and our exhibition in Florence Italy.
The thesis: The thesis was a continually developing concept. We started the summer before making plans to create a 4 person collaborative thesis. The goal of that was to continue the large scale design + fab projects we were pursuing. Having four people allowed us to go larger in scale and complexity and actually gave us some power, I feel like, to go our own way. We had to present the idea to the administration and it was a bit of a battle to get it through. We had some help from supporting profs to make that happen.
The main idea was to start our business in school, get in touch with other similar groups, and learn their strategies for success and any problems encountered while at the same time developing a physical resume of a number of projects to lead towards work outside of school. The projects we did in school, along with a lot of marketing, conferences, and competitions, gave us some pretty decent credentials to start something up immediately.
How we are doing:Things are going well. The first year out of school was a lot of work learning the business side of things (which we are continually doing) and a lot of proposals and networking. We have managed to do some small scale projects and fabrication to sustain ourselves. Just recently we received a contract with Riley Hospital for Children for an installation in their Atrium, which will set us up nicely to get things off the ground. We have since signed on a shop in Muncie for the time being.
We still have a strong connection with the school and are staying local until we make our big move somewhere. Where we are going is unclear at the moment, but the drive and motivation to do what we are doing hasn’t changed since we started the thesis. The two other members of the thesis have gone on to do amazing things as well. Elizabeth is at SOM New York in their digital design group and Eric is finishing up another Masters at CMU.
We want to stay true to what we love and that is the full process of design to fabrication. As our scales increase and timelines decrease we will be challenged to keep this up, but it is important to us. We love being in the midwest and having the work ethic that goes with it. We will sit in grashopper all day designing and stand on the shop floor building all the next.