The New Faces of Desmone

The New Faces of Desmone

2015 was a fantastic year for the Desmone team. Between March and December, we added twelve new team members to take on varying roles within the company – which winds up being just about one third of our entire staff! Each one of these employees brings with them a passion for design and taking on new challenges, which has added to the already-ambitious family here at Desmone. We’re pleased to introduce you to these new faces and are looking forward to 2016 with all aboard!

Jen Bee – Senior Architect (March 2015)
“My initial love for design was sparked by imagining my dream home in grade school. I drew a floor plan that included an indoor playground and a slide as an alternative to stairs from the second floor. Many designers inspire me, even beyond the architectural field. Two primary architectural precedents would be Calatrava’s inspiration from natural forms and Carlo Scarpa’s attention to detail. My favorite project that I am working on is the Penn Avenue Condo’s that will be in the Strip District.”

Mark Tennant – Senior Project Designer (April 2015)
“The challenge of architecture is to awaken the clients by interweaving the experiential qualities of the structure with the memories from the clients collective unconscious creating a space that offers a place to pause and experience life. My favorite structure is Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s – Neurosciences Institute.  They have a great understanding of how to use a limited pallet of materials in different situations that creates a common thread throughout their projects.”

Andrew Opalinski – Marketing Manager (May 2015)
“I’ve worked in marketing for over 9 years now. I grew up around architecture and professional services since both of my parents are designers. Marketing for an architecture firm is much different than other industries. We aren’t just designing buildings, we are creating value and building the future for clients. So far as what influences my work, I’m influenced by marketing and branding experts who are successful entrepreneurs, albeit by business or investment.  I’m a forward thinker and prefer to align myself with those who do the same.  I thrive off positive energy and feedback.”

Chelsea Constantino – Assistant Interior Designer (June 2015)
“My favorite structure would be the Palace of Versailles. I love buildings that have a lot of history associated with them and Versailles’ exteriors and interiors have an essence of beauty and elegance – from the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ to the gardens. I have liked designing spaces ever since I was little, and for Desmone I get to select finishes, do space planning, review plans, and assemble presentation boards. My favorite project so far is Alloy 26 because it was the first project that I got to pick out the finishes for the entire project and present it to the clients.”

Ryan Croyle – Assistant Project Designer (June 2015)
“My favorite project so far is the two office projects on Baum Boulevard.  It was the first thing I started on and I have enjoyed being involved in a project from the start.  I am looking forward to seeing how the design develops. Bruder Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumthor is my favorite structure because it is such a concisely executed “gem” of concept and construction, but I’ve never actually seen it in person.  The way a building sounds is one of the most profound design element to me, and the Chapel of King’s College Cambridge is my favorite building that I have really “felt” something upon entering in person.  Of course, anything Thom Mayne has done would automatically be a favorite as well. I got into design because my grandma always had a pad of paper she would give me to draw on during church.  I started drawing and the rest is history!”

Afnan Khushayfati – Assistant Interior Designer (July 2015)
“Buildings impact the way we feel, think, and communicate with each other. I fell in love with design for its ability to positively contribute to the everyday lives of individuals. What I enjoy most about working at Desmone is the variety of projects. A variety of projects allows you to explore numerous methods and styles of design. Even on a typical Sunday, I enjoy researching growing trends in residential interior from countries and culture across the globe. I love to see how current designers are exploring the capabilities of lighting design.”

Andre Clarke – Assistant Project Designer (July 2015)
“I got into design because of the spatial experience (emotions, memories, culture etc.) associated with a well-designed space and the use of natural light in architectural design. My favorite project I have worked on thus far at Desmone is the Sewickley Condos Proposal. I do not really have a favorite structure but structures like the classic Sears Tower in Chicago, the Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan, and the Maritime Museum in Abu Dhabi by Tadao Ando are amongst several structures I admire.”

Paul Bahn – Project Designer (July 2015)
“Working with my father on our farm as a child cultivated an appreciation of problem solving from different angles simultaneously.  It was a union of science and art (also known as Architecture!). My favorite structure is Francesco Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome.  My favorite design to work in is contemporary interpretation of the arts and crafts style, but designers like Borromini paved the way for others to think outside of their boxes.  San Carlo is classic Baroque, but evolves all previous rules and ideologies in unorthodox ways with stunning results.  It is a symbol of taking the vernacular and turning it into something beautiful and completely new.  Plus, San Carlo’s dome is sick. Favorite project at Desmone is Unit 5 of 2500 Smallman – drool!”

Kate Senko – Office Manager (August 2015)
“I started working at Desmone after graduating from Duquesne with my M.S. Ed.  When I saw the posting for the job, it sounded perfect – exactly what I was looking for.  It seemed like an awesome company to work for (and it is!) and it was something new and different.  It is creative and energetic to work here.  You can just tell that people are excited about their jobs and passionate about the projects they’re working on. I love getting inspiration from other creative industries, so my social media feeds are filled with calligraphers, interior designers, photographers, graphic artists, and painters.  Watching artists succeed is what inspires me to work harder and learn more.”

Abbey Burton – Assistant Project Designer (September 2015)
“Even though I was hooked on Legos at an early age, it was my high school’s technology elective courses that had me fall in love with design. I connected with the ability to transform an idea into physical form, from C02 cars to architectural design challenges. In Spring of 2013, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. Traveling opened my eyes to the ways in which culture influences the built form. In the months since joining Desmone, my efforts have been committed to an iconic Pittsburgh structure. Transforming Wholey’s cold storage facility into apartment units celebrates the history and culture of the Strip District, while giving new purpose to the vacant building. Architecture has the defining ability to influence not just one but multiple generations.

Joe Beerens – Senior Architect (November 2015)
“My initial love of design came from building dog houses as a boy. My favorite structure is the Phillips Academy Exeter Library in New Hampshire, designed by Lou Kahn. The form and function are balanced beautifully.  Form is always informed by function.  Pure architectural poetry. For Desmone, my favorite project has been the Wholey Apartments in the Strip Districts, which was the conversion of an old cold storage warehouse to 144 modern, urban apartments.”

Wolfgang Spengler – Senior Architectural Designer (December 2015)
“I am still too new to Desmone to have a favorite project…but I will get there. So far as my favorite structure goes, I haven’t designed it yet. As a placeholder, I’ll gladly use Behnisch-Behnisch & Partner’s ‘Norddeutsche Landesbank am Friedrichswall’ in Hanover, Germany.  You have to have been there to have seen it… and to believe it.  Just incredible. It is this magical sense of creation that sparked my initial love of design.”

Our outlook for 2016 is strong.  New projects, new talent, new markets, innovative design processes, and a strategic vision will allow us to take on new challenges and advance to the next level.  Learn more about our company here.

Happy New Year.