From a Designer’s Journal: Heard of “Marmorino”?

Posted on November 8, 2010 in From a Designer's Journal

This is a true story  as shared by Pascale A.

Being an architect or an interior designer is a serious job; obviously, when you are dealing with people’s lifestyle, money and dreams, issues should not be taken lightly.

However you sometimes come across situations where nothing can be done; the client dropped in without an appointment and you are running late with the design because urgent daily chores distracted you from the “creative” process. Such situations may be disastrous for your reputation and pace of work. But positive people always know how to turn their frowns into smiles. The result is: a hilarious situation.

I was working with a team a while back, and the secretary sent us a message to go meet Mrs. X who was waiting outside to discuss the status of her project . Don’t get me wrong, but this type of “Parachute client” makes all professionals go crazy. Unprepared, we all started running for materials, looking for the drawings we sketched earlier, and operating frantically in the office to prepare what is supposed to be “the client’s design file”. Needless to say, the file was a disaster.

The client entered the meeting where there were two designers. The leading designer opened the file to discuss the apartment in question and his eyes popped out as he flipped the drawings, having nothing but primitive, conceptual sketches which are not for clients to see. He looked at the client, turned the file upside down on the table, paused, and smiled: “We are preparing something unique for your apartment”, he said. Then looked at the other designer and said, “tell her what we are preparing ”. The confused designer started looking around the office, seeking inspiration and said: “you see that drawing? It will be like this but much better!” Both were describing moods that every client would be delighted to hear.They spoke of the colors, and even of non-existent materials, they showed her a Travertino marble (very commonly used but ofcourse the client has no idea) and told her it’s MARMORINO,yes you heard me, Marmorino, that’s how creative they were (BTW Marmorino is a kind a plaster finish applied to walls and means “little" marble” and is not an actual marble) .The client seemed reluctant when the meeting kicked off, but after hearing the dreams and lies she felt overwhelmed by the lively discussion and attention that the staff were giving to her project. She was then relaxed and interacting in the conversation enthusiastically. She left the office with a big smile of satisfaction and promised to come in the following week to approve the final details. The designers exhaled, then laughed hysterically at was considered a professional catastrophe!

Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t happen alot, but if it does happen, this is the typical scenario yet with an uncertain outcome. The situation was saved by the complicity of two architects, trying to sell a design that didn’t exist yet under the thrill of the moment.

The morale of the story is this: if you are a client, never come to your designer without an appointment. If you do, expect all kinds of bull….

Pascale A.


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