Micène Fontaine, November 15, 2022

As a kid, I loved taking things apart. Once reassembled - with all the same parts - they never worked the same way. 

If you took your car apart, none of its parts - on its own - would take you from point A to point B. Now, tweak one of the parts, and you might get there faster or more reliably. But, once again, on its own, the "improved" part still wouldn't get you anywhere. 

Continue Reading
:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, October 18, 2022

"Have you ever heard of thin places?" Amy asked me at a meeting with local artists. I replied that I had not.

Continue Reading
:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, September 27, 2022

Are there windows in the room where you work? 

As I write this, I'm sitting in my home office with two large windows. Each faces a different direction, which means different types of daylight at various times. I've never given much thought to which is better for my productivity and my overall health and well-being, but I know someone who does.

Continue Reading
:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, September 8, 2022

Decanthropy. I like the name, but that's not why I was on a second call with Ian Rolston, NCIDQ, IDC, ARIDO, LEED GA. Ian is Founder and Lead Decanthropist at Decanthropy. We discussed logistical details for his Change by Design presentation but mostly we talked about the change we see unfolding in the architecture & design industry. We talked about the great work we see happening and the less inspiring as well.   

As the conversation unfolded, a pattern emerged as to what was getting in the way of positive change. The familiar pattern goes something like this: Stakeholders on a project get very excited about the potential of a particular solution. And, just as quickly, find a seemingly compelling reason (often something to do with clients) why it could not be implemented. At least not now… 

This is a prevalent and straightforward pattern. And we, humans, are very good at this. We even do it with our own ideas. We quickly find a reason why an idea won't work. It takes no effort. I should know :-)

Stop icon by Freepik - Flaticon
Continue Reading
:Change by DesignDominoesSustainability

Micène Fontaine, September 1, 2022

"Get off the foam." It made me laugh, so I thought I would share. I'll get back to it shortly, but first, after reading about the Italian architecture firm (Ricehouse) that converts the by-products from rice cultivation into regenerative building products, I had two questions. 

First, I wondered about what happens to the by-products of the main crop in my region - sugarcane. I since learned that it goes into the production of disposable plates and trays meant to provide a compostable alternative to the styrofoam trays still widely used by grocery stores to hold everything from cheese assortments to meats, veggies, seafood, etc.

Images: Ricehouse
Continue Reading
:Change by DesignSustainable Cities and CommunitiesRegenerative Materials

Micène Fontaine, August 23, 2022

What does your work add up to? What does it mean or say about you, your design practice, your values, your priorities, and your purpose? For many of us, our identity is closely linked to our work, title, and what we put "out there." Yet, the most common response we get to what we do: Crickets. 

Continue Reading
:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, August 17, 2022

The room is dark. One eye covered, letters flash smaller and smaller on the wall in front of you. You read what you see out loud - or take a guess before your vision becomes too blurry. Maybe the "guessing" and the "blurry" part is just me, but for most of us, some strings of letters are very comfortable to read, while others require us to strain.  

Continue Reading
:Change by Design

Micène Fontaine, August 10, 2022

Three times a week, you can find me on a beach in Hawaii, near the pyramids of Giza, or on Mars for a 30-minute virtual reality boxing session with a coach. Instead of gloves, I wear controllers and an Oculus Quest headset. The targets rush toward me often faster than I can dish out jabs, hooks, and uppercuts.

I have one job: Ignore the distractions to stay focused on the target in front of me and the one right behind it. It gives my body a chance to queue up the next two moves. That’s all I can handle. The moment I get distracted by the targets or the score flashing in the background, I start missing more and more targets until I regain my focus.

Screencast of one of my boxing workouts in Supernatural.

I love the physical activity as much as I like the mental exercise. It’s a reminder of the importance of the architecture of choice and of separating the noise (distractions) from the signal (where I need to place my attention). It’s a critical skill to master when running a small business. It’s also a reminder that as small business owners or practitioners, we must keep an eye on what is coming next. In a world where everything is interconnected, it’s a delicate balance between drowning in a sea of irrelevant information and ignoring critical signals of what’s to come.

Continue Reading
:Food for Thought and Action

Micène Fontaine, August 2, 2022

This cartoon made me smile because it captures our tendency to overcomplicate (and at times oversimplify things.) Sometimes things are fine the way they are.

Continue Reading
:Design Arts SeminarsChange by DesignSustainable Cities and CommunitiesShared Value in Architecture

Micène Fontaine, July 28, 2022

In 1982, when the term "third place" was coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg to refer to spaces that are neither home nor work, social media did not exist, neither did the internet, and there were clear lines between where people worked and where they lived. Things have changed quite a bit on that front. Yet, third places are as essential to community life today - if not more - than 40 years ago.

Continue Reading
:Change by Design
Content not found