On Monday, May 3rd WHSAD’s Makerspace students and interns learned about the award winning design firm IKON 5 architects. IKON 5 was formed back in 2003 and over 80% of their projects are for higher education clients all around the United States. During this presentation Arvind Tikku, managing Principal of IKON 5 architects, Joseph Tattoni, Design Principal of IKON5 , and Harjit Jaiwal, marketing director, gave us an overview of understanding of IKON 5, the process to be hired for designs services, and the design process. Mr. Tikku said “there’s a very important” aspect to architecture: winning the job.
IKON 5 architects is located in Princeton, New Jersey and New York, New York. Each one of their projects has a designated staff from the beginning to the end of their projects which are also led by different types of architectural principles. The firm has professional architectural services such as master planning, feasibility studies, programming, and interior design for each of their projects. IKON is a small architectural firm with approximately 30 staff members and consists of talented project managers, designers, and interns. Each one of its staff works collaboratively; they verify each other’s work to make sure it satisfies the client and their vision. IKON 5 has collaborated with 70 major public and private organizations all over the United States from New York public buildings, different universities, retail sellers, and more. One of the major things they believe is that every organization is different so each of their designs is unique to demonstrate the history, culture, and mission. IKON 5 is an award winning firm that has won awards from Cooper Hewitt, Chicago athenaeum, and more.
IKON 5 is a firm that hustles for projects. They have many methods on how to find work for their daily bread, such as tracking websites, researching and reading, and networking with consultants.The staff at IKON 5 tracks websites from public city and state buildings, universities, and the federal government to see if they post some sort of advertisement for a job they cut out for. They rely on different consultants they have worked with in the past to collaborate in a project together and also they have been recommended by these consultants to do other projects. For research and reading they keep up with news, politics, and the economy. When reading they find out if the federal or state governments pass a budget for new building. In business pages they look for advertisement for new commercial work, and lastly if someone is trying to have a new project that doesn’t have anyone involved in.
After the research stage, they submit their qualifications and proposals, engage in interviews, and, if all goes according to plan, have a project kickoff to start the magic of the design process. I learned that the design the collaboration is one of the most important things between the teams. Here the group is collaborating to design what the client is asking them to design for each design the client’s vision IKON 5 makes a visual from them. Something that called my attention to IKON 5’s designs is their use of material. They use watercolor due to its quickness, which means it’s easy to work with, and it helps the user understand something that could be abstract on a more visceral level, allowing the client to get a nice visualization of the vision for the project.
Dimitri Brown-WHSAD Senior
On May 4, 2021, architecture firm, “Ikon 5,” shared with us projects and spaces the firm has worked on over the past decade. These projects include public libraries, professional schools, academic residential halls, corporate interiors, and cultural buildings. When comparing each project, you would notice that each institution is designed differently. Arvind Tikku, managing principal of Ikon 5, explained this by stating how each project is unique. In addition, Mr. Tikku also mentioned that the architecture must reflect the institution’s mission, culture, and history.
Another topic, covered by Director of Marketing and Business Development, Harjit Jaiswall, was how you can simply learn and win a project which is also a part of Ikon 5. Mr. Jaiswell informed us of several tactics the firm uses to learn about a potential project. One tactic that they utilize is tracking websites, specifically city and state websites and about which projects organizations are in need of assistance. Ikon 5 also network with a team of engineering consultants with whom they`ve worked in the past in order to receive an opportunity to work on a new project. Research and reading plays a very important factor in the firm’s search for work as well. When following both architectural news and politics, it allows you to figure out if the government passed a budget of money for new buildings. Aside from the learning aspect, the general steps of finding work involve the firm first requesting qualifications, section committee reviews, and proposals. After these three steps are complete, firms are then given a chance to connect with the potential client by means of an interview. Following the interview, if you are chosen based on the firm’s ideas, that leads to negotiations and contract signings and then the project kick-off.
As a student studying architecture, being able to see how Ikon 5 manages to help its clients with their design process is quite interesting given that fact that they approach projects completely different from other design firms. While using the landscape of a space to convey the identity of a client or institution, you have a completely unique space. I would like to use this design process for a current project that I’m working on called the Information Kiosk at Snug Harbor so that it can have a distinctive look that represents Snug Harbor.
Justin Hunter-WHSAD Senior
On Monday, May 3rd, we at Makerspace were pleased to welcome the Ikon 5 architects. Their members included Arvind Tikku, Joseph Tattoni and Harjit Jaiswal. The team of Ikon 5 joined us to share an inside look into the architecture experience as well as the process of getting hired at Ikon 5 and the design process itself. Ikon 5 has 2 firm locations, one at West 25th Street in Manhattan and the other in Princeton, New Jersey. Their work specializes in master planning, feasibility studies, programming, and interior design. Over 80% of their projects are higher education clients throughout the country, and they take pride in their fully collaborative efforts in all their projects. Each project is led by principals and a dedicated staff to ensure the quality of the work is of designer excellence.
Ikon 5 is a very impressive firm as it is a relatively small firm compared to the other big names in the industry, but their presence is felt just as much. They shared with us the entire process on how a project is started, how they are contacted by the contractor, how they brainstorm the concepts, how they enter negotiations and then later begin the design process. Next they shared with us some of the more interesting projects they have worked on and are currently working on. They later held Q and A’s with everyone in Makerspace as we asked them more specific questions about the design process and how everything is accounted for. My question was about their library project, specifically what ramps and other routes had they planned for customers with disabilities and/or are in wheelchairs. They explained to me that this is one of the first things they account for in the design process as they hold massive amounts of respect for those individuals and work to ensure comfortability for those with accessibility needs as they don’t want them to feel like outliers or have accessibility simply be add-ons in the design. The team at Ikon 5 are very experienced and capable architects who take pride in their collaborative efforts to produce designer excellence and leave an impressionable impact on the communities with which they work.
Raymundo Gomez-WHSAD Junior
The takeaways that I learned from today’s meeting is that a building can have a lot of meaning to it. A building can represent the mission and identity of a client. Architects need to plan a lot of their designs and how those designs should be. They would wonder how do you start from the beginning, how do you think of the project, and how do you go through the process. As an architect, it could be very amazing because there probably will be a place that has nothing on it, but you could make it be something else. What I really like about being an architect is that there would be an empty space right in front of you, and you can have the power to make something spectacular right in front of you. You could have many ideas about what it could be, and many possibilities. Once you have a plan on what it should be, you will have an opportunity to see your creation grow each day. When the building is finally constructed, you will have the chance to see your creation finally created. The building would stay there for a long time, and other people would also see that creation. The budget is one of the most important things in mind in architecture. A client only has a limited amount of money and should be used wisely. During the presentation, they said that if a client spends $20 dollars on something, then the architects would make that something to be $40 quality for the client’s view. Also, architects need to have a plan to make all the budget counts and to make the plans to be an excellent quality.
Gilver Bueno-WHSAD Senior
Today Makerspace Studios had the opportunity to meet with Ikon 5, an architecture firm, and it’s representatives, Arvind Tikku, Harjit Jaiswal, and Joseph Tattoni. The representatives of Ikon 5 began showing Makerspace participants case studies. Being able to see the case studies of the professionals and understand where we can improve our own work on our current projects helped in a major way. Understanding the simplicity and complexities in certain areas showed us how we should go about the creation of case studies.
Also, we learned how understanding the amount of people involved and how important each of the jobs of everyone involved is essential. Everyone has a job and every job provides help in a crucial way for the project and for the building or creation in question. One thing worth mentioning is the use of watercolor through floor plans and sketches. Something eye-catching and not normal for what we’ve seen and assume of architects. It’s a small change from the standard and bland idea of architecture that some people think of. As Arvind Tikku and Joseph Tattoni spoke over a video showcasing some of the importance of jobs and Ikon in general there was a lot to take in. The main topic of the video which was showcased were some of the projects done by Ikon.
One of the projects they have worked on is Medgar Evers College here in New York. They’ve added and showcased some of the additions to both the interior and exterior of the CUNY school. The stairways and the open areas for study and conversation were beautiful and showed serious consideration for those using those spaces. The large open interior areas allowed natural light and connections among people. Additionally, the exterior parts of the building took light into consideration in a much larger way, with panels that reflect and allow light to shine both inside and out for no dim areas. This is a smart idea for those who prefer to study outside with nature but struggle with too little or too much light to handle. After ending the discussion the three representatives opened the floor up to those with questions.