Soapbox Speaker Series: DesignBuildCincy

This year’s Soapbox Speaker Series during DesignBuildCincy has been expanded to seven sessions over two days — including a pair offering highly coveted Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for qualified design professionals. Those two sessions — The Sherwin-Williams Company’s Colormix Forecast 2019 and Formica North America’s Future Living — are among the many design-oriented draws for the show, which takes place the weekend of Oct. 27­–28 at Music Hall’s Grand Ballroom in Over-the-Rhine.

“DesignBuildCincy is a chance for attendees to meet with the city’s best designers, architects, contractors and craftsmen to take luxury residential, or small commercial projects to the next level,” says the show’s founder/owner Doug Hart, who launched the event in 2014 as a design-centric alternative to traditional consumer home shows.

“It’s a curated design industry show that’s open to both the public and to industry professionals that gives attendees the chance to take in presentations on timely topics and to meet artisans and fabricators who can build anything,” Hart continues.

The two CEU sessions are designed to enhance the show’s appeal to industry professionals, but all the programming aims to provide attendees with insights from industry thought leaders on what’s next in design trends for building, remodeling, and kitchen projects.

Below are details on all of this year’s don’t-miss Speaker Sessions.

Saturday, October 27

Topic: Colormix Forecast 2019

Presenter: Susan Wadden, director of color marketing, The Sherwin-Williams Company

Time: 9:00 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

Session Specifics: Working with a global team of color forecasters who travel extensively to identify trends, the paint and coatings manufacturer/retailer has gathered 42 trend colors for the coming year into a master palette. Those shades in turn, are arranged into six unique color personalities, or color journals: Shapeshifter, Wanderer, Aficionado, Enthusiast, Naturalist, and Raconteur. The result, Wadden says, is an organic and spontaneous palette.

“Several of the color journals are evolutions of trends that are being reflected in our culture,” she says. “For example, the Aficionado palette is classic, tailored, and authentic, with nods to mid-century style and nostalgia — looking back to look forward. Its copper and gold accents anchored by merlot and gray are rooted in tweedy menswear and ’60s nostalgia,” says Wadden.

“The Shapeshifter palette, on the other hand, is all about colors that embrace the mystical,” she continues. “It’s the blues of the unseen depths of the ocean and the celestial hues of the night sky, influenced by pop culture’s rising interest in things like artificial intelligence, space tourism, and healing energy.”

Note: This is a CEU event only for qualified trade professionals accredited by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC).

Sol design plus consulting's entry to the 2018 Over-the-Rhine Foundation Infill Design Competition.

Topic: Over the Rhine’s Path to Net Zero Energy

Presenters: Sanyog Rathod, president/CEO and Carl Sterner, director of design, Sol design + consulting

Time: 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Session Specifics: As Over-the-Rhine continues to redevelop, Rathod and Sterner will offer a blueprint for making sure that process results in a zero-energy future for the neighborhood, while respecting its rich historic architecture and senses of place.

“For their time, the historic buildings of Over-the-Rhine were intrinsically sustainable in their use, density, technology, and passive solar design,” Rathod says.

“For instance, street level allowed for pedestrian/community engagement; tall and narrow massing facilitated high density; thick masonry walls provided insulation and thermal mass; and ample windows and light wells harnessed solar energy and daylighting,” he continues.

Given that, Rathod says the most energy-efficient approach to continuing the neighborhood’s renaissance involves intermixing those historic elements with today’s sustainable strategies, including the use of building-performance design tools to optimize solar energy and daylighting, and the use of state-of-the-art energy-efficient materials when appropriate.

“What we build today will define our energy use for the next 60–80 years,” he says. “Given the global demand for environmental stewardship, combined with the rapid redevelopment of OTR, we see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only set a new standard in design excellence for historically sensitive infill work, but to define sustainable neighborhoods of the future.”


Topic: Conversations in Design

Presenters: Martha Schickel Dorff, principal, and Rebecca Cadena, associate, Schickel Design

Time: Noon–1:00 p.m.

Session Specifics: Dorff and Cadena will make the case that ongoing conversation among all parties involved in a design project is vital to its success. “That way, you know the problems the parties are trying to solve, what constraints they face, and their hopes [and] dreams for their space,” says Dorff.

Beyond that, the session will explore the idea of what Dorff describes as “designing from the inside, not from above.”

“In such cases, the micro situation is the townhouse typology in a dense urban context, while the macro situation is the neighborhood of OTR itself,” she explains.

“The people who are inside are those who live there or run a small business there,” Dorff continues. “We are using as example of this process the City Home Project on Pleasant Street we completed in 2012, a small residential renovation project in Mount Adams completed this year, and a project in Lower Price Hill that we are currently working on.”

Topic: Building Stories: Stories of Buildings. Stories of People.

Presenter: Kurt Platte, architect/owner, PLATTE architecture + design

Time: 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.

Session Specifics: Sometimes the best part of a project isn’t just the building, but the story behind it. PLATTE often finds itself working with interesting buildings and dynamic clients whose histories are as interesting as the end project.

Among the projects along those lines that Platte will explore during his session is The Hi-Mark Bar & Restaurant on Riverside Drive that, the architect says, has several stories crisscrossing to make it a building with a wealth of design intrigue.

“The Great Flood of 1937, a cold case murder from 2005, current FEMA rules, tough zoning regulations, and the popularity of Eli’s BBQ and gritty bars provided a wonderful palette for the design team,” says Platte. “The resulting raw, deconstructed building is response to each of these stories.”


Topic: Future Living

Presenter: Gerri Chmiel, senior design manager, Formica North America

Time: 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Session Specifics: This fast-paced presentation will outline the trends and driving factors that will influence homes and home design over the next 2–3 years. Chmiel will detail several macro trends tracked by Formica’s in-house design team to understand how they are affecting consumer lifestyles and their homes. She will then delve into the materials, color palettes, and technologies that are being influenced by those trends, and how they will manifest themselves in living spaces in the next couple of years.

“We know that black and white are timeless colors, but this presentation will touch upon the rise of graphic black and white and its impact on home décor,” Chmiel notes. “We will also explore the demand for self-cleaning materials and talk about the future of the connected home — beyond Alexa!”

This is a CEU event only for qualified trade professionals, with accreditation pending from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC).


Sunday, October 28

Topic: Intersecting Art, Function, and Technology into Builds

Presenters: Mary Guanciale, art director, and Alain Pummel, CAD team lead, Rookwood Pottery

Time: 11:00 a.m.–Noon

Session Specifics: This locally based architectural ceramics and pottery icon is building a 5-foot-by-16-foot handmade tile installation for the bathroom that asks audiences to “take a shower with Rookwood” — but don’t worry, you won’t get wet.

“There’s been a recent shift from spaces that are purely functional to ones that also simultaneously incorporate fine art aesthetics,” says Guanciale. “The bathroom we created is a great example of that, as its showcases how a utilitarian space can also incorporate artistic elements that make it much more than just a place to bathe.”

Guanciale and Pummel will explore how the company’s unique approach to innovation, artistic collaboration across mediums, and exploring new ways to infuse technology into the process, can make a major difference for clients seeking something that’s truly custom.

“Based on the industry design trends we’re seeing, we’ll provide attendees with options, inspiration and ideas that are ahead of the curve,” says Guanciale.

Craig Russell added two windows to brighten up this Oakley home's kitchen.

Topic: Digging Holes & Building Castles: Working in the Spotlight on HGTV

Presenter: Craig Russell, founder, The English Contractor

Time: 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

Session Specifics: Russell spent much of the past year on the design/build team working on a top-secret project for the HGTV’s Urban Oasis 2018 here in Cincinnati. This particular project involved putting a century-old Dutch Colonial home in Oakley — one of several hundred such homes bearing that style that dot Cincinnati’s neighborhoods — through a top-to-bottom renovation.

As with virtually any renovation, this one came with its share of unexpected problems. An example: the kitchen was enclosed on one side with an interior wall.

“We quickly realized that on the other side of that wall was the basement stairwell,” says Russell. “We added a window into the stairwell, and then a second window on the inside interior wall of the kitchen. This added some wonderful natural light into a space that would otherwise be somewhat [dark].” That step was one of many steps the team working on the house used to turn it from what Russell describes as “dark and dated into a real show-stopper.”

Beyond offering behind-the scenes details on what it’s like to work in front of the cameras on such HGTV projects, Russell will talk about the ins and outs of home renovations in general, from the bid process, to working with an architect, to putting on the finishing touches.

Adult admission to DesignBuildCincy is $10; children under 13 get in free. A $2 discount on advance ticket sales can be obtained on the website.

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