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ASID Industry Partner

October/November 2007


MEET THE ARCHITECT

Doug Larson, AIA
by Jami Supsic

AN ARCHITECT INFUSES HIS PROJECTS WITH ELEMENTS OF SURPRISE

[Image]

Why did you choose a career in architecture? From an early age I always knew I wanted to be an architect. I come from a long line of engineers and architects, so I suppose it's in my blood. You design the stores for J. McLaughlin. How do you transition design goals from residential to retail? Retail is similar to set design. It gives me a chance to be theatrical. You need maximum impact for a specified budget, and the lifespan of the design is much shorter. Are you a big fashionista? Where do you like to shop in the Hamptons? I'm more interested in satisfying my slightly austere taste than in the latest fashions. I favor Brooks Brothers for staples, Faconnable for shirts and trousers, an occasional piece of whimsy from J. McLaughlin, etc. I am usually in the Hamptons only for work, but if I have a free Saturday I love to scour the antique shops in Sag Harbor. What factors do you take into account when working here? ? I like to take my cues from the surroundings but throw in a few unexpected moments of surprise. Working in Southampton calls for a nod to shingle style; a structure in the potato fields of Sagaponack or the Equestrian area of Bridgehampton should utilize agrarian imagery; in Sag Harbor references can be drawn from iconic American House styles. [Image]

Are there any accomplishments you achieved this summer that you are particularly proud of? My wife and I bought a dilapidated farmhouse in Dutchess. We kept the old where it was nice and inserted ultra modern where it wasn't. The facade facing the road retains the old siding and windows, but the back and sides peel open to views of the countryside. After 20 years of living vicariously through projects for clients, it was fun to do something of my own. What is your home like?? It's a collection of things inherited, collected or sought out, all put together against white walls. Josef Frank wrote a manifesto about "Accidentism" in which he explored the idea that we are all dealing with buildings and objects in various styles from different periods, and all can co—exist. Without these objects, a house has no soul.What is the future of design? Good design will always strive to reconcile changes in technology and lifestyle with the unchanging needs we humans have for function, comfort, self identity and aspiration. Each age finds its own expression. We can't predict the directions that it will go.

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