Linking up via Instagram Live once again, Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen joined Irwin Miller, a principal and design director at Gensler, the biggest firm in the U.S., for a spirited conversation. Miller spoke from his humble abode in rainy California to Cindy who was in rainy Long Island—the damp weather being one of the many things the pair of good friends bonded over in their discussion.
Miller has been getting accustomed to the new mode of working and didn’t realize this was the fourth week of quarantine. He hopes everyone else has been able to progressively get into a groove, taking breaks when they can, working new, odd hours to fit a new schedule. With more than 20 years of industry experience, Miller pointed out that “this is really the first time we’ve all been in something together,” across all workforces.
According to Cindy, Miller wears a “coat of many colors” when it comes to creativity. His multidisciplinary experience as an undergrad at RISD has guided the totality of the work he does today. Many of his clients are museums and restaurants, and he has been very much in contact with the latter. “Talk about a challenge,” he said regarding the work he does with Eataly in Italy. Nonetheless, the folks there have been up for that challenge and their can-do attitude and the creativity it has engendered have inspired his team at Gensler.
Miller cleared out the studio in his 1-bathroom home to optimize the time he has during self-isolation. It’s the space where he builds guitars and furniture, does film making, and works on architecture drawing. Cindy shared some images he had sent her, and viewers got to see highlights such as his animation sketches, an octopus sculpture in progress and completed in an outfit, and a frame from a stop-motion animation video he made. Not to mention an exclusive behind-the-scenes shot and details of a music video he produced for Beck. “The great thing about filmmaking is when the components come together,” he said, remarking how similar it was to finally experience an architectural project in person versus seeing photographs of it.
“The benefit of what I get out of Gensler… is the diversity of projects we do,” he added. But after years of purely focusing on and growing in his industry, Miller’s head starts to ache if he doesn’t get to do a personal creative project now and then. In these past few weeks he has also been amazed to see all the creativity other people have unleashed. In fact, during studio check-ins with his team and clients, he asks everyone to share what they’re working on outside of work—a new recipe, sewing, trying out watercolors. “We all have creativity within us” he firmly believes.
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