Picture this – a room full of 15 or so individuals – architects, designers and various owner invested parties, most of which are in ties and dresses, surrounding a table – strewn with lunch meals, architectural drawings and finish materials for the whole building – down to the fabric for the chairs being used. This is what a DD presentation looks like.

DD stands for Design Development. It represents just one phase of the design and building process. This stage is all about using creative juices for the ground work and development of a client’s project look and purpose. Like all phases of building, it is set up with a deadline in mind; a check point in the process for approvals from the owner before moving to the next development stage.

Today we had that owner review deadline and it was the most comprehensive DD presentation with the client that I have ever had. Often to obtain a standard DD review and approval, we submit our set of drafted architectural plans and other needed documents for review and comment. Once the owner reviews them, comments  come back as a set of redlines in the documents and/or itemized notes.  We then take this feedback and incorporate the requested changes and keep moving and develop the designs into full building details that get us to the next deadline/phase of approvals – the CD’s. There can be actual DD meetings for a formal design review, where concepts of over-arching design principles are presented, but most of that occurs at an initial design presentation or in tidbits long the way depending on the size of a project.

However, the purpose of this meeting was to get every single design element, both interior architecture and interior furnishings, before the owner’s multi-dimensional managers and directors for their approval and blessing. We have been working for months to prepare for this meeting, including many focused (stressful) hours of focused emphasis these last couple days. It all led up to a 4 plus hour meeting (would have been longer if the Owner had more time for us) going from sheet to sheet of the architectural documents. As we went through the set, we reviewed the design and general details to show how the design would be pulled off and incorporated. We also then reviewed each finish material for the specific space: tile, stone, wood species and stain, paint colors and metal accents, etc. This was followed by furniture, fabrics, and light fixtures. Some rooms/spaces sailed by, while other rooms were the points of heavy discussion. In fact, as we progressed we had to stop discussing the general traffic areas because we were running out of time.

By the end of the meeting we had most of the building’s design approved with some limited requests from the owner to change a design detail. It felt great to get buy off from them on all our hard work and design concepts for the building, especially a couple finishes that we wondered if they would accept. With much exhaustion and excitement we now can move on to producing the final documents for the contractor, that will allow them to build the ideas we have developed over the last creative months.

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