Exterior Designers Needed

This guest post from Megan Mazzocco was first published in Architectural Products magazine. StudioConover has been granted permission to re-post.

Any commercial development consists of building exteriors, pavers, landscape elements, water features and assorted site furnishings. It also must have some semblance of organization in terms of a color scheme, style and form, or it would look like a mishmash of products and create a chaotic jumble of buildings rather than an enjoyable public space.

Thankfully StudioConover, an architectural color and communication design firm, offers exterior architectural color and materials consulting to help bridge the gap between designers, developers and product manufacturers. They envision fashionable, contemporary exterior materials and work with colorists to try to come up with pleasing blends. “Cecelia has been good at capturing an authentic palette that endures,” says David Conover of his wife and partner at StudioConover.

As a graphic design firm, the duo has primarily helped form cohesive marketing and graphics for their clients in the building industry, but when their clients started asking what color exterior siding should be, the Conovers’ ideas spill off the page and into the built environment in the form of their clients’—primarily developers’—properties.

In working toward a design goal, the Conovers make sure the look and feel described in clients’ brochures will translate seamlessly into the final product, which can be anywhere from university campuses and high-end resorts to residential and retail. Getting it right sometimes means meeting with building products’ manufacturers to tweak some of the relatively limited selections, in turn creating more exteriors products and materials for developers to choose from. “We just began customizing things along the way to make products look better in projects,” say the pair.

In the process of working with the product manufacturers on behalf of developers, some building product manufacturers realized that more choice and diversity in their product lines—what Studio Conover had devised—was in fact in demand by all developers, and these ‘custom’ products became part of their standard offerings. Along the same lines, manufacturers began to rely on StudioConover to consult on how product offerings could be streamlined or fine-tuned in certain regions of the country.

Currently, the studio is working with Boral Brick/ Monier Life Tile to develop several attractive colorations and textures for the newly joined company’s Smog Eating Barcelona S-Tiles. The tiles use new technology in concrete chemistry to take CO2 from the air and neutralize it. Cecelia Conover and her senior associate Dina Zuanich felt the coating’s sheen was too glossy and that the way the color was applied gave a pronounced streaked appearance and could be modified to better emulate rich clay roof tiles.

Boral revised the color blends based on further input from StudioConover. After several variations and sample reviews, three new blends were created: Via Rocco, Beleza Blend and Amada Blend. They also combined all three blends to make a fourth and perhaps the most attractive blend, suggests Cecelia—the Custom blend.

“Early on, the problem regarding manufactured stone was finding someone making a product that’s supposed to emulate stone…the colors were not that close. It involves multiple colors and multiple shapes to achieve something natural-looking. [Manufacturers] were coming from more technological and engineering standpoints whereas we look at it from an artistic point of view.” — Cecelia Conover, StudioConover

by Megan Mazzocco, associate editor

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