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DEX’s Spring Break Blind Date…with LAUREN PARCEL

Join us in getting to know Lauren Parcel!  She joined us at the office during a crazy week filled with packing for our office move, jobsite visits across S. CA, and starting a new, very hush-hush restaurant project!  Her visit was part of the Spring Break Blind Date program at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where architecture students spend the week getting to know what life might be life after school.

1)  Tell us a little bit about yourself and what lead you to pursue a degree in architecture. 

I am a fifth-year architecture student at Cal Poly, and am about to graduate in June! have always enjoyed design — from fashion and graphics to products and interiors, and eventually I decided that architecture could be a good fit, as sort of an all-encompassing study of design. I attended the Cal Poly summer program after junior year of high school, and was completely sold. I’m still loving my choice!

2)  What type of projects do you gravitate toward and what inspires your work?

Before I took an interest in Architecture I thought about being a chef. Somewhere along the way I realized that I was more interested in the design of restaurants and eating spaces than the specifics of the food itself (I mostly just like to eat the food). I have continued to find inspiration in the relationship between architecture and the ritual of eating, however, and constantly notice elements of taste sneaking their way into my projects. For my thesis I am finally getting the opportunity to design a full restaurant!

3)  What project (inside or outside of the classroom) are you most proud of working on?

I am particularly proud of the coffee table that I made for a school-wide furniture competition last Fall. I found an old access door and used it as a table top that opens to reveal a simple hors d’oeuvres setting. It feels great to have physical evidence of your work, and I think that’s why I found this project so satisfying.

4)   You spent the week with us at DEX Studio and living in Venice.  How did you find us and/or what caught your eye about our work?

One of the reasons I was so excited about DEX was for your restaurant work. I stumbled across one of the SugarFISH projects while searching the web for thesis inspiration, and was enamored with it’s warm yet contemporary atmosphere. I love the way all of your projects encapsulate that contrast of simple yet detailed and modern yet inviting. It is something I strive for in my work, and DEX does it just beautifully.

5)  What were your impressions of Venice and spending time on Abbot Kinney?

At first I was definitely a little intimidated by the “glamour” of L.A. and nonchalant Venice attitude. (I unknowingly found myself at the Whole foods on a warm Sunday night at 9 p.m.) But I quickly grew to enjoy its charm and loved being able to stroll down Abbot Kinney for coffee, half-sandwiches, and window gawking. The community felt surprisingly tight-knit: I ran into the same person three times within the first two days!

6)  With graduation inching closer ahead, where do you see yourself in the future?  What type of design would you like to pursue?

I am constantly changing my mind about exactly what I want to do and where I want to be, but I am determined to move forward with architecture. I am mostly interested in small-scale projects such as custom homes, restaurants, and retail/commercial, but I’m also intrigued by installations, interior design and real estate development. I recently took a trip to New York with my studio class, and am thinking about making a big move out there. It’s a very hectic yet exciting time for me.

7)  Looking around current projects being built and commissioned, what do you think your “dream” project would be and why?

My absolute dream has always been to design AND own restaurants — the idea of being your own client seems almost too good to be true. Seeing as that requires quite a lot of resources and expertise, however, I’m mostly interested in gathering knowledge and experience in the foreseeable future. Another (potentially more realistic) dream would be to design my own house!

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