Austin design elements
Live music capital? More like freaking awesome design capital
About 4 years ago, I had the extraordinary luck of finding a job at a super hip furniture and design store in downtown Austin. This is unusual for a few reasons. One, I had only been in Austin for three days. Two, because my then-boyfriend and I never intended to stay in Austin.
Let me back up.
It was four years ago. I was about half a year out of college and coming to a point in my life where I craved adventure; I wanted to see everything. Naturally, then, I bought a van off eBay sight unseen so I could travel around the country writing.
My very sweet then-boyfriend graciously offered to come along for the ride and my very patient parents offered to not disown me for coming up with this hippy five-year plan. We left our alma mater LSU on August 1st. Austin was our first stop.
We never left.
It was apparent to me what a disservice Austin had been handed. Here we were just brimming with skilled and innovative artists, architects, interior designers and more.
For a few reasons, the whole living in a van thing didn’t work out (a metal van in August is basically an oven) but that job at that furniture store sure was an amazing eye-opener and springboard for my life here in Austin.
Not only was I surrounded by the buzzing and quickly changing downtown skyline, it took not even a week to see how incredibly packed with creativity and talent Austin is. I think I got to meet Jamie Chioco when he came into the store, before he became known for his amazing restaurant designs around town. I got to talk to local furniture designers like Michael Yates and Brian David Johnson. Got to handle firsthand the creations of amazing artists like Judy Paul.
My previous understanding of the design world in Texas had been limited to hearing only about Houston and Dallas; all my interior design classmates headed off to the big firms in those big cities. Austin wasn’t even on the radar.
But within those first few weeks of living and working in Austin, it was apparent to me what a disservice Austin had been handed. Here we were just brimming with skilled and innovative artists, architects, interior designers and more, and we weren’t getting any love from the rest of the nation.
I decided to devote my waking life to showing the world, and Austinites, how amazing, talented, creative, mind-blowing and full of skill Austin really is. Live Music Capital? Try Freaking Awesome Design Capital.
But Adrienne, you say, didn’t you still crave adventure? Didn’t you still want to see everything and meet everyone? I sure did. But Austin more than fed my appetite.
Four years later, it still does. I’ve been writing about architecture, design and art all this time and I haven’t run out of stories yet.
But a lot has changed since I first got here. However you feel about it, Austin looks different.
So, instead of just interviewing different architecture firms or designers around town, I set out to discover and talk to the folks in our city who have changed the very aesthetic of Austin. For better or for worse, these are people who are shaping the very look of Austin. They could be the latest architecture firm, but they could also be the sassy bar owner creating an entire entertainment district out of an old neighborhood. It could be the artist behind large outdoor sculptures that dot our landscape.
I’ve got a lot of ideas of folks I’m going to talk to, but I want to know who you want me to talk to. Is there someone you think has done a ton to change the physical look of Austin? An artist who’s created lots of houses’ fences? A builder who’s tackled a ton of houses on the East Side? A business owner who’s opened up a ton of cool restaurants? Pitch me an idea. Just tell me something you want to know more about. Complain about how you liked the way Austin used to look. Anything. Let’s celebrate this talent-filled town and its rapidly evolving look together.