Where have I been?

Posted on June 3, 2008


I’ve been at the white house.

The creative world is a weird one. We know that…we wouldn’t have signed up for this if it was anything but. A crazy life driven by time lines and deliveries…an endless cycle of ebb and flow in terms of work. Periods of full out effort and downtime of reflection and creative rejuvenation. What? Where the hell does that happen? Well..it has to happen sometime and I recently decided to take on a private project…despite my ridiculous schedule lately. I took on something I had no business doing. Ahh. Perfect. This is becoming a familiar trend in my life.

The project was called “Whitehouse Redux“. An open call for entries via their website (whitehouseredux.org) lured me in. I thought what an interesting challenge that would be to deliver a message and an experience in a physical environment. A departure for me where the majority of my creative effort resides is in the web or in print, but I actually think that the specifics of mediums is irrelevant. I mean communicators should be able to act in any medium. Right? Right. Besides I love the fact of doings things where I have no right to to be doing them. So architecture seemed like the perfect arena for me to do such an act, and it seems I am not the only one.

To the meat of it all…what was compelling to me about this project is that most of us instantly have some pre-conceived idea of what the White House symbolizes. What was even more compelling was the re-envisioning of what it could symbolize.

Something I preach to my team regularly is the practice of really getting into the language and idea your creating and really geeking out on those details. I usually say create your own world. I realized I miss that in what I mainly do now. I was joking with one of my creatives recently about my personal creative output lately had been .pdf edits and cocktail napkin sketches. I miss the process of the mechanics of getting into a file and creating the worlds I keep telling my creatives to do. This project was to be an escape, a place to immerse myself in the “what if” that is missing in so much of our lives, in this pre-calculated today.

The White House to me ( in its current state) a symbol of secrecy, power and well…not a home, anymore. Lets think about that…it is a home. A home for the highest elected official in our land. It’s a home that we all decide ( yeah I know…go with me on this) who gets to live there. That person we put there leads out nation. Translation: The White House is really “our house” all of ours. My goal was to design a house that was about making the White House a house again and allowing democracy to be served fully. A place where our decision making and international dealings were done in with complete transparency.

Like I said this was a contest and I had a blast doing it. I don’t expect to win…but it was a fun endeavor. I really am interested in seeing the other ideas. I am excited to see what real pros could churn out if there were no boundaries…so we’ll see. I did just receive a note from whitehouseredux.org mentioning due to the overwhelming participation ( 831 participants from 42 different countries around the world) that they need just a little more time to review the work and tally the votes.

So anyway stay tuned to see what the new residence of the world’s most powerful individual might look like. For the time being here is my take. Download “Transparency” now.