April 17, 2013

Creative Role: The Detailer

People admire the thoughtful consideration of details found in an object—when they do notice them. Whether it’s the typographic detail of a book or the architectural detail of a building. Even if a detail’s existence is essentially “non-functional,” it still attracts admiration. Consider Google’s speed of display, the soft concrete of Tadao Ando’s Conference Pavilion on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, or the instrumental textures of mandolin and violin in music from Swedish indie pop band Fanfarlo.

Some details are actually implicit or even invisible, such as those found in a thoughtfully crafted product or service. Or even a window—as found in the August 2010 issue of Dwell magazine, featuring a home in Emigration Canyon, Utah, designed by owner/architect John Sparano. It prompted the following from one detail-minded reader:
“I have a question about … its mitered fixed glass window. The intersection of the panes of glass is almost invisible! Is it possible single glazing was used in this great detail? How did the architect do it?”
Sparano cherished the reader’s discovery and explained:
“I’m really thrilled that someone noticed that detail. I marvel at it every time I walk into my daughter’s room. The entire L-shape window is double glazed. We worked with a Salt Lake City glazier that used UV-bonding technology to invisibly weld together the four pieces of glass that came together at that corner. I’m told that UV bonding is the method they use to attach glass for aquariums, among other things. Typical gaskets were used at the other edges. Once the L-shape glass was assembled it was inserted into the L-shape wood frame, delivered to the site and installed in one piece.”
Details orient the quality of work and its reception, and ultimately set an object apart from others. In the above example: who knew that the same method used in making aquariums can be equally applied to houses? The source to stir details can be from anywhere.

Tap into your inner detailer.

• • •

This is the ninth piece of a series focused on the lively cast of characters whose roles make the play of Creativity. In case you missed the previous Creative Role, meet the Compromiser.

• • •

Typographic illustration, tailormade for this series, was done by Shawn Hazen. Read his Designer’s Quest(ionnaire).

• • •