August Architect Profile 5

With more than 20 years experience in the field, Lamberto Smigliani can be found at Eview 360, a company considered one of Metropolitan Detroit's 101 Best and Brightest Companies, by the Michigan Business and Professional Association. This passionate architect who found his niche early on in life, specializes in retail and automotive facilities with a focus on design execution and project/client management. He has worked on hundreds of projects around the nation in many different roles and positions within the framework of architecture and design.

W&C Architect interviewed Project Manager, Lamberto Smigliani.

How many years do you have in the profession?

Smigliani: Fifteen years commercial and nearly 20 years of residential.

What is your work history in this field?

Smigliani: I started out in high school and college as a residential design for our family design build construction company. Over the years we have built hundreds of custom homes for unique clients with the aspiration of building their dream home. Once graduating from college, I went to work for a firm specializing in automotive dealerships. Being a “car guy,” this was a great opportunity for me to merge my passion for cars with architecture. Along the way I had the opportunity to work on other projects in retail and commercial projects, as well.

In 2007 I left Michigan to move to Las Vegas to work on the City Center project for MGM Mirage. I was the project director for the design team for the Vdara Condo/Hotel. This opportunity lasted over three years and was an enriching design and building experience.

Since completion of that project, I returned to Michigan to resume my work at Eview 360. I am now focused on a few major accounts for a few automotive OEMs with work centered on design, branding, communication and roll out functions.

Where did you go to school?

Smigliani: Lawrence Tech. BS Architecture 1997, Masters Architecture 1999

Did you have a specialization?

Smigliani: Specializing in retail and automotive facilities with a focus on design execution and project/client management.

W&C Architect: Do you approach architecture from an artistic or functional starting point? Are the two concepts exclusive?

Smigliani: Unfortunately architecture is the dynamic link between pure design and the functional execution. Design is a matter of deep introspection and reflection of one’s person viewpoint with regards to a particular challenge. Execution is the function side of the business as architecture is really about the built environment and how people live, work and react to the intended design. Great design is always in a state of flux with what can be achieved based on construction practices, technology limitations and overall budgets.

W&C Architect: If any, who are your role models?

Smigliani: Mies Van Der Rohe was always a point of great reference. His ability to design based on construction practices and the ability to take a construction methodology and create a design experience from those means and methods. In today’s market, those ideals and principles are quintessential to successful design execution.

I also fancy Frank Lloyd Wright as he represented the opposite perspective, wherein the architect is the chief person to use design as a medium for pushing the construction limitations and boundaries of what is possible. His contemporaries like Libeskind, Gehry, and Hadid are the current examples of how this approach is being utilized today.

W&C Architect: What projects, other than your own work, do you find inspiring?

Smigliani: The Delanno Hotel, Miami, The Burj Al arab, Dubai, Various work by Calatrava.

W&C Architect: How many buildings have you designed?

Smigliani: Hundreds of homes, hundreds of automotive retail facilities. Several retail and commercial projects.

W&C Architect: If you had to choose one to represent your work, what project would you choose?

Smigliani: Vdara Condo Hotel. This hotel, though not designed by me, was the shining example of how the architect can be the link between designer, contractor, owner and construction team. The ability to orchestrate the movements of all these components in such a dynamic and political atmosphere showcases the key strength of the architect as a master builder.

W&C Architect: What are your guiding principles when designing a structure?

Smigliani: Desire, cost, constructability and the end desired result.

W&C Architect: If you could have any building to redesign—anywhere in the world—which would you like to address?

Smigliani: None, each architect has challenges to face on each project. There is not the ability to rethink those solutions from a hindsight point of view. To think I or anyone for that matter could redesign a project would be presumptuous and not taking into account all the hidden challenges that had to be overcome.

W&C Architect: What types of products interest you?

Smigliani: I am fascinated by the new LED technology and how it is getting incorporated into many traditional building products. The industry is making new ground every day with lighting incorporated into stone, concrete, wood, and synthetic resign materials.

What types of products in the wall and ceiling industry really interest you?

Smigliani: Customized lighting and custom fabrications from many light suppliers. Also, the new ceiling treatments accents that continue to cross the line and blur the delineation between ceiling, lighting, and finishes. More and more the materials and lighting we select actually are helping to define the space and to the point that they now actually create the feeling of the space itself.