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Smart Luxury: Refining the Concept

Posted July 9, 2014 by & filed under

Last week the discussion focused around the initial Concept Development meeting. This is the stage in Smart LuxuryTM when the client gets to see all the myriad of options that are running through the design team’s mind and help refine the concept to what speaks to them the most. Following the first Concept Development meeting the design team takes the selected options and further develops the concept based on those selections.

As we discussed last week, the design concept does not include specifics. It focuses instead on material options, color palettes, finish variations, overall floor plan layout and other general factors that will eventually be transformed into a full-fledged design. During the first Concept Development meeting the clients could have chosen a material from Option 1 and a finish from Option 2 and requested a completely different color palette. This second meeting refines those options to present a more complete concept specifically developed with the client’s input. While it still does not provide details at the level of Design Development it does narrow down the options from the first meeting.

The initial Concept Development meeting is generally slated to last between 3 and 4 hours (It’s long but productive). The second, refined concept meeting is almost as long. That meeting averages around 2 and 3 hours. It serves as a final review of the materials and overall direction of the project prior to the detailed design work beginning.

The article last week gave a detailed discussion of what was included in the Concept Development stage. It is also important to remember what is not included at this point. This first major misconception that is prevalent among clients is the expectation that the entire design has been developed at this point. That is to say that every material has been assigned a location, all the furniture has been selected and every accent lighting and plumbing fixture has been selected. That is not the case. The Concept Development meeting only reviews the materials and does not focus on their particular application. This is because there is no sense in investing the time to complete that exercise without confirming with the client the overall aesthetic would be wasteful and not in the client’s best interest.

The fact that the application of the materials and final selections of fixtures has not been completed leads to the second big misconception during Concept Development meetings. There is no budget or final pricing provided at this stage. Designers have a general working knowledge of price ranges for materials and more common manufacturers. This allows them to work within a general price point and be budget conscious even at this early stage. Once the concept is approved the designers will begin researching the specific materials, their applications and the exact pricing. That comes during Design Development.

As a client it is important to understand this. During Concept Development, numerous options will be provided to create a general direction, however there is a great deal of work still to go before the project details emerge.