Design Digest: BBCO Design
BBCO Design has become known in Columbus for their modern take on apartment living with such projects as the View on High, East Village, and the recently-announced View on Fifth. A recent feature in Metropreneur told the story of husband and wife team Bhakti Bania and Bharat Baste and how they built their business in Columbus. We recently checked in with them as a part of our Design Digest series to get their thoughts on modern architecture, design trends in Columbus, and the daunting task of designing a whole neighborhood for the Jeffrey Park project.
Q: One of your recent projects is Jeffrey Park in Italian Village, which will add 1,300 residences to Italian Village. Was it challenging working on a project of that scope?
A: At BBCO we like to think of projects as a whole but also as a sum of parts. When faced with the prospect of designing almost an entire neighborhood, it was very important to look at each individual building, and create what was most appropriate. Currently we have designed a portion of the project with some larger apartment buildings, the community center, some smaller apartment buildings and townhomes. Just the variety of the type of apartments was a great start in trying to create a new neighborhood adjacent to one of the most vibrant hubs in Columbus. The challenge was to make it a cohesive neighborhood, but not make it look identical and make it seem more natural. We took a lot of our cues from the scale of buildings in Italian Village, but stayed with a more modern industrial aesthetic that had to do with the history of the site itself as well as its current context.
Q: Many of BBCO’s projects feature modern architecture. Is this a conscious choice on your part or could you see yourselves designing more traditional-looking projects in the future?
A: Our design aesthetic at BBCO is constantly evolving and really depends on what is most appropriate for the project as well as its context. We are always looking at ways to use traditional materials in an unconventional way, and do believe in the honesty of a building’s aesthetic to its age. We tend to favor simple but powerful materials and try to do more with less. We believe very strongly that it really comes down to the proportions of all the elements that make up the building and that has been a key to creating projects that are pleasing aesthetically.
We think that traditional buildings that are authentic and were built at a time when that was the technology and material available, and so they are very appropriate. But to try to replicate that in the current context is really not possible due to the difference of construction technology and available skills. It would only be a very cheap version of the original, and would detract from the beauty of the original as well. In fact, building something modern in a traditional environment, as long as the scale is appropriate, is much more respectful of the context than trying to match it.
Q: You’ve worked on a number of apartment projects, which seem to be a very strong market now in Columbus. As more projects get built, do you think the trend in Columbus will be toward more modern or traditional designs?
A: From all indications on current and future trends that are sweeping not only Columbus but much of the rest of the country, we think that the modern aesthetic is here to stay. As millennials come of age, and start participating in the rental market, the trend is likely to stay in the modern range, as they do not want to stay in apartments that their parents may have stayed in, or anything that looks like that. In terms of interior space, the expectation seems to be more open plan and lots of natural light, which fits in perfectly with the modern exterior aesthetic as well.
Q: Any other design trends that you see taking hold in Columbus? Any trends you’d like see take off?
A: Columbus is really poised to be the next trend setter more than a trend follower. There are so many great things happening here, with the vibrant arts community, the strong tech industries, the impressive medical facilities and the downtown revitalization that has occurred over the last 10 years. The only thing missing for a city of this size is really a viable public transportation option. To push our city to that next level, our hope is for that to become a reality. As that comes into play, it will activate so many more hubs around the city, and this will help with also making all things accessible to all people, which always makes for a great community. It could lead to more commercial growth along the transportation routes and also more interesting architecture along the way.
The other trend that would be great to see taking off is buildings on the vacant parking lots downtown. If the density goes up, that would be great to activate the downtown area with more residents which would lead to more activity.
Q: In general, do you think Columbus is a city that appreciates good architecture, or do we still have a ways to go before we see more emphasis placed on the design of our public and private spaces?
A: Columbus is on the right trajectory towards more appreciation of good design in all spaces, may they be public or private. There is already a strong indication of this in the new development that is occurring in the city. It would be great to have a more forceful presence on the design dialogue in the region and that is probably the next step that needs to be taken. More active participation on design related events on a National and International scale would bring the focus on the city, and that would be the goal to aim for in the coming years. We at BBCO are very optimistic that we already have the right ingredients and if we continue to attract the right people to live and work here, we could be the next small big city, not unlike Austin.
More information about BBCO Design is available at www.bbcodesign.com.
To read more about the business behind BBCO Design, CLICK HERE to visit TheMetropreneur.com.
Photo by Pam Reece. Renderings via BBCO.
From September 23rd to September 29th, Columbus Underground is Celebrating Design Week, brought to you by the Hamilton Parker Company. With a 15,000 square foot showroom located just outside Downtown at 1865 Leonard Ave, the Hamilton Parker Company has been your go-to local resource for home and business improvement projects of all sizes and budgets. Find out more at www.hamiltonparker.com.