“We often say that we design everywhere for everyone,” says Lissa So, founding partner of the multidisciplinary design practice Marvel. Far from architects interested primarily in building vacation compounds for the global jetset, Marvel takes its motto seriously. “We have architects, landscape architects, planners, urban designers, and graphic designers, and we do all types of projects, from parks to theaters to schools to large-scale mixed use to affordable housing.” While they’re based in New York City, Marvel also has offices in Puerto Rico and Virginia.
In this week’s Milkshake, So shares her favorite recent project: a new YMCA in the Northeast Bronx. “It’s a project that this community has been fighting for for the past 30 years,” she says. “They said that they just didn’t have a community center for their kids to go after school, and they needed a home base. It was just an incredible project.” She also discusses Marvel’s work for St John’s Bread in Life, a soup kitchen and food pantry in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “It just gave me a tremendous amount of joy to see people use the facility and the impact that it was having on their lives,” So tells us. “Great design and great projects don’t necessarily have to be this ‘high’ design. It can really be more about how you’re impacting people’s lives.”
Also in this Milkshake: So shares what she wishes she knew at the beginning of her career – and the most difficult personality trait for any architect. Tune in for more!
Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.
Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.