The Good, the Bad and the Enduring

People talk about two sides of a coin and two sides to every story. In the real world, there are two sides to everything: the good and the bad.

For today’s design consultancies, the good news is that design is more highly valued and in greater demand than ever before. Designers intuitively organize and simplify that which is complex. There is a collective awareness about how design thinking can be used to solve a variety of problems that transcend the look, feel and function of an object. In a rapidly shifting world, clients understand this power, extending our role beyond the design of things to the design of business. More so than ever before, businesses value creativity, agility, tenacity, collaboration and emotional intelligence. In turn, design consultancies have earned a seat at the executive table, allowing us to help identify, define and solve a multitude of systems problems. More and more, design consultancies are asked to be change agents and provide leadership.

On the other hand, we do see some negative trends for design consultancies. Companies that value design continue to bring it in-house, reducing demand for consultancies. As design becomes a more widely used strategy, its power and true meaning has become misunderstood or misrepresented by some. The demand for design has led to large managerial consultants acquiring design firms. Will these acquisitions allow the creativity that is revolutionizing today’s business culture to continue to thrive? Or will it get throttled by the machine? And while systems-thinking projects are intellectually stimulating, as a product designer nothing can replace the first time you hold and use each new product you’ve designed.

More and more, design consultancies are asked to be change agents and provide leadership.

With that said, the future is extremely bright for design consultants. Our true value comes from the people and the culture of creativity fostered within the consulting environment. Our depth of experience and diversity of work leads to deep contextual knowledge of human behavior. We see rapid shifts in the world that call for creative solutions in retail, healthcare, education, government, technology. Design is not only in demand, it is critical to finding the path forward, and design consultancies are best positioned to deliver enduring solutions.

Projects We Love – Valentines Day 2016

Happy Valentines Day. We hope you find lots of love in your lives this holiday. Here at MGA&D we have been feeling the love and wanted to share some of our projects that we love with you.

Thomas P. Rowe, AIA


I have always admired the architectural character of the 35-story World Trade Exchange Center in Manila, Philippines. The view across Manila Bay really makes the tower stand out among the other buildings.

World Trade Exchange Center Manila, Philippines

World Trade Exchange Center
Manila, Philippines

Julie Yurasek

Director of Interior Design

I ‪LOVE‬ the St.Regis ‪ interior design‬ project. For a long list of personal and professional life experiences that occurred because of it.

The Nile Corniche/St. Regis

The Nile Corniche/St. Regis

Donald Strum

Principal, ‎Product Design

My favorite project were the 3 Crystal and Bronze vessels we designed for Steuben Glass, which were realized in 1988.
It was one of the first times I had the unique privilege of spending unmingled amounts of time working directly alongside Michael Graves in the field.  For a time, we flew every Friday in the Corning company plane up to Elmira, New York, to oversee the progress of the vases and bowls.  We worked closely with identical twin brothers, who were master gaffers (glass blowers) developing the various molten stages of our project.  Their particular manual arts contribution to the process is without question. However, what struck me as odd, is that one brother was named Harry, the other Harold.  Now where I come from that is the same name – cruel joke or simply lazy parents.  However, the process of glass blowing is one of pure alchemy I tell you, and we are attributed with this exquisite manner of combining bronze armatures cradling precious glass, thus influencing the Home Decor industry as a whole.
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Megan Luce

Senior Interior Designer

I love Resorts World Sentosa, Because I was allowed to specify gold glitter wall covering!

Crockfords Tower

Crockfords Tower

Robert Blaser, AIA

Senior Associate Director of Architecture

The Lititz Watch Technicum. It is a beautiful combination of Pennsylvania barn vernacular and Michael Graves design.

World Trade Exchange Center Manila, Philippines

Rob Van Varick

Principal – Design, Insights & Strategy

My favorite project is Michael Graves Architecture & Design. I have a responsibility to what this amazing organization has accomplished, and what it will accomplish.  This project is about people, problems, and passion.  I get to collaborate with the most incredibly talented and passionate people to address problems in a humanistic, and holistic way. It is one of those great open-ended projects I hope to spend my life working on.

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