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Coffee with a Designer Presents Architect and VP of Studio Operations, Don Iafrate

Updated: Jun 30

At onespace we love talking to people and continuously learn from their expertise and experiences. Our goal is to get inside their heads to find out what fuels their passions. We would like to present Architect and VP of Studio Operations, Don Iafrate.


When did you know you wanted to be an architect? And what made you choose this career?

“I have always had an interest in making things, great ideas were often turned into terrible prototypes - but that was where the fun was. That process of developing an idea into something useable was interesting to me since I can remember. I look at all of the products of design - buildings, public spaces, interiors, furniture, etc. in the same light. It was only after I understood that a career in architecture would allow me to pursue many of these areas of design that I chose to become an architect.”

What is an important element of design you consider when working on a project?

“Quality of light. Light and shadow plays such an important role in changing the environment that we work, play, gather…. If it’s not appropriate to the space, it’s really a lost opportunity. When you get it right –it can have the biggest impact of your design. The masters always got it right – Louie Khan, Tadao Ando, Richard Neutra…to name a few.”

Where do you get your inspiration from?

“Although inspiration can really come from anywhere, and often from unexpected sources, I’d have to say I often begin with the site and its context.

All sites have unique context, understanding what makes any site unique is usually the first step in finding relevant inspiration. The history of the place, the culture, the neighborhood context, and how it developed over time can often lead this process.”

If you could choose any city in the world to live in, where would it be? And why?

“That is such a hard question to answer because I’m always curious to see cities that are different from what I know. The answer is probably one that I haven’t seen yet.

Having said that, I really like the scale and density of European cities, built before cars. They are more contextually rich, and less reliant on vehicles for day to day living. I prefer a city that you can walk daily.”

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