MEET ROBERT JAMIESON
By: Jen Levisen, Communications Director, Mortarr
Robert Jamieson spent the first 10 years of his career working as a designer in New York City for architecture firm Kohn Pederson Fox, and supporting Michael Arad and his award-winning design for the World Trade Center Memorial. The next seven were spent at the helm of the internal store design team for lifestyle retailer, Anthropologie, where he oversaw all domestic projects, their brick-and-mortar launch into the UK/EU marketplace, and their sister wedding brand, BHLDN.
Scattered throughout those years were side projects when inspiration struck and schedules allowed under the Studio Robert Jamieson umbrella. In 2016, he finally made the leap and SRJ has continued as a full-time endeavor ever since.
“I had always done a few side projects here or there when I could squeeze them in and I found myself with a critical mass of projects,” he says. “That was the extra encouragement I needed to finally make the leap and make SRJ full-time.
“The last few years have been exciting,” he continues. “I’ve been taking it a year at a time and growing my business with the right clients and the right projects. It’s a busy time for designers in general, so we’ve been able to select the right opportunities for our team."
Based in Philadelphia, Pa., SRJ is run by Robert and one other designer. They’ve done work in both the residential and commercial space, although Robert says his design aesthetic differs between the two.
“Aesthetically, my residential work tends to be more straight up modern, while my commercial work tends to be rustic modern – industrial style using reclaimed materials, found objects, and repurposed things,” he says. “My history with Anthropologie really got me into that way of thinking, and over my seven years leading those teams I forged a number of relationships with found object, architectural salvage and reclaimed materials vendors. I’ve continued those relationships. They’ll send me photos of finds, or things they think I’ll like, and when I get an idea – say I want a reclaimed factory pendant light for a space – I can touch base with them. When I was with Anthro we would go on buying trips to Belgium, France and the UK – that was on a whole other level – but that experience allowed me to look beyond how things might be incorporated and I’ve carried that forward.”
Robert gave The Forum a behind-the-scenes take on some of his favorite SRJ projects.
The Ship // My client came to me with the site and the name, nothing else. He didn’t want the bar to literally embody a ship, but for the space to take cues from the nautical theme and apply them in a more modern way. The real focus of the space is the reclaimed ship vents that have been turned upside down and into a lighting installation. Everything came together from there. We reupholstered the chairs and booths with used sail cloth, used riveted aged zinc walls, put custom fabricated mirrors that mimic ship windows in the restrooms.
EKD/JLA Offices // This space started as the shell of a warehouse. There was literally nothing in it, other than a few columns. My client bought the building to turn it into their office space. The first part of the project was defining the space and determining how they wanted to use it. Two companies would be sharing the space, so we needed to give the two their autonomy, but also create shared space for the teams to co-mingle. The approach here was to take this vanilla box and give it some authenticity. We brought in reclaimed face brick for the perimeter walls, which makes it look like it was always a brick warehouse. My favorite part is the central space with the skylight. The way the plan was generated you have to move through that space whether you were a guest or employee, for either company. It was originally an interior space without any windows, so we created skylights to let light in. It really became the hub and heart of the project.
My Active Driveway II // The entry to this space is a client lounge and reception area and it’s backed by a custom, artisan blue plaster wall. We purchased reclaimed bookcases and wood doors to build into the wall to host a myriad of unique found objects. We scoured vintage markets to find an interesting collection – old transistor radios, lights, bottles, etc. In all of my projects the key is getting things to work and speak together in the same way. There is also a thread of focused moments, moments that create drama in the space, allowing the rest of the area to step back and be quiet. It really gives those moments more power.
Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee // This is a small outpost within the Roxy Hotel in TriBeCa, a neighborhood in New York City. Not only do they have their own storefront and entrance, but they are accessible from within the hotel as well. It was important to Jacks’ that this space not be like another coffee shop in a hotel lobby, but feel like a New York neighborhood coffee shop. Their other shops had a vintage, reclaimed feel, so we were able to create that with this space as well. The interior of the space is anchored by a 16’ wooden bar, salvaged from a vintage hardware store in Texas. The counter is surfaced in 3” thick marble, reclaimed from exterior paving stones on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pa. The existing wood floor was painted ‘Jack’s Red’ in keeping with their other locations.