Episode 24: ‘sliding doors’ moments in design

Meet Brian Messana, the special guest who joined Editor Hamish Kilburn for episode 24 of DESIGN POD, sponsored by Minotti London. Messana, who is the Co-Founder of Messana O’Rorke, opened up about his turning-of-the-page career moments – and unveiled the risks that were and were not worth taking…

DESIGN POD Brian Messana

This episode of DESIGN POD, the podcast for all design and architecture enthusiasts, more than others perhaps, is about reflection; looking back at the decisions and circumstances around them that persuade us as creatives to ‘slide open’ new doors into new eras of design and life in general. The concept of the episode was inspired by Editor Hamish Kilburn’s recent trip to the Douro Valley, where he unexpectedly met another podcast host who was a guest at the hotel he was reviewing at the time. Jennie Becker is the host of ‘Sliding Doors‘, a podcast that welcomes inspirational people to identify and discuss the split seconds that changed the course of their lives. With Becker’s permission, this episode of DESIGN POD therefore explores just that. And the subject of the experiment is the charming Brian Messana, architect and Co-Founder of Messana O’Rorke.

“I’m an introvert. But once I start talking, you can’t shut me up,” he tells Kilburn when he sat down to record episode 24 of DESIGN POD. The New York-based architect is currently at an interesting point in his career, where his work is being recognised, celebrated and he is starting to wear a ‘legend’ status – not that he would agree with that. But leadership in Messana O’Rorke is not from the front. Instead, it is driven from within, putting less emphasis on owning an idea and more focus on, collectively within the team, making the concept as strong as it can be for the client. Indeed, this is what has allowed Messana and his business partner, Toby O’Rorke, to create their own style as a world-renowned studio.

25 years on from launching their business, following previous years’ working for and with the likes of Richard Meier, Thomas Phifer, Hani Rashid and Peter Marino, the dynamic pair have just launched their first monograph. Within the meaningfully curated mix of pages, they have identified 25 projects that reflect the soul, personality and ambition of the studio – some projects identified are more obvious than others.

On the podcast episode, Messana and Kilburn discuss loyal partnerships, the value of building a team that is on the same journey. Throughout the conversation, while referencing key projects – past, present and future – it becomes clear how challenges, opportunities and bold decisions led to break-through moments in the architect’s life.

Main image credit: DESIGN POD