Jason Kentner, a Registered Landscape Architect, had kept an eye on the building that sits on a quiet street off of High Street, that now houses his business for awhile, waiting for it to become available.
“I had known of the building for a few years, lived in neighborhood, and always had a really clear image of how I would approach making it into an office,” he says. “I think I drew an early plan almost three years before the space became available and the business was ready.”
That business is IMPLEMENT, a collaborative design practice in the Short North that explores how design, graphics, and landscape impact their communities.
“The space was just a shell, four walls and a roof, so it was as blank a slate as you could imagine,” he says. “The best part was being able to make pretty much everything as we wanted. We designed furniture, color scheme, space layout.”
Kentner had spent a number of years in academia, doing design competitions and research. Along came a few opportunities to return to private practice and IMPLEMENT grew from there.
The space before, photos courtesy Jason Kentner:
“After about a year of doing work, in addition to my teaching, it felt like I could grow the business so we started thinking about a space,” he says.
A small loan got them set to do the renovation to the space, just under 1500 square-feet. Renovations were done while the business was run out of Kentner’s home office.
“That allowed us to do the renovation with what the business was generating, and a lot of sweat equity,” he says.
“I’ve been in the Short North since moving to Columbus from Austin,” he says. “The neighborhood is really exciting and always changing so we enjoy that. Right now the neighborhood feels like it is going through a very rapid time of change so we certainly hope to be a productive voice and help contribute to the dynamic of the neighborhood.”
IMPLEMENT is currently doing between 10-12 projects a year.
“We are a small business and for the first few years we’re focusing on keeping doors open and bills paid all while doing the type of work we want to do,” he says.
Kentner has continued his academic career as IMPLEMENT is growing, and that can lead to some long work days.
“The biggest challenge we’ve faced is balancing academic life and professional practice, the two are not always on the same schedule so our lights are commonly on pretty late,” he says. ” I really enjoy being able to develop something and invite others -clients and collaborators- in to help shape the work we do.”
The space was designed to allow for flexibility and rearranging to accommodate all of their workflow.
“The fact that it is both very durable (we can make a big mess from time to time) for building things and also very comfortable is what I love,” he says.
With so much planning going into his office space, Kentner had plenty of time to collect furniture and items for the space.
“I started to collect furniture and keep it in storage a few years ago as different deals surfaced,” he says. “My favorite pieces are the workstation desks, which we designed with Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel out of Cleveland. My favorite piece of furniture, one that we say “built the office”, is our workbench/table that I designed and my good friend Shawn Walburn of Walburn Creative made for us. It was the first thing in the space and latterly every piece of wood and drywall in the office touched that workbench.”
The dramatic transformation of his office space mimics some of his favorite professional projects.
“I certainly like those projects where the before and after are just shocking, but my favorites are where the process of working on the project has created a strong relationship with our clients,” he says. “Two here in the Short North that I’m very proud of are the Pizzuti Collection Sculpture Garden and the master plan we’ve done for St. Joseph Montessori School.”
After photos by Anne Evans:
With IMPLEMENT, Kentner starts projects with smaller institutional clients, lending advice, and then can watch them blossom into larger scale projects that really have an impact on their surrounding environments. Being active in neighborhood groups has also led to the development of important projects, recently the vision for Goodale Park.
“The park is a great asset to the neighborhood and city so I really enjoy being able to give my time and energy to the park,” he says.
To learn more about IMPLEMENT, visit Implement-studio.net.
Do you know of, have, or work in, a creative workspace and would like to be featured in this series? If so, please contact Anne Evans.