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What Jazz and Architecture have in common

Creativity, cats, and clients


What Jazz and Architecture have in common.


Have you ever listened to jazz?



Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit that it’s distinctive. You can easily recognize its wild, roaming notes and syncopated beats, alive with improvisation.


However, even if the music sounds fully improvised, the musicians behind each song have spent thousands of hours learning music theory, practicing scales, and investing the time to perfect their craft.


Creativity is a lot like that.


Just like jazz, creativity also requires method and practice.


It’s not enough to just be “creative” and create something new, exciting, or original. You need a clear target, a direction, and a plan of action in mind.


A mental map and guideline on how to get to your goal.



Without it, you’re just setting a cat on a piano and calling the sounds coming from the keys “original music.” As exciting as that performance may be, it doesn’t really make the cat a musician.


Not even close!


That’s why creativity needs to be balanced with method and practice, the same way a jazz musician needs to put in the work and hours to know what sounds good and what doesn’t.


If this surprises you, click here to read about how your expectation of the creative process can make or break your projects at work.


Speaking of work, let’s talk about the first stage of any architectural project.

A jazz musician needs to learn the rules and musical notes before making music, the same way you need to gather your building blocks before you start to build.



How do you start your first project, you ask?



Here’s a quick list:


1) Find and download the original drawings, floor plans, and blueprints.


2)Visit the place in person, alone and with the client. 


3)Survey the place in detail. Include dimensions and photos.


4)Have a deep, face-to-face conversation with the final users about what they want to achieve and what is sitting between them and the final result.


5)Browse through various collections, materials, and articles for inspiration. Write down what speaks to you or catches your eye.


6)Finally, just start!


There’s no need to have a perfect result or have everything figured out just yet. Keep in mind that this list is an exercise to help you find your vision and direction.


You can adjust the outcome as you go. 



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Original drawings from the archive of old apartment in Copenhagen.

You’ll probably realize that you have to be a bit methodical as you go down the list to collect external input from various sources. But, once you’ve reached this part of the process, it’s time to let creativity kick in. Let the cat loose on the keys, so to speak.

Let your brain connect the dots and synthesize what you’ve gathered until it lands on a solution.


Remember: creativity isn’t about reinventing the wheel from scratch, it’s about using existing things to create a fresh combination of ideas.


If you feel like you are missing some ideas, repeat the process. Have more conversations. Did you talk with your client about their needs, wishes, or definition of a successful project? Did you ask deep questions about their vision, budget, and expectations? Or did you only scratch the surface?


Once you have more information, go back to your process and let creativity take over!


What are your thoughts on this? How do you start your projects?


This post is written in collaboration with talented copywriter Sefanya Hiennadi.  


Let´s connect!

Danila Lampis arkitekt. Connect with me on Instagram and say hi!


Sefanya Hiennadi copywriter. Connect with her on Linkedin and say hi!


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