Friday, May 25, 2007

Ralph Applebaum & Associates

RAA - The Foundling Museum London, UK

RAA - US Holocaust Memorial Museum Washington DC

RAA - Vietnam Veteran Memorial Center Washington DC

RAA - American National History Museum New York City

Febuary 2007, I go to Parsons Career Day with my resume because we were promised there were Interior Designer Scouts (usually it's mostly fashion). I was feeling a little disheveled from the chaotic semester. I was squeezing in the Career Day to scope it out, no big plan.

As always at these things - there were big names: Marc Jacobs, Target, MTV, Martha Stewart. Obviously a wide variety. I lined up for the names that had Interior Design next to their name on our list and luckily came upon the Ralph Applebaum and Associates table. I sat down, told them my name, and a brief description of my "story" and in my oh so graceful way admitted - "so . . . to be honest I know nothing about your company". The two sitting on the other side of the table were a little stiff and a little surprised (as a lot of these big companies are - "what, you don't know who WE are".

"No, I'm jest a keid from Utahhr)"

No, they weren't that bad, just a bit surprised I think.

Jennie (head of Human Resources as it would happen) went on to explain how the company had offices in New York, London, and Hong Kong. They were best known for their Museum and Monument work. As she was talking she handed me a small magazine to flip through. I scanned the book and (once again gracefully) dropped my jaw at the images I saw. This is the company that designed the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, wings of the American Museum of Natural History, as well as the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah, that's right.

As she described a new language museum they just finished in Sau Paulo, Brazil I was gone - dreaming about traveling the world, working with such a wide variety of people and ideas. I hadn't come up with this idea yet and I was captivated.

Sadly, since then, I haven't heard from RAA NY. I emailed Jennie right away to tell her how much I appreciated her talking to me, and how I would love the opportunity to intern if the opportunity was available. I emailed once again in May with a new resume, then again to the company instead of to Jennie. No luck.

I'm not all that worried about it. I mean, what can you do? I talked about it with one of my teachers and she mentioned some things I hadn't thought about - Since it is such a specialized type of work if I don't plan on doing it for the rest of my life it isn't the biggest resume booster. The work doesn't seem as relevant as people who have working in broader firms. Also, since they have sooo many employees, they often "bulk up" their employee force when they get big jobs, then go through extreme "de bulking" periods too. That all made me feel a little better about not being begged to be a part of it.

We'll see what happens. This was all good for me either way. I've known from the start that I wanted to be open to "different" options than the standard design job and this was the first "different" option that really got me excited. It helps that so many of RAA's work is so beautiful. They use high end "cutting edge" ideas and techniques, yet do such a beautiful job of mixing the history and content of their projects.

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