Designing a Sustainable Future
November 9, 2023
"Architecture and design can have a profound influence on people's lives." Marcos Santa Ana of Alloi Architecture shared his insights on running a small business, high performance design systems and his hope for a greener, bike-and-pedestrian friendly Los Angeles.
N2N: How do you think small businesses are important to LA’s economic ecosystem and future?
Marcos: Small businesses are vital to Los Angeles' economic ecosystem and future. They create jobs, stimulate local economic activity, foster innovation and creativity, and provide economic resilience. Supporting and nurturing small businesses is crucial for a thriving and inclusive economy in the city.
N2N: What are your hopes for the future of LA?
Marcos: I have high hopes for the expansion of housing and the overall development of Los Angeles into a fully mature city. It is essential to prioritize the development of a robust infrastructure that supports an efficient mass transit system and enables higher-density urban living.
N2N: What ideas do you have to help LA become more sustainable and community-oriented?
Marcos: To create a greener city, it is crucial to establish safe bike lanes enhanced by green walls that serve as sound and protective barriers for pedestrians and cyclists. Taking inspiration from Scandinavian countries like Denmark, implementing such infrastructure facilitates stronger human connections while enhancing mental and physical well-being. This approach mitigates the heat island effect caused by concrete surfaces reflecting heat and helps improve air quality by reducing microclimates.
N2N: Tell us about how your work affects your clients and the local community.
Marcos: We recently had the opportunity to work with a wonderful client in Westchester, whose profession as a neonatal doctor inspired us to create a truly transformative living space for her.
When we first visited her dark, and dated 1950s home, we immediately recognized the potential to turn it into a peaceful sanctuary that would greatly contribute to her overall well-being. The client's goals went beyond personal comfort – she wanted her home to become a welcoming space for visiting family and friends and also to positively impact the neighborhood as a whole.
We successfully transformed her home into a beautiful space that exceeded her expectations. We prioritized creating an environment that exuded tranquility, incorporating elements like natural lighting, cathedral ceilings, soothing neutral color palettes, and outdoor spaces to connect. The once outdated home now radiates a sense of warmth and serenity, offering a retreat where the client can come home to a place she is truly proud to showcase.
Since the completion of the project, we have witnessed the positive impact it has had on both the client and her local community. She eagerly returns to her home, filled with excitement and a renewed sense of pride. She invites friends and family to experience the welcoming ambiance that her transformed space offers.
This experience reminds us of the profound influence architecture and design can have on people's lives. We are honored to have connected with this client on such a personal level and witnessed the transformative power of creating harmonious living spaces. Stories like these continue to fuel our commitment to crafting homes that positively impact individuals' well-being while contributing to the vibrancy and positivity of the communities we serve.
N2N: Why do you like being a small business owner? What are some of your favorite parts of entrepreneurship?
Marcos: One of the most fulfilling aspects of being a small business owner is the ability to cultivate a close-knit work environment where employees are not just seen as numbers, but rather as valued members of a family. This sense of camaraderie, trust, and connection leads to stronger bonds and longer retention, allowing team members to learn a wide range of skills and gain insights and experience from various aspects of the business, including their colleagues and our leadership team.
Another aspect that I appreciate is the ability to be involved in every step of a project, from its initial conception to its final realization. Seeing the direct impact of our work and witnessing the positive changes it brings provides an immense sense of fulfillment and purpose.
I also enjoy the personal connection and interaction with clients. Meeting with clients, understanding their unique challenges, and providing tailored solutions is not only professionally rewarding but also allows for meaningful connections. By addressing their specific needs and concerns, we can deliver customized solutions that exceed their expectations, leading to client satisfaction and the fulfillment of their goals.
Being a small business owner offers the advantage of flexibility and adaptability. We can quickly respond to the ever-evolving demands of the environment, whether it's adapting to changing weather conditions, navigating shifting political landscapes, or staying up-to-date with new laws and regulations. This agility enables us to implement new sustainable techniques and practices, ensuring that our business remains at the forefront of innovation and sustainability.
To be more concise, being a small business owner offers the opportunity to foster a close-knit work environment, engage in end-to-end project involvement, adapt quickly to changing demands, and personally connect with clients to provide tailored solutions. These aspects make entrepreneurship an enriching and rewarding journey filled with personal growth, professional fulfillment, and the ability to positively impact the lives of both employees and clients.