Getting to Know Eric Swakon, Director – Architecture
You may be hard-pressed to find a true local Miamian these days, but Eric Swakon wears the title well. A South Florida native who took a break from Miami to study at the University of Southern California School of Architecture, Eric was quick to return home where he would begin to make his mark in the architecture scene. He launched his career with a focus on high-rise residential and mixed-use buildings, later moving on to design numerous large hospitality projects.
Today, Eric serves as the Director of Architecture here at Debowsky Design Group. Eric’s conceptual drawings and 3-D renderings have become the initial “wow factor” for our projects. His attention to detail and ability to find new, unique ways to make design feel not only more fluid, but more personal to each and every project are the first steps in what truly sets our firm apart. Eric is someone you always want to have in your corner when it comes to design.
My days always start with coffee. If I’m at the office all day, I make a nice big pot. If I’m heading out on-site, then it almost always starts with a stop at Starbucks: Grande Flat White and I’m set.
I hit the office and immediately tackle my inbox, catching up on anything that might have come in overnight, and plan for the rest of the day. For all of our projects that are currently in the permitting process, I check the status on a daily, if not hourly, basis. A good day is seeing APPROVED and being able to report to the client and team.
When I was in college at USC, people often asked me if I preferred Miami or Los Angeles. For me, it was always an easy answer, without a second of hesitation: Miami.
I certainly appreciated all the amenities and variety LA has to offer, but I viewed the city as overwhelmingly concrete and gray. Miami, however, is green and lush.
It’s hard not to be inspired in Miami, as it’s a very forward-thinking and adventurous city when it comes to design. There isn’t any idea that is off-limits or too risky. In that respect, LA and my hometown are similar.
Living in both places has influenced how I think about design. They’ve impacted my own creativity and showed me daily that innovative concepts are the only way to go. I approach every project conceptualizing how I can transform it in my own way, rather than looking over my shoulder and wondering how everyone else is doing it.
Our clients definitely see my style, or our team’s style, in every Debowsky Design Group project. We try not to shy away from it or try to hide it away, either. Clients come to us for our style, they hire us for our style, and they depend on our style to work for them. It is the very essence of what we do as designers.
It’s also important that our clients’ tastes and interests are well-represented. That’s why I feel it’s crucial to have our team’s aesthetic diversified; each of us are well-versed in a variety of styles so that we can create a unique look that both represent us even when merged with the personal design interest of our clients.
I don’t think of myself as being true to just one aesthetic, but rather being able to make any style – modern, traditional, etc. – as cohesive and effective as possible.
I enjoy exterior additions to houses. Specifically, adding elements that help reshape the front of a home or building, and drastically change the way the building is perceived. It’s the first impression offered to everyone who enters the space, and I enjoy trying to set that stage or idea in someone’s mind in the first moment they see a project.
It’s always a welcome day to see a satisfied client and a job well done. When a client expresses their sincere appreciation – whether we’ve designed something for them they hadn’t even thought was possible, or alleviated any possible stressor during construction – it’s a reward like no other.
I routinely drive past our projects long after they’re completed to see how they’ve matured; they each represent a positive experience, another chance to learn and be creative, all of which are extremely rewarding.
But I look most forward to the next new project. Many of our clients come from enthusiastic word-of-mouth referrals, which means so much to all of us. Every new client and job opportunity represents positive and active recognition from our community, and also the growth we’ve worked so hard to achieve.
There comes a time in any project where something, inevitably, will go sideways. Maybe an order we’ve been waiting for is delayed, or a key part of the design is suddenly missing. As a professional who can visualize how every project will end, and who understands that there will be some days in the build where it seems like we take two steps back for every one step forward, I know how integral patience can be.
Yet I also understand how worried clients become. I liken it to a surgeon talking about performing a heart transplant, assuring the patient’s family, “Don’t worry. I do this all the time.” Understandably, there’s still worry.
But don’t worry. I do this all the time.
My ultimate goal is for clients that come to Debowsky Design Group not out of necessity – but out of desire. I want the work that we are doing to elicit a kind of lust. I want people to desire our brand and the design we offer, all while maintaining the incomparable level of service that is so hard to come by in our industry.
To schedule a design consult with Eric, simply contact Debowsky Design Group. He’s ready to make your ideas come to life.
6 years Ago