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Meet Juan Cristobal Contin of Contin Architecture and Design in Lake Worth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Juan Cristobal Contin.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Juan Cristobal. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Our firm was started in Hong Kong in the year 2000. In Asia, I worked on large scale projects for large companies and we felt there was a need for change. We traveled, worked in every continent but Africa and Antarctica and needed to dig our feet in to form a base. We looked at many places over the years in different parts of the US and we decided that Lake Worth, in Palm Beach County, would be the best place for us. Lake Worth is probably the most diverse town in Florida with a rich history as one of Florida’s oldest cities. It has a crazy mix of people cultures, languages and is totally immersed in the arts.

Our firm has had great success in the last ten years and has been involved in teaching, charity work, lecturing and of course general practice. We enjoy doing a wide variety of work as we concentrate on the quality of our design research and above all; we love challenges. People have seen our work in major historic projects in Florida and New York and wonder if it is the same firm doing ultramodern work and historic buildings at the same time and we sort of laugh it off. We thrive on the challenge each project brings and we push the limits in each one of them, sometimes synthesizing them into a new construct.

For the last few years, we have been humbled with awards for our projects and we are grateful for every one of these accolades. In the end, we are glued to our core principles of design innovation and research. Every year brings new opportunities to work along our with our clients and produce our best try at new concepts. Currently, we are developing the City core of Lake Worth which is a tremendous opportunity in urban planning in a vibrant setting. We are developing concepts that can take a town like Lake Worth into another phase of growth that exploits its diverse and vibrant nature. Lots of work… hopefully lots of rewards! We have our fingers crossed!

Has it been a smooth road?
Everyone and every situation have obstacles and challenges.. you learn that through the years and you also learn to deal with them. The key at our firm is always to love and focus on what you do and above all, enjoy it. I will never forget my days in Asia when I went to Macau and walked into a gallery show by Konstantin Bessmertny. He is a Russian Artist living in Macau.

Everything in his show was about gambling in strange poses and situations in the paintings. So I wondered why anyone would paint so many exaggerated and awkward gambling situations in a City whose focus is on gambling? It seemed off and out of context. So I walked up to Constantine, and asked why are your paintings all about gambling? He pointed over to a wall of his masterpieces and said: “its because life is a gamble, no matter what you do”. I took this to heart and know that there is no smooth road and the struggle is part of the gamble.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our business is diverse. We are focused on design research and love to explore new ideas. This can come in many ways. It can be from balancing a building design to stretching a budget to make the project look incredible by using creative methods that may be completely uncommon. We love to strike a different note on each project.

Our firm is also really focused on the development of our people and their careers. People become part of your immediate orbit and you are really spending more time with them at work than you do with your family. Our company strives on working around people’s personal needs and professional development. We have architects, interns, office managers, vendors, friends, etc. who all have different points of view and needs and we really do try to accommodate them. Time off, sustainable pay, continuing education, company outings (sometimes too far away places like Las Vegas, New York or Chicago!). For a small boutique firm its important to keep everyone as happy as you can and continue to keep a positive vibe.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The South Florida tri-county area is amazing! Palm Beach, Broward and Dade are vibrant and growing every day. Each county may be different but they are connected in many ways. In terms of design and building, South Florida is a lab for architects and designers. The opportunity here is probably better than most places in the US and the world for the most part. The main business in South Florida is set up around Real Estate and development in a really beautiful landscape as a backdrop. For this alone opportunities are endless in South Florida in Architecture.

If you were starting out I would recommend people starting out here, but like anywhere else, you would need to keep your sights open and spread out when needed. Our times provide constant change and demand even more constant adaptability. Starting in South Florida would be wonderful but I would advise anyone to always look out for opportunities that may come up elsewhere. It is just the way it is today, no matter where you are.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Image Credits Contin Architects

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