NeoCon50 Coverage: A Design Dialogue with Clive Wilkinson and John Czarnecki

NeoCon50 Coverage: A Design Dialogue with Clive Wilkinson and John Czarnecki


The day following his induction as an IIDA Fellow, Clive Wilkinson, FAIA, FIIDA, RIBA, president of Clive Wilkinson Architects, sat down in the Ligne Roset showroom on 440 North Wells Street in Chicago with John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, deputy directly and senior vice president of IIDA, to discuss design as well as Wilkinson’s history in the field.

While Wilkinson’s welcome into the IIDA Fellowship may not be surprising to those who are familiar with his work, however, as Czarnecki stated, “It is also notable that Clive is now within a select group of less than 20 architects nationwide that are Fellows of both IIDA and AIA.”

In IIDA's selection of Wilkinson becoming a Fellow, Czarnecki continued, “His work, overall, challenges preconceived ideas of what an interior or building should be in terms of both form and the well-designed human experience. His portfolio has a level of excellence that other architects and designers aim to emulate.”

The conversation was both enlightening and hilarious, from Wilkinson’s recounting his American cross-country drive that sounded as if it became a site-seeing tour of mechanic shops, to his revealing that the reason he left Frank Gehry’s studio in the 1990s was because he was fired.

A Lasting Legacy

Of the lasting legacy he hopes to leave behind, Wilkinson said, “I would like to feel that I shared a thinking process with many designers who have worked on my teams which helped them, who in turn will help the next generation. And I would hope that our projects were similarly legible—that you could read social, artistic, and business intentionality in the work.”

Additionally, he offered students the advice: “Don’t change yourself, but make yourself the best version of who you already are. Be more you. Be passionate and make sure you are giving back to the world. Take awesome vacations. Show deep gratitude to people who cook awesome meals.”

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