The Annual International Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2019
Berkeley Prize 2019

Charles Fadem

2000 Essay Prize Winner - Third Place

Country of Origin: United States
Country of Study: United States
Current Country: United States

Degrees: Bachelor of Architecture (2001)


I am the Director of Interior Design at Board & Vellum Architecture in Seattle, U.S.A., but my work focuses on experiential design, which transcends the architecture, landscape and interior design disciplines. While I spent much of my career working solely on “ground-up architecture” I realized one day that creating waterproof, code compliant, zoning friendly boxes in urban centers wasn’t quite where I felt the most connected to creating the actual experience of a space.

Experiential and interior design at Board & Vellum focuses most on the story of interaction with architecture on a human scale. We believe that the social activity in a space activates and completes it, and in this way, there is no question that design is a social art. Recently we completed a design for Laughing Buddha, a Tattoo and Body Jewelry space where the traditional concepts for such a program were thrown away in favor of an almost spa-like, hospitality setting. The act of receiving body art was treated as a social experience, and the design reflected that vision. We utilized light, color, sound, and carefully curated furniture and curious objects in the space to promote the social bonding aspect of body art.

More than just design, there is no more social an art than conversation. We have both a podcast called B&V Radio, as well as regular community “Night School” events, where we invite the public to join us in the discourse of design. By creating an accessible avenue for non-designers to discuss how we all shape our spaces, the act of design is one that our Seattle community takes part in together.

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