After cutting his teeth working for Mitchell Giurgola, Michael Graves, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Matthew Baird founded his namesake firm that splits time between New York and Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine. With projects ranging from rustic Utah ski retreats to a Manhattan townhouse with a striking facade made from a single piece of steel, the growing firm has developed an impressive range that puts context first while allowing even the smallest design details to soar.
Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Hometown: For 30 years, we’ve been living in New York City. During Covid, we decamped to Mount Desert Island, Maine.
Studio location: Mount Desert Island and New York.
Describe what you make: Our studio engages in design work ranging from programming and planning of arts organizations and residential projects to a focus on compelling detailing and material invention, all united by a commitment to exceptional design. Our investigations into the unique cultural and material language of each project are tempered by a sensitivity to economic and environmental concerns, and we exploit these constraints to generate novel building forms and planning concepts.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: The team that I get to work with every day.
Describe the problem your work solves: Each project brings a myriad set of conflicting inputs and the effort that runs through all that we do is the endeavor to create lasting resolution.
Describe the project you are working on now: At any given time, the studio is engaged in anywhere from 15-20 active projects. We’re currently working on a deadline for a museum master plan in Philadelphia.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: We’re excited to be starting construction this spring on a ground-up arts complex in Rockland, Maine. This project will provide studios, housing, exhibition, and performance space for emerging artists.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Great people. Even better coffee.
What you do when you’re not working: Spend time with family, get outside, and learn about interesting art!
Sources of creative envy: The list is long. Among the top: Buckminster Fuller, Louis Kahn, Jerry Garcia.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Making cappuccinos.
Concrete or marble? Concrete.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.
Dark or light? Dark.