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  • Writer's picturePat Ziv

Who inspires your Graduate? Barbie was my Architectural Inspiration!

My career in architectural design was serendipitous. I loved drawing and doodling as much as I enjoyed math in school. Unfortunately, these two never came up in conversation when preparing for higher education. One day, deep into a university mathematical major, I visited a friend who was completing the drawing of a building on her drafting board. I knew at that moment that this was the profession for me! Soon thereafter, I was enrolled in architectural school. I feel lucky to have found my calling. Some people never do and dread going to work every day.

Many years ago, I did play with my cardboard Barbie house, arranging and rearranging the cardboard furniture and building some of my own custom designs. I suppose you could say that my initial interior design projects were for Barbie, Ken and Skipper. You couldn’t ask for more agreeable clients!

Interior Design projects consist not only of fabrics and color selections. Among other items, they entail assessment of the current site, space planning and formulating the final vision while achieving the goals of the client which are always paramount. Sometimes technical barriers need to be solved or maximizing of space is critical to the function of the space. I have often designed custom furniture or cabinetry when the exact size or function of available options was not quite right. These have become my Zivi line of furniture.

Upon seeing a recently created space or during the design process, clients and friends have asked, how did you decide on this or why did you choose that solution? How did you arrive at this creative option? What was your inspiration?

The inspiration is often in the solutions. The clients are usually the reason for my decisions; their preferences and what will make their space meet the needs? What will make them feel comfortable or how will the space function?

I am a believer in Form follows Function which leads PVZ Design to the esthetic solution. Only when the two work together is the project complete.

As per Wikipedia, Form follows function is a principle associated with modernist architecture and industrial design in the 20th century. The principle is that the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose. This is not to say that a beautiful piece beloved or inherited by the client cannot be the impetus of a new overall project. If it is truly functional, we can integrate it and perhaps complement it’s deficiencies. If not, we will enjoy it as the family’s treasured piece of art.

Design inspiration is everywhere. It can be from a leaf on the floor to the clouds in the sky. It can come from a woman’s coat to a man’s lapel; from a beautiful ring to a curly shoelace, a glass vase to a stained window. Inspiration is in art and even in toys.

I hope you are watching your kids as they play and evolve. They may be showing you their interests and strengths which could lead them to a very satisfying career.

Happy Graduation to all and to all May you love your next step and ultimately your professions!

Pat Valentine Ziv is a Certified Interior Designer specializing in Medical and Corporate offices as well as all spaces in the home. Let’s discuss your next project. Call me at 201 233-4636 or e-mail me at

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