Sometimes you just have a moment when, unexpectedly, you solve a problem that has been bugging you, dream up a new idea or maybe just out of nowhere you connect the dots on a few formerly seemingly unconnected thoughts. Those moments, no matter how small, are thrilling to me and feel like miniature revelations.
This past week I realized that MAINSPRING is not a collection of brick-and-mortar buildings, we are not real estate, homes, bars and cafés, but rather we are a collection of experiences that provide connection. The built environment is merely the experience in which connections are made and cultivated.
I realized that our obsession with creating experiences is actually what comes first. The form it takes, whether an office, retail space, a garden, a café, a cocktail bar, that comes second and is merely the vehicle that draws others in.
Watching others live, connect, meet, eat and drink in our spaces gives me an inexplicable joy. Seeing strangers walk into Room for Milly for the first time and express a sense of joy at the richly layered space, happily greet and spend time with friends or loved ones over a cocktail or dinner just fills my soul.
It is what our staff live for and why they do what they do, day in day out. Our staff who carefully craft cocktails, pour the finest lattes, build and maintain the buildings and spaces, pay invoices and run financial statements and payroll. They are all in it for the same reason.
At our very first project, Backyard on Blake, we set aside space for a courtyard and rooftop garden, incorporated a corner coffee shop and designed the retail spaces to all open into the community courtyard. The goal was to create a space that those in the neighborhood felt was their own Backyard.
Shortly after opening, a Backyard neighbor commented to me that in the time since our opening, they had met more of their condo building neighbors in the Backyard than they had in the previous five years of living there.
That is what it is all about.