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Spongebob Squarepants

January 14, 2013

What?! Is it 2011? A new blog entry? A lot has happened since I last posted anything here. I got a job, changed my profession (slightly) and moved to Chicago.

Most of you already know the story so I won’t bore you with any of that…. What I’m really writing about is a continuation of my last post…in 2011. Specifically this sentence:

“ I should find out if they ever built any of my projects….” – Daniel Hong

I realize that I just quoted myself, but it’s important! They actually built one of my projects.

You may think that the rest of the post will now be a self-congratulatory piece of how amazing it is to have your first building made and subsequent pictures of said amazing building.

If only life was that easy. Instead I’ll tell you a tale of grand ambition, creative differences and large amounts of Spongebob Squarepants. Yes, Spongebob Squarepants.

I’ve posted images of my Hilton Kid’s Club before on this blog. It was one of the final buildings I designed before being evacuated. Knowing the weird circumstances and complete lack of communication afterwards, I assumed the project was either nixed or done by another designer. I never really thought anything of it until recently when I searched for the hotel online and saw my building online. But somehow….different.

rainbows!!

O.G. design

You see, when I first designed the building I was told to be playful in my designs. You’ll even see in the Rejected Architecture Club post I even put a bird on it (before Portlandia made it cool/uncool). I eventually settled on a colorful building with rhythmic windows and rainbow façade. The CEO, however, was reluctant with the design and wanted the building to be more “kid-friendly.” He suggested, “Spongebob Squarepants. Put it on the walls.” I respectfully told him that probably wouldn’t work because of copyright issues and, well, ugliness. I thought the issue had passed, as we continued with the original design.

Kid's Club 4.1

put a bird on it

Cue Revolution.

A year or two later and I see my building built somewhat close to my original design. BUT with one clear difference: M*th@rF@$%in’ Spongebob mural all over everything. I couldn’t believe it. They didn’t even do it right! They had pineapples and submarines, with trees and flowers. Every inch of the building was painted. It was like a children’s novel had threw up all over the building. MY first building was a copyright-infringing Spongebob building in the middle of the desert.

Photos of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort, Marsa Alam
This photo of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Photos of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort, Marsa Alam
This photo of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Photos of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort, Marsa Alam
This photo of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Photos of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort, Marsa Alam
This photo of Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor

After the initial shock and anger of it all, I’m now resigned to the fact that maybe my one and only building will be an infamous Spongebob building in Egypt. But I’ve learned a very critical lesson that was instilled in me, but forgotten since architecture school. THE PROJECT IS NOT YOURS. Making things so personal will only burn you later. You have to realize very early on in your career that these projects aren’t your babies. They are buildings, shaped not only by you, but also by your client, the contractors, the consultants, etc. And if I stay in interior design and never ever design a building again, I can still be proud that a building of mine was made. I’ll always have Spongebob Squarepants.

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