Continuing our look at inspiring spaces around the world and close to home, we speak to Jeremy Kramer, Principal and Creative Director from KDA, Kramer Design Associates.
Internationally renowned for brand identity, signage programs, street furniture and media architecture from Toronto to Doha, Qatar, and having recently created the striking stairs at their head office using Caesarstone, he sat down with us to talk about the ability of design to create memorable spaces that heighten people’s everyday experience.
All in the family
An award-winning design firm and second-generation family business, Kramer Design Associates was founded in 1967 as a branding firm, before evolving into a multidisciplinary firm. In 1989, it was rebranded with Jeremy at the helm, and continues to be guided by the philosophy of enhancing experience through design.
In conversation with KDA’s Jeremy Kramer
The firm consists of a highly skilled team of architectural, industrial, environmental and graphic designers. Our team comes from many different backgrounds, which makes us uniquely positioned to bring many different skills to each project. The firm’s primary focus is to represent and integrate brand character into our signage, wayfinding, identity, street furniture and media architecture programs. Our employees have a broad perspective and are committed to collaboration and a team spirit above all.
Custom and conceptual
All of our work is custom and offers clients a novel approach to design. To innovate is a mandate for the entire design industry. But, when you are doing things that are new or different, it requires education and consensus to make clients feel comfortable, so you can continue to push things forward.
Prepare for impact
A lot of our team’s work is very gratifying because it impacts so many people’s lives in a positive way. One project that exemplifies that is Maple Leaf Square, becoming even bigger than we envisioned as a place that brings the city together. While many people are unable to afford to watch a game live, the large outdoor screens and open design of the space give everyone the opportunity to be a part of the action and excitement. Another upcoming project that we’re excited to be working on is the redesign of Yonge-Dundas Square.
Elevated design: creating the staircase
Since our office is in a narrow building, the stairs are how people access and interact with the different creative departments. The staircase was a great design experience as it showcased how design can elevate your everyday experience. In this way, the stairs are a physical representation of our company’s philosophy.
Step by step
Designing the staircase was a multistep process (quite literally). We had to create a frame that had almost no flex. Bringing it to life was a three-layer design strategy. First, the internal field structure was built. Then it was cladded with millwork, and in the final stage, the stairs were covered with 2141 Blizzard, from Caesarstone’s Classico Collection.
Drawn to precision
The drawing had to be incredibly precise to ensure that everything fit together like a puzzle. Once the drawings were finished, it was like clockwork. The only challenge that we came across was how to make the stairs slip-resistant. The initial thought was to sandblast or apply a tape strip, but this would detract from look of the stairs. The solution that we came up with was to insert two linear strips of stainless steel on each stair tread.
Kramer’s greatest hits
With over 25 years of experience, Jeremy has successfully completed hundreds of projects across North America and abroad. Working alongside his business and life partner, KDA’s Principal Janet Young, he is responsible for designing Toronto’s coordinated street furniture program, one of the largest in the world; the Eaton Centre’s 18-storey, multimedia tower, the first of its kind in Canada; and an exclusive signage and wayfinding program for The Pearl-Qatar in Doha, Qatar’s first international urban venture. An OCAD graduate who is recognized and published internationally, he is the recipient of numerous awards, has acted as an invited panelist on several international design juries, and has been guest speaker at universities and conferences.
Bring inspired design to the surface
Discover more innovative uses for Caesarstone that go well beyond the surface. Explore what you can do in a kitchen, bathroom or industrial space and see how it would look in any Caesarstone colour with our Visualiser tool.