A Dynamic Duo September 26, 2008
Stephanie Moore Hager & Geoff Hager
Opposites may spark an initial blaze of passion, but partners who share a compatible vision are not only capable of sustaining the sizzle, but of fueling the flames for a smoldering business relationship as well. When Geoff Hager and Stephanie Moore Hager spoke their marriage vows eight years ago, they promised to support one another in good times and in bad. Thanks to collaborations of their talents, the couple is most definitely enjoying the former.
Stephanie Moore Hager, founding principal of the Dallas-based interior design firm Moore Design Group, specializes in creating vibrant spaces within multifamily living communities all over North America. Geoff, a Renaissance man who is as comfortable drawing technically demanding architectural renderings as he is showing his expressive works of two- and three-dimensional fine art at galleries, enhances her firm’s interiors by articulating one-of-kind, site-specific pieces that go way beyond the conventional posters, prints, and giclées commonly reserved for developments with tight budgets. Together, they impress demanding developers with atypical interiors that attract tenants aspiring to enhanced lifestyles.
As in their personal relationship, the success of their professional relationship is based on a mutual respect and understanding. Though they wake up next to each other in the morning, Stephanie is careful to treat Geoff just like a regular vendor. Likewise, when he has been commissioned to produce a series of pieces for one of Stephanie’s projects, Geoff considers Stephanie just another client with demands and deadlines. Her firm does enlist other artists and craftsmen, but she admits that working with Geoff is often easier – not only because they know each other so well, but also because of his comprehensive understanding of the building process, his extensive background in architectural illustration, and his dependable organizational skills.
Commercial interior design and art created for public venues are each a delicate balance of creativity and business. Intertwined with the more imaginative component of conceptualizing and design development is the restrictive reality of schedules, budgets, construction and deadlines. Both Stephanie and Geoff are fortunate to posses the creativity to visualize and the left-brained skills to make their imaginations reality.
As any driven designer does, Stephanie practices a standardized method for getting the best out of her vendor relationships, and with Geoff she’s no different. A project collaboration evolves like this…
The two do not even start talking about art until the construction drawings and specifications are complete and the furniture and finishes selected. At this point Stephanie provides Geoff with floor plans, elevations, mood boards full of inspiring images and materials, and architectural renderings. As he frequently produces the latter, he is often intimately familiar with the project from the start. These renderings are actually part of the comprehensive package that Moore Design Group presents to the developers in the beginning in order to receive the go- ahead. As she never wants her clients to be surprised by the end result, Stephanie is meticulous about presenting a clear vision of what the project will ultimately look like.
Carefully evaluating proportion, scale and dimension, together the two determine which interior spaces to punctuate with Geoff’s work to provide the most impact. After a deadline is determined as per the overall project schedule, he comes back with studies – in both sketch and model form – and, as equally important, pricing. Just as Stephanie must do for the overall project, Geoff contacts his set of vendors to
estimate the costs associated with bringing his ideas to fruition. He not only must consider materials – such as metal, wood, fabric, canvas, paint, adhesives, etc. – and services – such as welding, metal cutting, installation, etc. – but also the durability of those materials and what is involved in their fabrication. Geoff’s challenge, of course, is to make the collection of work similar enough to harmonize but diverse enough as not to appear as if created by only one artist.
Once the pair tweaks the ideas for the pieces, Geoff’s meticulous, high- quality production process begins, melding his artistic and business skills. Because the artwork comes off the truck concurrently with the furniture and furnishings, he must very carefully take into account his scheduling milestones. Steps – such as p r o c u r i n g , c u r i n g , s o a k i n g , forming, welding, stretching, painting, drying, sanding, finishing, etc. – are planned to sync with the overall installation schedule.
A great deal of thought is put into the entire process to make the art unique to the project, to make it long-lasting and, as equally critical, to make it ready on time. Every aspect is fine tuned and thought out to the nth degree. The collaboration’s seamlessness does not just happen – Stephanie and Geoff facilitate it this way. They are admittedly their own worst critics, a crucial trait as they must take care to satisfy their extremely demanding clients – i.e., the owners and developers of multi- million dollar multifamily communities.
As a result, clients love them because they consistently exceed expectations, producing environments that people want to live in. Their projects come across so stunningly high-end that clients are often shocked. Even though Stephanie and her firm are very careful to portray an accurate picture of the project from the beginning, there is always a “wow” factor when the clients actually see the final product in person. Says Stephanie, “Whether leasing or buying, I want to create a culture and space that suggests the dollar value that tenants and owners are paying.”
Just a few of past collaborations between this dynamic duo include: Ridgeview in Austin, TX; Nexus in Portland, OR; The Depot in Fort Worth, TX; Bristol on Union in Memphis, TN; Bristol at Southside in Birmingham, AL; Marquis at West Village & Marquis on McKinney in Dallas, TX.
This husband and wife team is most pleased with their latest collaboration: ICON in the Gulch in Nashville, TN [iconinthegulch.net]. Though the furniture, furnishings and art were just installed in the main public areas this summer, for this project Moore Design Group has already twice been recognized by the National Association of Home Builders [NAHB] as a finalist in their prestigious Pillars of the Industry Awards and has twice received awards presented by the Texas Chapter and Dallas Design Community of the American Society of Interior Designers [ASID], of which Stephanie is a member.
Vigilantly staying within budget, Stephanie and her design team fulfilled their goal of elevating the inhabitants’ experience by infusing the m u l t i f a m i l y p o r t i o n o f t h i s m i x e d – u s e development with striking details such as barrel vaulted ceilings, columns enriched with architectural reveals, heroically scaled lighting elements, back-lit honey onyx framing the main lobby elevators, and many custom seating and cabinetry pieces throughout the interior spaces. Geoff then added to the project’s distinctiveness with installations such as:
“The Beginning” (Lobby wall) – An oversized (25’h X 13’w) acrylic painting on 16 birch panels applied with 5,800 four-inch hand-cut fabric squares. [Each piece of fabric was dipped, wrung-out and dried before it was applied.]
“Timber Sections” (Lobby hallway) – 14 section- cuts ranging from 12”- to 35”-diameter of five species of trees (pecan, boisd’arc, elm, cedar, and oak). [Each section cut was cured for a year in Geoff’s studio.]
“Cities View” (Leasing office) – A 60” x 48” acrylic on canvas portraying an image of modernist, urban landscape.
“Multiple Eminence” (near arched door of Lobby) – 6 pillar-like sculptures constructed in steel, foam, plaster, epoxy and acrylic paint in 6’, 7’ and 9’ pairs.
“Widespread Sphere” (Elevator hallway) – A looped wall sculpture constructed in laminated birch milled on a computerized CNC machine and painted with acrylic and polyurethane.
“Urban Oracle” (Lobby) – A 36” x 156” triptych canvas painted with an abstract urban pattern.
What started out years ago as one painting to solve the problem of a restrictive budget for a particular project has now grown into a proven system for producing high-impact multifamily environments. Geoff’s commissioned art helps to create exceptional experiences for both visitors and inhabitants, and people are pleased to be able to live in and afford such an environment. Combined with Stephanie’s interiors, lobbies look like galleries and museums. In fact, on the ICON project, Geoff plans on having a local installer place descriptive placards beside the pieces to enhance this very feeling.
These self-proclaimed “vision keepers” share the philosophy of “I can’t not do great work just because it’s a small project or a project with a small budget.” And though her firm’s work is stunning, Stephanie is used to people noticing Geoff’s art first and its surroundings second. His triumph is her triumph, and compliments on the quality of his art throws just as much of the limelight onto her. As she rightly points out: “I deserve the credit for hiring the right vendor.”
About Stephanie Moore Hager
Stephanie Moore Hager, Allied Member ASID, established Moore Design Group in Dallas in 1991. Under her leadership, the firm has emerged as one of the leading designers of multifamily living communities in North America. With close to 17 years’ worth of experience focusing on multifamily installations and commercial design, she and her award-winning team offer a level of excellence that exceeds the most rigorous standards within the industry. Additional information – including a list of projects, awards, media coverage, and team bios – is available at mooredesigngroup.net.
About Geoff Hager Geoff Hager has flourished in the art world for over 25 years. Producing between 75 and 100 pieces of art a year, Hager has shown in over 12 galleries, including Art Ability, The Contemporary and The MAC in Dallas, Trailside and The Wyoming Gallery in Jackson Hole, and Redbone in Islamorada, Florida. His paintings, some of which have been viewed by literally thousands of people, now hang in numerous hotels, lobbies, boardrooms, and privatecollections all over the country. More information is available at geoffhager.net.