Emerging Talent Meet the Panelists – Madeline Frost

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Chair of the Month

Emma Weckerling
Emma Weckerling
Emma is the Former Managing Editor of Work Design Magazine.

Learn more about the panelists as we gear up for our inaugural Emerging Talent event on Tuesday, March 19th. Don’t forget to snag your ticket here!

What is their point of view? What trends are they seeing? What is resonating most with them? What do they think about current technology tools and what role does it play in their workplace planning initiatives? Work Design Magazine’s Emerging Talent series aims to answer these questions with a panel discussion comprised of some of D.C.’s top emerging designers and architects.

Meet Madeline Frost, a staff designer at Fox Architects.

Image by Erin Kelleher

Do you do anything special before you begin your work day?

Just try to remember to eat breakfast once in a while!

What was your first “win” that made you confident that you were doing the right thing?

It was less of a monumental win and more of a subtle one, but I remember how rewarding it was the first time I was in a meeting with a client and got to quote a code section to support a decision we’d made. It was the first project I was taking the lead on, and felt like such a cornerstone in creating a relationship where the client saw us as someone they could really trust.

What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your career?

Keep trusting your gut, keep asking questions, keep having the hard conversations, and don’t feel bad for doing it.

What was your “aha” moment leading you to choose a career in design?

I don’t think an “aha” moment really lead me here. It feels more like a build-up of growing up interested in the human experience and knowing I had to do something creative or I’d lose my mind. If anything was the final tipping point it was my art teacher in high school who went to Florida State (my alma mater) for Interior Design and I realized “oh, I can actually go to school for this.”

If you could choose any place and any type of space to design, where and what would that be?

Lately I’ve been hooked on Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel. They put out some really cool videos, and I found myself going down a rabbit hole trying to find articles and write-ups on their test kitchen and office space. If they ever wanted to move to D.C., hopefully they hit me up.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for designers today?

One thing that I turn over in my head a lot is the challenge of defining our value to our clients, when more and more of what we do could be seen as a commodity. I don’t think it’s hard for a client to look at a rendering of a space and think you can put a dollar value to it, but when you think of everything that goes into something that could be perceived to be simply the product of pressing a button, I think that’s where it gets complicated. There’s the challenge of just being the best guide you can be to your client, and then the additional challenge on top of that in convincing people to see what you’re doing as having value and being indispensable, in a world where increasingly people think they can do whatever job they have the right software for. I think as technology gives us more and more capabilities, we will have to be even more diligent about showing that the sum of what we do is greater than the technology that produced it.


A special thank you to our supporting brands: Bialek, Herman Miller, Framery, Mohawk Group, DWR Contract, Avitecture, Geiger, KTA, NOS, and IIDA
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