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Jordan Williams, a principal of the Atlanta architecture firm Plexus r+d (add link here) says that his firm has reached a stage in its life cycle where consultants send the firm press releases. Regardless of their utility, most of these press releases wind up in a trash can.

Plexus kept this lesson in mind when its members began discussing their own portfolio.
"Without spending too much money, we wanted to design something that people would feel really guilty throwing away," Williams says.

The firm's eventual solution is as much an expression of the team's design philosophy as a keepsake. The laser-cut, frosted Plexiglas panels that form the case "hint at what's inside, without giving away too much," Williams says.

The panels also allow for flexibility in the portfolio, without having to replace the whole package. As the firm's portfolio grows and changes, new print-outs (which the firm produces in-house) can be sandwiched in.

The whole kit is bound with a bright yellow, cross-shaped medical rubber band that was intended to tie off I.V. bags. Plexus has sent out "several hundred" of the kits to potential clients and has had enough of the Plexiglas pieces made to manufacture 1,500, at $18–$20 each.

propeller z, an Austrian firm (add link here), printed a similar number of its own unique portfolio, a deck of playing cards featuring several of the firm's projects. The cards list the project's completion year, budget, construction time, and other facts, which can be used to play a game.

"We introduced the game at the Archilab conference in Orléans, France, where we also set up a green felt-lined playing table," says Kriso Leinfellner, a principal in the firm. "Visitors were actually playing."

propeller z has not won any direct commissions as a result of the cards, but they "are getting more and more job applications from students and graduates, especially from Germany," Leinfellner says.

Plexus hasn't seen any new work as a result of its portfolio, either, but Williams hopes that it will have a more intangible effect: "Maybe a potential client will see our work somewhere and think, 'Hmm, I remember getting something from those guys.' "

Kevin Lerner



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