The story of Spatial Medium
Spatial Medium began as a nagging thought in my brain back in 2003. At that time I was working as a designer and project coordinator for an architectural firm that did healthcare work, mostly renovations of existing hospital facilities. A few years out of school, I had already gotten knocked around a bit in my new career and had barely weathered the economic earthquake from the attack and aftermath of 911. I was simply grateful to have a job.
Until I had a moment where I thought maybe my chosen profession was seriously flawed.
I remember being in a hospital room doing a survey for a very well-known healthcare client. But the room was not empty. There were patients trying to get well as I moved around them with a tape measure. In an attempt to help, I offered water or blankets when I could but was chided to just "do your job."
I carried those patients with me in my mind as I went back to work, measuring more occupied rooms and witnessing the non-stop activity in the halls. Many of the nurses came up to me that day to ask what I was doing and why. I found that with a little persuasion they were willing to answer my questions about what might be needed to do their jobs better, help the patients heal faster, and generally make their day-to-day more sustainable.
They had wonderful ideas and unique insights - rightly so as they were on the ground, doing the work.
I logged all of the information and felt inspired, knowing that I would help to make a difference in their jobs and perhaps send some patients home sooner. This was what I had gone to school for - to make lives better through the spaces we inhabit. That feeling quickly subsided once I returned to the office as my supervisor denied each design request stating that "the folks paying the bill don't care about all of that."
In that moment, it was decided. I would always include those "not paying the bill" in my design solutions. Their experiences mattered, too.
As I moved through my career working for other people, I sought out opportunities to achieve small victories for end users and their communities while still meeting the goals of the leadership team. I was inspired to continue looking for ways to tell and support the invisible stories I saw, knowing someday I would lead the efforts to create environments and services that make things better for all who engage with them.
Hi, I'm Valerie Farber.
As Principal of Spatial Medium, I fiercely believe in the power of collaborative ideas and multi-disciplinary efforts in order to build a better future. Empathy-based research and listening are instrumental in my process and telling a compelling story through design connects people to others as well as themselves. Design should improve the lives of all who interact with it and I strive to provide functional and delightful solutions for each of my clients, collaborators, and communities.
A graduate of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University in 2000, Valerie has worked for firms across the country including LMN Architects, Perkins Eastman, and Swanke Hayden Connell, bringing a blend of design and social awareness to each project.
In 2012 she completed the New Ventures Kauffman | FastTrac Program which gave her further insight to business strategy and development. Over the course of a few weeks, she created AquaKula, a wellness company that provides in-home swim and water safety for beginner, fearful, and first-generation adults and children.
Shortly after, Valerie began to integrate lessons learned in the entrepreneurial world to design projects, offering strategic thinking on business services, product offers, and marketing in order to create more holistic experiences for both business owners and the clients they serve.
Notable projects include The Women's Lab at The Centre for Social Innovation, Annapolis Public Library, Mesquite Public Library, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation environmental graphics, Garden City Imaging Center (Northwell Health), EcoHack/Public Labs prototyping, Chelsea Clinic (NYPH/Cornell), Historic Columbia Theater (WA), City College of San Francisco Performing Arts Center, Urology Department Redesign (NYPH), Feast set/props (J Mandle Performance), and Arche Shoes Soho.
Valerie is also an accomplished jazz vocalist and self-released her debut album "so this is love" in early 2016. She tells abstract, poetic stories about the human experience from stages in NYC and across the globe.