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DDG’s influence is also felt at the developer’s 47-unit Octavia Gateway condominiums at 8 Octavia St. The award-winning Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects design is prominently displayed adjacent the Market Street exit of the Central Freeway and scheduled for completion next year.[contextly_sidebar id=”a6e181acf17a5c9d68f3265775ef8d57″]“In addition to great design using high quality materials and a lot of craft, we’ve actually collaborated with a number of designers and/or artists here [in New York], and we’re doing the same in San Francisco,” says McMillan. DDG has partnered in the past with the Andy Warhol Foundation, furnishings designer The Future Perfect, and others, even wrapping some of its buildings in giant pieces of art.
“We’re working with a lighting designer to do an art installation at 8 Octavia that will stay with the building,” McMillan continues. “It will be truly beautiful. Something that hasn’t been done and/or seen before in the neighborhood.”
We’ll see whether DM and DDG meet with as much success in other neighborhoods. San Francisco’s resistance to architectural change is legendary, and there’s a reason the current projects are located in Hayes Valley. “A number of the members of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association were or are former architects themselves. We actually found that there was some great wind at our sails in that respect,” says MacDonald.
Still, there’s no doubting their commitment. The team is planning to break ground on a third design-forward condo project around the corner from 8 Octavia at 450 Hayes St., designed by San Francisco office of Handel Architects, in early 2014. Fougeron says this is rooted in an understanding of the value of design that is pretty rare.
“It’s pretty easy to talk the talk about design excellence, and then the first time you get the bid for the building you see it slowly degrade” says Fougeron. “For [DM and DDG], that’s really what they believe. They want to do better buildings in San Francisco that are more interesting to live in, to be in, and are better as urban buildings.”
“If you push good design, change the designed environment, you really can change the fabric of the city,” says McMillan.
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Photography DDG/DM Development