design circles, part-time Vancouver resident Summers is recognized for his
large-scale custom houses and country retreats, which emphasize ultra-comfort,
enhanced security and the use of nontoxic materials. His commercial design
skills are best showcased in artistic high-concept projects. Summers counts
among his clients a former member of the German parliament, figure skating
champions, a concert pianist, a well-known movie star, old San Francisco
families, and trend-focused commercial developers, all of whom are drawn
to Summers’ unique ability to synthesize the aesthetic of the past
with the artistic exploration and complex technical requirements of today’s
Summers’ design style is influenced by his childhood growing up
in a picturesque Midwestern college town filled with New England-style
heritage architecture, where his family has lived since the Civil War.
He carried his appreciation of the architectural imperatives of previous
generations with him to California, where his design business flourished.
Working and living in one of his “rehabbed” Victorian buildings
in the South of Market neighbourhood, Summers’ design expertise
w on him such challenging projects as designing the prototypes for a new
log house company; creating a custom plan for a house on a 2,000-acre
ranch in the Napa Valley; design consulting for houses throughout California
in areas such as Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe and Mendocino County; and designing
interiors for restaurants, retail stores and several South of Market clubs.
What Summers brings to each project is a sophisticated understanding
of complex building codes, zoning issues, heat loss/gain requirements,
seismic conditions and aesthetic orientations. This is expertise that
can only be gained through years of experience designing projects in two
countries and many municipalities, each with its own unique building restrictions.
When Summers first came to British Columbia in the early 1990s, he was
captivated by the civility of the people, the low crime rate and the beautiful,
uncrowded and relatively unspoiled environment. He was also impressed
by the way the area was quickly transforming itself into a major world
centre. It was clearly an exciting place to be for an innovative designer
with a wealth of experience and new ideas.
Since venturing north two years ago, Summers has provided design consulting
for such projects as an 18,000-sq.-ft. residence near Seattle; a high-end
residential development overlooking Puget Sound in the Seattle area; two
large ocean-front houses on Vancouver Island; and a 10,000-sq.-ft. house
in the Lower Mainland which received notice in The Vancouver Sun and the
Victoria Times Colonist. In a more eclectic vein, Summers has also created
a video presentation for Benetton as part of “Design Week Vancouver,”
participated in the City of Vancouver’s City Plan program, and was
the space planner and exhibit design consultant for the Canadian Craft
Museum’s 1992 exhibit “Festive Treasures.”
Currently, Summers is providing design consulting for two medical/residential
buildings in the Lower Mainland as well as several projects in the U.S.,
and is assisting the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association
with exhibit design for one of their projects.
In addition to these projects, Summers is putting together a collection
of his own large-format Cibachrome photographs, architectural paintings,
videos and hand-drawn films for exhibition in California this summer.
Believing that his design abilities do not exclude other art disciplines,
Summers is interested not only in looking to the past, but in generating
new ideas through art as well as design. His is a constantly evolving
style based on the juxtaposition and transformation of the classical and
the experimental—a remarkably intriguing approach.