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Inspired by a unique experience at previous firms where interior designers and architects sat side by side in an exchange of ideas and inspiration, ai3 was born. A chance assignment brought Lucy Aiken-Johnson, Dan Maas, and Joe Remling together as inter-disciplinary project managers. The technical nature of their project meant that the designers would not only be listening to the concerns of leadership, but that they would also be working with technicians and scientists, the people who would be investing their life’s work in the space.

For the designers, this partnership added meaning to the design. For the technicians and scientists, it was a welcome chance to contribute, an opportunity that established a great amount of trust in their design team and gave them a personal stake in the success of their work environment. It was an unusual experience, but a profound one. For Aiken-Johnson, Maas, and Remling, the collaboration had sparked a whole new way of thinking about their work, an approach that would become the ai3 process.

They had seen the enormous potential in client collaboration. It was an interest that was shared by fellow architect, Patrick Johnson. Johnson was known for the strong working relationships he forged with clients. So it was no surprise that Johnson, also Lucy’s husband, joined the team as they began to imagine a different future for themselves.

With the support of all three families, ai3 was begun. The beginnings were humble. With only a commitment to their approach, a small investment, and an even smaller office within the Johnsons’ home, a partnership was established. 

Over the years, ai3's approach has developed into an extremely effective model for design.  With that, their team has grown. Their families have grown and their accolades have multiplied. Along the way, the unique ai3 culture has continued to thrive. With each project, the ai3 process proves invaluable, yielding projects that reflect client vision rather than designer style. While the outcome is undeniably compelling, the ai3 process is equally focused on results. As entrepreneurs themselves, the partners of ai3 are bringing metrics to design, looking for ways to measure the value that design brings to business.

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