The Trade

What it is, who it is, and why the trade is so integral to the world of architecture and design

When flipping through interior design and architecture magazines it is easy to simplify a design down to a single firm- or even worse- a single designer. This is however never, ever, the truth. Design is a culmination of a multitude of practices ranging from carpenters to installers and all the important trades people in-between. One of our favorite things about being designers based out of Los Angeles is the quality of work produced by the trades’ people we are fortunate enough to work with.

The term “Trade” is often thrown around without much thought or care- most homeowners and business owners only know loosely what defines the trade as ‘The Trade’. In the Los Angles county alone there are thousands of trades people working within the architectural and design platform.Trades people are the workhorses of our industry- they are the ones who take our vision as designers, our scribbled out napkin style ideas of details and connections, and turn them into beautiful works of art. As much as we love coming up with one off details for a cabinetry piece—we are perfectly happy handing it off to someone with the actual skill set to pull it off. However—this is where designers often make a grave mistake—just because you don’t know how to do it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand how it is done on some level.


Custom designed railing by RJI. Built and installed by Swaim Metal INC. It was quite a beast to install, but smiles all around. Thanks Swaim Metal INC for seeing our design into reality!

Design is all about the details— one of our favorite slogans because it couldn’t be more on point. As designers, it is our job to understand what makes a client’s favorite space their favorite, what it is about a particular room they’ve been in that makes it memorable. Our job is to listen and observe—then understand everything whole-heartedly because we must be able to convey the designs to the trades people who are building it out for us.

A good designer has a working relationship with the trades men and woman on site. They know how to communicate ideas and thoughts in both conceptual and technical ways including sketches and full working drawing sets. Like any good relationship, there needs to be an open line of communication between the designer and the people implanting the plan. As designers and artist—sometimes gravity and basic physics is forgotten—we don’t know everything, but we must be able to understand this short coming and work with others to solve the design challenge at hand.  Not only does a good designer work with trades people to pull off of a project, we must also inspire them to push previously set limits in architecture and design. A good designer pushes a project to the next level—they play with basic notions of aesthetics and define what is to come next.

Here at RJI we pride ourselves on having great relationships with our tradesmen and woman. We strive for the best construction and finish quality—something that doesn’t come without putting up a fight sometimes. We believe that quality is a must! Living life luxuriously though design—it is simply what we believe in.

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