CURIOUS PROJECTS was founded by Mark S. Blair, AIA.
As a licensed architect and strategic-thinking development professional, Mark has extensive experience on all sides of the design, development, and real estate industry. He has had the opportunity to lead two national platforms focused on design direction and development for experiential placemaking, customer engagement, and strategic value-add opportunities. In these positions, he provided leadership and guidance for projects that varied in scope, scale, and complexity, but all sought to be industry leaders and maintain the highest level of quality and character to create and maintain loyal customer engagement.
As an architect, he has worked hand in hand with local and national business and property owners to concept, design, and execute custom-crafted retail, hospitality, and public space projects that resulted in soulful placemaking experiences where lingering on-site became the norm.
As the corporate architect and design director for Jamestown Properties, Mark applied his strategic thinking, creative and design direction abilities, cross-functional coordination, and problem-solving skills to the design and development of some of the country’s most innovative mixed-use properties. To note a few: Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Chelsea Market in New York City, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, Industry City in Brooklyn, the Innovation and Design Building in Boston, and many others.
While leading the creative and design department for the award winning Barteca Restaurant Group, Mark transformed a growing design and development department into a streamlined and coordinated department that has surpassed expectations while maintaining the quality and character of locally operated restaurants with a national and professional infrastructure.
With technical and aesthetic expertise ranging across a diverse spectrum of properties, project, and landlord types, his understanding of the issues associated with the overall design and development process give him a vast and nuanced toolbox to pull from for his next projects. Whether it is nationally registered historic properties, like Ponce City Market, or sleek and modern new construction trophy assets in Washington DC, such as Americas Square and 733th 10th Street, or strategic re-positions of 1980’s assets in revitalizing CBD’s, all projects have their intrinsic challenges that need to be identified, understood, and resolved in a manner that are both on-brand and budget appropriate.
From a world view standpoint, Mark sees the world as a dynamic place and believes that companies that create culture for their employees and customers will possess the greatest opportunity to succeed. The economy, the consumer profile, and guest expectations have changed. The notion of what the built environment should offer the public from an engagement and programmatic standpoint is getting elevated exponentially. That is a great thing all around. Those who fail to question and innovate themselves will unquestionably fail. Mark brings with him passion, curiosity, and the expectations that someone needs to lead the industry and forge a new path forward, so why not us.
Throughout his career, Mark has consistently developed strong relationships based upon forthright communication, the highest level execution results, and a passionate drive to make the process enjoyable for my clients, colleagues, and community stakeholders. It is with this background, skillset, and approach to team and project building that we feel very well-positioned to tackle any challenges within the design, development, and real estate environment and we would welcome the opportunity to share additional detail and experiences from his background with your team.