Tia Salmela Keobounpheng
Crayons and Bum-Wad
Born on the Iron Range of Minnesota, Tia remembers pieces of yellow trace-paper taped to the wall showing multiple variations of a house elevation that her father, David Salmela FAIA, had put up and asked, "Which do you like best?" She would spend considerable amounts of time studying them before giving him an answer that only a little girl in her predicament could muster. These childhood games were essential in developing her intuitive and critical approach to design, and her uncanny attention to detail.
Beneath the Midnight sun
Growing up within a family where most of her relatives still speak Finnish, Tia is proud of her heritage. She spent a year living in Oulu, Finland, immersing herself in the culture. While studying art there, she took her love for photography, drawing, sculpture, weaving, knitting, and sewing to more meaningful levels. Living with a host family, she gained a second architect-father (Veli Karjalainen) and a special insight into the architecture and design of Finland.
Tia has had an on-going love affair with great and sensible design. She continues to explore the connections between art, craft, design, architecture and living. She believes that beauty can be revealed in the random events in life. The overlapping of our individual and collective experiences allows us to be open and receptive to seeing it.
Work it Mom
Now a mother, Tia knows the importance of scale and the ability to focus at different levels almost simultaneously. Tia has a BA degree in Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a collection of retail, design and management experiences from redlurered (a "little box" design shop) to the internationally based IKEA (the "big box design store"). Tia is currently working with her father, while retaining her role in design development and design directions with .silvercocoon.
Work is Play
Tia embraces the idea that no project is too small, and every project has the potential to be brilliant. Always willing to ask questions and explore beautiful and sensible solutions, she brings a refreshing perspective to the design process. To her, design is a joyful act filled with discoveries. She still has the passion and curiosity of a little girl, and her enthusiasm is contagious.
Souliyahn Keobounpheng, Assoc. AIA
Water Buffalo, and Rice Fields
Born in Vientiane, Laos, Souliyahn's fondest experiences of his childhood home-land were the pleasures of a rural existence. He reminisces about a simple life where basic necessities and a deep connection to the earth were luxuries.
A Minnesota resident since 1979, Souliyahn has a perspective that is entirely fresh and yet in-tune with the heart and culture of the Midwest. He is captivated by the "sublime" beauty of ice houses on grey frozen lakes, and of windswept farmsteads, of silos, barns and sheds. To him they were the first skyscrapers to dot the expansive prairie.
Alvar Aalto: Antonio Gaudi
With a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota, Souliyahn is inspired by modern sensibility and design that celebrates our daily life, and strengthens our connections to the elements of nature and light. He also believes that design should inspire and transcend our visions of what is possible.
One at a Time
In collaborations, Souliyahn has a breadth of insight and experiences that range from a small garden structure, a meaningful home, a celebrated restaurant, to a large medical facility.
Live to Work
Souliyahn has been in the design profession since 1993. He has had experience with Ellerbe Becket architecture, Coenpartners landscape design, and recently completed an apprenticeship with David Salmela, FAIA. He continues to collaborate on projects with Salmela architect.
Design is Good
In an ever so trend-driven environment, where labels such as "green design" or "green living" have been misappropriated, Souliyahn believes that great and thoughtful design are inherently beautiful, relevant, sustainable, and life enhancing.