SUM (pronounced PLUS SUM) is a contemporary design practice focused on projects where strategic, systemic, and progressive ideas can be brought to bear on complex and dynamic design problems. Projects vary across type and scale and are always seeking new opportunities to uniquely express client goals and aspirations. We believe that design can add value to any situation, synthesizing disparate and conflicting issues, while revealing intangible qualities that stir the spirit, engage the intellect and activate the senses. Projects emerge from a rigorous process that produces innovative responses and pragmatic solutions.
The name SUM attempts to express this deep and integrated process via a multi-layered meaning and reflects our commitment to developing work responsive to the unique combinations of client, program, site, technology, and culture.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The primary meaning of SUM can be understood via strategic solutions in game theory, where it is described as a "win-win" result. This "win-win" stands in opposition to the traditional zero-sum solution requiring winners and losers, “all or nothing.” In contemporary design practice, the best way to achieve a SUM solution is through close collaboration with clients, consultants, contractors, and other specialists to develop an integrated and thoughtful response to complex design problems. Within this multi-disciplinary approach, a second interpretation might be the studio (SUM) and its collaborating entities ( ) which form and reform depending upon the project and requirements of the problem at hand.
Internally, the studio is organized into teams that fluctuate depending on need and opportunity, but the work is always understood as collaborative in nature. This internal structure leads to another interpretation that acknowledges the formation, organization and values of the practice; the team
( ) fluctuates and the constant is the studios founder and design director, Martin Summers (SUM).