The firm is headed by multimedia designer David Hartwell and architect Sarah Lorenzen. Our work spans the diverse industries of motion graphics, built environments, and graphic design. While we have many interests, we share the ability to seamlessly integrate design and technology to create beautiful environments.
The structure of our office is fully collaborative, integrating different cultural and technical perspectives, to offer our clients services that meet their particular needs and visions. To do this we not only rely on our own unique mix of talents, we also draw from a remarkable network of architects, graphic artists, producers, software experts, and scenario planners. We strongly believe that novel solutions happen best through creative affiliations.
To facilitate cooperation with our clients and collaborators we emphasize the use of creative communication devices: films, animations, 3D renderings and database driven websites (like this one), which encourage feedback and interaction. Given that communication is a key aspect of our practice, it is useful that we are also fluent in English, Spanish (Sarah), French (David.)
As architects and multimedia designers at Plasmatic Concepts we all share a desire to create. We combine our varied practical knowledge with artistic ability to turn abstract ideas into formal designs. We consider cognitive, cultural, physical, and social factors in planning and executing a given project. We are well read, open to new ideas and influences and quick to respond to emerging trends. Making even the temporary ephemeral in design and ensuring stability and longevity in architecture, Plasmatic Concepts is the union of complementary professions—similar enough to understand each other, different enough to continually learn.
Sarah Lorenzen, AIA
Sarah Lorenzen, AIA is a registered architect (CA and GA licenses) and an assistant professor in the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona. Sarah is also the resident director of the Neutra VDL House, and she is founding principal of Multimedia design firm Plasmatic Concepts. Recent projects include a documentary film about the Los Angeles River, a motion graphics piece about informal urbanism in Mexico City for the Rotterdam Biennale, and a 1,200sf temporary pavilion in Mumbai, India.
Sarah grew up in Mexico City (she is fluent in Spanish), where she attended a British prep school before moving to the U.S. to attend college. She did her undergraduate work at Smith College and at the Atlanta College of Art (BFA 1992), and received her first Master of Architecture degree from Georgia Institute of Technology (M.Arch 1997.) In 2004 she completed a second Masters in Metropolitan Research and Design at SCI_Arc (M.Arch MR+D.) This program, directed by Michael Speaks, used scenario planning and animation modelling to research and propose innovative solutions to various urban problems.
Prior to establishing Plasmatic Concepts, Sarah worked as a project architect at MBT Architecture in San Francisco (2001-2003), Lord Aeck & Sargent Architecture in Atlanta (1997-2001) and Stanley, Beaman & Sears also in Atlanta (1995-1996). Significant projects and achievements at these firms include: developing the master plan for an 80-acre science campus, programming and designing two research buildings in Pleasanton, CA; winning a competition to design a medical building in San Francisco; developing the design of an undergraduate Science Building in North Carolina; and contributing to all design phases of a biomolecular research lab at UNC Chapel Hill.
Sarah has received several design awards and grants including a Graham Foundation grant, and a six-week travel fellowship to China. In 2007 she co-founded the Society of Moving Images about the Built Environment (SMIBE) to provide a forum where this type of new media work can be exhibited, critiqued and discussed. Before embarking on her architectural career, Sarah was a research assistant at the Smithsonian’s Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C.
A British national, David was born and grew up in Switzerland where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Art Center College of Design’s European campus. He immigrated to the United States in 1991 to join Los Angeles-based Synapse Technologies, producers and designers of IBM’s UltiMedia projects: “Columbus: Encounter, Discovery and Beyond”, and “Evolution/Revolution: The World Discovers Itself.” Columbus remains to this day the largest interactive multimedia educational project ever produced.
In 1992, David joined Santa Monica-based design firm Pacific Interactive. At Pacific, he art directed multimedia titles for the likes of IBM, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft. Pacific’s project “Earth” produced for IBM and Turner, was presented at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In 1994, he moved to Seattle to art direct “Stop the Rock!” a Pacific/Disney produced CD-Rom title featuring popular PBS television personality Bill Nye the Science Guy. He left Pacific in 1996 and began freelancing for Microsoft’s electronic magazine Mint, a “cutting edge webzine” in the words of the New York Times.
In 1998, David and former partner Scott Palamar were commissioned by the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas to produce, design, and animate over 12 hours of content to be projected on 70ft of high definition LED video walls. David moved to San Francisco in 1998 where he co-founded new media company Art4Brains. Art4Brains clients included Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project museum in Seattle, American Composers Forum, Tropitone, and Billabong.
In 2004 David Hartwell co-founded the design collaborative Plasmatic-Concepts with Sarah Lorenzen. Recent design and video/film projects include: a 1,200-sf bamboo pavilion for an architectural expo in Mumbai, motion graphics and animation for several TV shows broadcasted on the History and Discovery channels and for documentary films ”Class Act”, “The Los Angeles River”, “The Future of Filming in Downtown L.A”., and “Peripheral Landscapes.”