It was the mid 1980s
Meanwhile Suzanne Redmond, a Southern California native and business major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, set sail for a Semester at Sea after tragically losing a close friend. Using the study abroad program as a healing escape, Suzanne enrolled in an art class and unwittingly poured her emotions into her sketch book. Upon seeing her profound interpretations of the journey, Suzanne’s art teacher was blown away by her conceptual thinking skills and convinced her to not only change her major but to also apply to the renowned ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.
“With a mutual passion for creative design, the pair quickly formed a bond, a local model building business, and an enduring friendship.”
Together in the Lone Star State
Full of talent, energy, and global career-building opportunities, Suzanne, Martin, and Harry thrived at RTKL. Suzanne worked with a small team of graphic designers to help develop the Environmental Graphic Design Studio while Martin and Harry worked in the Architecture Department designing retail and hotel projects around the world. With a blurred line between the two divisions, it was an exciting time of cross-disciplinary collaboration and camaraderie.
“…it was an exciting time of cross-disciplinary collaboration and camaraderie.”
“kindness, tough love, and quirky yet lovable process of design.”
Good thing as she would have missed out on meeting Cody Clark, a Texas native from a design-centered family seeking an RTKL internship while studying Fine Art & Sculpture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. That summer of ’92 led to a long stretch of crafting environmental graphic design and branding on projects all over the world under Suzanne’s mentorship of “kindness, tough love, and quirky yet lovable processes of design.” After five years immersed in global retail and hospitality projects at RTKL, a deeper graphic design education called, and Cody enrolled at Suzanne’s alma mater, the ArtCenter College of Design.
The garage years.
After 10 years at RTKL, Suzanne was offered a partner position with the company to help lead the Environmental Graphic Design Studio. The politics of a large firm were beginning to weigh on her, and having started a family with Martin, who had already departed RTKL to help run a family tuxedo business, the two ultimately decided to sell everything and start over in Southern California.
Driving to San Clemente with two kids in tow and contemplating their future as potential bakery owners, Suzanne and Martin were interrupted by the ring of their footlong cellphone. It was Walt Disney Imagineering seeking Suzanne’s assistance with Disney’s first five-star, resort hotel in Tokyo. Thoughts of gluten-free cookies flew out the window and Redmond Schwartz Design was born.
“Thoughts of gluten-free cookies flew out the window & RSM Design was born.”
Knowing they’d need additional help, they called Harry back in Dallas, who, fed up with being a “marriage counselor” for couples while designing their homes, gladly jumped at the chance to join his friends and former colleagues, even if it meant crashing on the sofa at the home of Suzanne’s parents, Suzanne and Martin’s new home base – and office.
Fast, furious, and fun describe the early years in San Clemente, especially the day Disney called and said they wanted to visit the garage studio. Suzanne frantically enlisted Harry to pick up the computers from the floor, as well as strewn diapers, toys, and cat litter. Luckily, Disney canceled the visit (and shortly thereafter, Harry’s name was added on the door.)