Photo By N. O. Albert
Early in my youth, I took an extended gap - year from college traveling as an itinerant musician and grape picker in Europe. One day while playing my guitar in the Paris Metro I met a group of architecture students from the Sorbonne who took me in. Soon I became immersed in a whole new world, a world of design. From them I caught a design spark, and when I returned to the States set about finding a career in the field of Design. Eventually I graduated from UMASS Amherst with a degree in Interior Design, and worked for several Architecture firms in Boston designing law firms, banks, and a couple of restaurants. I enjoyed the challenge of all types of projects, but enjoyed the restaurant projects best. Soon I started my own business - MODA, as a Hospitality Design boutique.
My present company, MODesign - Mark Ottmann Design, was created in 2013 when I left Ewing Cole Architects in Philadelphia where I had previously spent 6 years as their Director of Hospitality Design. As a product of the Interior Design Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst I studied under Dr. Arnold Freidmann graduating with a BFA Cum Laude in 1985, and going on in 1988 to complete Restaurant Design Studies at Harvard University GSD. While in Boston I became NCIDQ certified, and for 3 years served as IIDA New England VP for Government and Regulatory Affairs, and President of the Massachusetts Interior Design Coalition.
Presently I reside in Philadelphia, and still play my guitar.
My approach to design has always been very straight forward. An instinctive modernist, yet I try to stay away from any particular design theory or style. I see my role more as being a story teller, recounting a tale told by a client with dreams of a fabulous place where everyone will want to go. I then chase that vision down as it threads its way through constraints of budgets, schedules, and all the various twists and turns until it finally emerges in the light of day as an actual business. To help get there, I've learned to develop a malleable design process - based upon visualization and communication, and being a prolific sketcher, I have included a page on this site - The Sketchbook, where you can see how this process works.