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All Work, All Play

Jan. 4, 2016

Finding a balance between not taking yourself, bust instead your job, has brought happiness to Indi Savitala

Indi Savitala’s personality doesn’t match his formal attire. It almost seems wrong that this senior associate at Cerami & Associates—with the contagious smile and easygoing nature—would don a suit and tie every day.

It’s also not in line with the laidback culture of this acoustical, audiovisual, and technology design studio.

“Dress for the job that you want, not the one you have,” he says, sitting beneath a painting of founder Vito Cerami in their conference room. His daughter, Victoria Cerami, now runs the business. This morning she’s speaking at the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Hartford.
“Plus I’ve bought so many ties,” he laughs. And as a man about town, he certainly needs them (you never want to be photographed wearing the same tie twice).

Savitala is an acoustician by day, movie producer by night. He and his wife are producing a documentary—a line of work that often lands them on a red carpet or two. But he checks that Hollywood attitude at the door, as there may be no airs put on in this office. As we walk through their bright open space to check out his workstation, we also realize what the motto around here should really be: “Keep it simple.”

“It comes down to not putting quiet spaces next to loud spaces,” he says, sitting down in front of piles of plans and drawings. He’s typically working on approximately 30 projects in various stages of development at any given time.

A hard hat sits atop his desk while a pair of Caterpillar work boots hide out underneath—both again in perfect juxtaposition to his buttoned-up style. A Spongebob figurine in a canoe paddles through isolators that line the wall in front of his desk.

Everyone’s personal touches throughout make for a casual, approachable atmosphere at Cerami’s 5th Avenue location. “The flow of communication here is really important,” Savitala explains. “Nothing can replace getting up and talking to someone.” And the general rule of thumb on that is why sit and talk when you can putt and talk? Golfing in and out of the office happens to be a popular pastime for NYC Cerami employees.

But when it’s time to get serious, he enlists the help of a pair of big padded headphones to block out any distractions. We’re outing him though: most of the time, he’s not playing anything through them.

Serious jokes for some serious professionals.

About the Author

AnnMarie Martin | Editor-in-Chief

AnnMarie has been covering the commercial design space since 2005 and has been on the editorial staff at i+s since 2011. Her style and vision has helped the brand evolve into a thought leader in purpose-driven design and cultural movements shaping the way we live and work. She returned to the role of editor in chief at the start of 2023 and her journalism and fiction writing background have helped to craft bi-monthly issues that don’t just report the latest industry news, but tell a cohesive tale of some of the biggest topics facing designers today.

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