Design Director

Posted Date: April 10, 2019

About the Company

Meow Wolf is an art collective and production company creating and operating immersive, interactive multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages to fantastical realms of storytelling.

Founded in 2008 by a small group of artists, writers, musicians, and makers looking to create an egalitarian space for artistic expression, Meow Wolf’s first exhibits were created in warehouses on shoestring budgets. Since then Meow Wolf has created 25 exhibitions throughout the United States working with hundreds of artists.

The current job offering is for a position within Meow Wolf Creative Studios, an interdisciplinary, collaborative nexus focused around the creation of immersive art experiences – combining architectural design, art, custom technology, fabrication, and digital content development. The ethos of the company is often described as radically inclusive; collaborators are given space to be expressive, creative, and effective. Unlike a traditional corporate setting, this produces an environment where no job is too low for anyone and no ambition too high.

Job Description

The Design Director is the head of the Meow Wolf Exhibitions Design Department and will lead a talented team of architects and themed entertainment designers to plan and execute a wide variety of building, exhibitions, and events projects. They offer leadership and strategic direction for the entire department by having a keen awareness of all company projects, employee capacity and skill sets, production schedules and budgets.  This individual maintains a broad perspective of the department, focused on long term vision, growth and organizational strategies. The Design Team Director oversees the team’s project architects, themed entertainment designers, 3D modeling designers and administrative assistant while offering high level support to accomplish shared company goals for successful, safe and world class immersive installations.

They work on all stages of the design process including conceptual, schematic and design development phases, collaborating with Creative Directors to achieve high quality, code compliant, buildable designs. Meow Wolf projects demand a creative approach, and the design team will work on overall building, tenant improvement renovations as well as exhibition design for Meow Wolf’s immersive art experiences. The Design Director will collaborate with Executive Producers, other department heads, artists, architects, designers, programmers, creative directors and project managers to execute projects. The Design Director also interacts with outside architecture firms, city officials and construction personnel to help realize projects. An understanding of engineering principles and regulatory codes is required.

This individual is responsible for developing and maintaining company-wide design standards, administering and supervising the work of the Design Department. They oversee design presentations, monitor project design development, and provide design direction and support to ensure consistent and high-quality design division-wide. Must possess a thorough knowledge of architecture practice with emphasis on themed entertainment design, building materials, construction methods, integration of engineering disciplines, and building costs/codes. Experience working in leisure, entertainment, theme parks, themed entertainment or similar contexts required.

Job Requirements

Required Education and Experience

  • 10+ years experience working in architecture/themed entertainment design or similar
  • Google Suite, Microsoft Office experience required
  • Experience with gantt and project management systems a plus
  • Familiarity with CAM
  • Bachelor’s degree or better.
  • Experience with permanent exhibitions preferred

Competencies

  • Excellent time management skills, ability to multitask and prioritize items within a fast paced environment.
  • Excellent team management capability
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a sense of humor
  • Adaptable to changing needs and possess the ability to take on new tasks
  • Ability to handle sensitive tasks accurately and confidently
  • Google Suite proficient

Job Responsibilities

Conceptual/Schematic/Design Development:

  • Assess potential buildings/sites
  • Liaise with 3rd party architectural and engineering firms
  • Manage the conceptual, schematic and design development phases, permit and construction documents for exhibition designs as well as undertaking building tenant improvement renovations up to schematic design, or work with outside firms to do so
  • Code analysis and consultation for the team as a whole
  • Support Executive Producers, construction managers and Executive VP of Exhibitions in liaising with city/state/county building, fire and development officials

Collaborative Exhibition Design:

  • Help team leverage design tools to improve and document artistic and creative process
  • Help develop design solutions
  • Provide on the spot code analysis and seek creative code solutions for unusual designs
  • Set timelines with milestones and meet critical deadlines
  • Set milestones and timelines for drafting, modeling, document preparation tasks
  • Develop and manage a representation system, including drawing and modeling software, that communicate with other department processes and outside firms

Construction Coordination:

  • Provide on site support to the construction process

Budgeting and Analysis:

  • Create and manage an annual Design Department Budget
  • Create labor and material cost estimations to be included in project budgets
  • Analyze projects midstream and at completion and institute corrective actions/find efficiencies

Team Leadership:

  • Lead and support a team of architects and designers
  • Acts as direct supervisor for Design Team, managing salaries, raises and other HR matters with appropriate approvals
  • Work with HR Manager to orient new art team members, resolve conflicts, suggest promotions and identify areas of improvement
  • Assist in the hiring of new Design Team members as needed and identify team leaders, job changes, or promotion opportunities from within
  • Coordinate the use of Design Department resources with other departments

Supervisor Duties

  • Project Architects, Intermediate Designers, Junior Designers, Intern Architects
  • Administrative Assistant

Work Environment

This job operates in a professional industrial and office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, copiers and phones.

Physical Demands

The employee is occasionally required to sit; climb or balance; and stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.

Position Type and Expected Hours of Work

This is a full-time position, and hours of work and days are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand.

Travel

Work related travel for meetings, project coordination, site visit, artist studio visit, partnership development and other trips related to job. Travel to Las Vegas and Denver will likely be a monthly requirement over the next two years, and as needed for future exhibitions

Other Duties

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

Time Commitment

Full Time

Location

Business Unit

Benefits

Full-time employees receive the following benefits:

  • Paid time off
  • Health Insurance
  • Free gym membership (Santa Fe only)
  • 2 classes per semester at Santa Fe Community College
  • As a rapidly growing company, our benefits will be expanding and a more comprehensive package is soon to follow.

This is an opportunity to become a part of a dynamic and collaborative culture, a beacon of creativity and community in the global economy. Meow Wolf employees are given the space to be expressive, creative and effective. Unlike a traditional corporate setting, this produces an environment where no job is too low for anyone and no ambition too high.