Imagine a Place Podcast with Manny Navarro of IA Architects

Lighten up a little

In this episode, you’ll get the inside scoop on how culture can unlock the true potential of your design studio… and when you really get culture right, it pulls in your clients as well. Manny Navarro is the design director and principal for IA Interior Architects in Austin, Texas and he has helped to build a culture that brings out the best in his staff. You could say he takes his culture seriously… but not that seriously.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Creating a culture in design
  • Using humor to build team trust
  • Design studio dynamics 
  • Team-building in the design process
  • How the IA Architects team uses wigs to build humor and connection with their clients (see below). 

Woman reaching for a wig on a shelf as described on the imagine a place podcast with Manny Navarro

More about Manny Navarro of IA Interior Architects: 

Manuel Navarro, Design Director and a Principal of the Austin office of IA Interior Architects, takes a renewed approach to his role as a design leader for his team and the firm. He collaborates closely with his teams and clients to design spaces that inspire and create delight out of the everyday moment; balancing the discipline and rebellion. He drives curiosity, experimentation, and out of the box problem-solving; taking inspiration from fashion, product design and all design avenues. Manuel has designed workspaces for Fortune 100 technology and financial-services clients; these include household names such as Dropbox, Paypal, and Whole Foods. He has also guest lectured at Colorado State University, among other schools and has collaborated with Tarkett as a product designer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design from Colorado State University and a Master of Arts in Interior Design from Harrington College of Design. He is a licensed Interior Designer and certified prankster.

Related Imagine a Place podcast episodes:

Chris Stulpin: There’s a story in all of us

Martin Lindstrom: Rescue your creative mind...before it’s too late

Andrew Alford (Andrew Alford Creative): Living Your Most Colorful Life

David Galullo (Rapt Studio): The truth about great workplace culture


  • Doug Shapiro
  • Manny Navarro
New Imagine a Place issue Issue 04 is now available!
Sign up to recieve a free copy.