Icon as Brand
From left to right: moderator Ned Cramer (Architect Magazine), Jim Biber (Pentagram), Anna Klingmann, (Klingmann Architects + Brand Consultants), Mario Natarelli (Futurebrand), Mustafa Abadan (SOM), Frank Sciame (F J Sciame Construction Co).
In the quest for a competitive edge in today's global market, real-estate developments and cities employ iconic buildings, which offer broad recognition and instant fame. The successful icon must deftly navigate an array of complex conflations: artistic—between architecture and sculpture, spatial—between image and experience, graphic— between formal complexity and instantaneous legibility.

Icon-branded buildings make connections between culture and commerce by combining design and real estate logic. Where the singular icon enhances the prestige of its developers and inhabitants, an aggregation of icon-branded buildings elevates the position of a city within the global community.

One important question touches on the contradiction between the economic and emotional dimensions of branding: if branding relies on the replication of icons, will that result in standardized urban environments that all look and feel the same?
Mustafa Abadan is a partner with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, where he has practiced for over twenty years. Among the innumerable award-winning projects he has executed in that time and around the globe is the AOL Time Warner Center, designed with David Childs. Originally from Turkey, Mustafa recieved both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in architecture at Cornell University.

James Biber studied architecture and biology at Cornell University before establishing his own architectural firm in New York in 1984. He joined Pentagram in 1991, becoming the firm's second architectural partner. James has taught architecture at Cornell University, Syracuse University, and Parsons School of Design in New York. His work has been featured in numerous consumer, design and trade publications, and recognized with major awards from a multitude of design and architectural organizations.

Mario Natarelli was trained as an architect and practiced for 5 years prior to cofounding an integrated marketing group. In 1998, the business was acquired by The Interpublic Group and combined to form FutureBrand, an award-winning global brand consultancy. Over the past 11 years, Mario has lead offices in New York, Toronto and Dubai, steering the branding efforts for numerous global brands across diverse industries including UPS, AMD, Marriott, GM, MSN, Bank of America, and the country brand for Mexico.

Lindy Roy has been widely recognized for her innovative architectural work , among her many achievements winning the 2001 MoMA Young Architects award. Lindy founded Roy Co. in 2000. Roy Co. focuses on research driven architecture, applying its innovative design approach to commercial, residential, and hotel projects. Widely published, Lindy has built work for Vitra, L'Oreal, Andre Balazs Properties, and other brands. Her design for Highline 519, an 11 story condo in Chelsea, is currently under construction.

Frank Sciame established F. J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc. (Sciame) in 1975. In the years since, he has led the firm to its current position as one of the tri-state's leading construction management firms with current projects underway valued at about $500 million. Sciame's current and completed projects include many of New York's most treasured landmarks. The accomplishments, awards, and accolades Mr. Sciame has earned over the course of his career are too numerous to recount.

Ned Cramer is the editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT and ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING, two magazines published by Hanley Wood. Prior to joining Hanley Wood, Cramer served as the first full-time curator of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), where he organized public programs and exhibitions such as "A Century of Progress: Chicago's 1933-34 World's Fair" and "New Federal Architecture: The Face of a Nation." For eight years, Cramer worked as an editor at Architecture magazine.