Anyone who has ever been in a business partnership knows that it’s not always a walk in the park. Differences in management style, personalities, and long-term vision can be damaging to a working relationship. Spend a little time with Common Accounts co-directors Miles Gertler and Igor Bragado, though, and you get the feeling those common pitfalls don’t apply to them. In fact, their enthusiasm for their work and their obvious respect for each other’s talents paints a picture of a very collaborative and harmonious partnership.
Miles and Igor, who met at Princeton University while pursuing their master’s degrees in architecture, founded Common Accounts, their conceptual creative agency and architectural design firm rooted in research, in 2015. “We were invited to do a few exhibitions because of the research that we did together at university, and the professional office started naturally out of that collaboration,” says Igor. “With both of us having experience at other firms in The Netherlands and Canada (Miles), and Spain, Japan and China (Igor), by the time we graduated Princeton we were ready to go into practice together.”
“Our understanding of architecture is different from that of a traditional firm,” explains Igor. “For us, architecture is something beyond buildings – our work is a cultural endeavour of understanding situations in space.” While both men share a passion for design and architecture, they are also extremely interested in social media, journalism, and luxury fashion design. With Miles, who is also an accomplished artist, and Igor, a published author on architecture, their interests are as widespread as their talents. Oh, and they both write and teach extensively about their knowledge.
The biggest challenge in the two have in running their business is also the same thing that allows them the freedom to take on different clients and exciting new projects: working remotely. “Our offices are itinerant,” says Miles. “Operating remotely allows us the opportunity to work with clients around the world, which is decidedly contemporary. But it often calls for flexibility in scheduling, with time changes and other challenges. We work wherever our laptops are,” he laughs.
Common Accounts has relied on Sloan Partners for their accounting needs since 2017. “Sloan was critical in helping us set up the financial structure of the business and its day-to-day operations and helping us through incorporation, which allows us to take on clients and different types of work we wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” says Miles. “Because we are a small yet international firm, it was challenging to find a team of accountants that can provide counsel on the intricate international components of the business,” adds Igor. “And Sloan provides that for us.”
Whether working in academia (the partners have lectured in Beijing, Toronto, Istanbul, Seoul, and Cornell, Princeton and Columbia Universities), or exhibiting their work (one of their architectural installations was recently acquired for the permanent collection at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea), these two are all about new experiences.
“We are always jumping into new territories, which constantly make us amateurs. Whether in geographically or in terms of medium, every project or collaboration is completely new, which makes it exciting and forces us to address problems with fresh eyes,” adds Igor.
To learn more, visit Common Accounts website.