University of Miami SoA : Bachelors in Architecture
Columbia University GSAPP : Masters in Architecture & Urban Design
Columbia University GSAPP : Masters in Real Estate Development
A licensed Architect with experience in big and small buildings, Dion Lee Valencia is the creative force behind sketch to form, inc. After opening a one-man firm five years ago, the building industry came to a standstill, due to the housing crisis. He quickly decided to shift his focus away from Architecture. He unwound the firm, and refocused his skills and talents on hand-making products. In making, he could have more control over design, fabrication, and quality of the end product, something unimaginable in Architecture, unless you are also the contractor.
Having no interest in becoming a contractor, Dion wanted to push the lines of what contemporary design and wood fabrication, all controlled by one individual, could ultimately achieve. At a time when designers use plastic, metals and glass materials fabricated by others for mass consumption, he instead chose a handmade, low-volume, limited-series product line.
With an ability to design unique products, he challenged himself to pair his creativity and a handcrafted approach to the fabrication process. He realized that the selection of his manufacturing tools would need to allow for the proper amount of power, flexibility and replication necessary to meet demand. His idea was to find a balance between realistic, achievable complexity and the assistance of machinery to fully carryout the goals. The first group of prototypes, from design to fabrication, reflects the spirit of this challenge.
These preliminary handmade creations were the birth of the company and the vertical business model that was needed for sketch to form, inc. to come to life! Those prototypes made it possible to show that this paradigm shift from Architect to hand-maker was possible.
NONE of his fabrication skills came from the wonderful institutions he was trained at (ironically), but rather from a rigorous self-teaching period during the past 22 years leading up to the launching of sketch to form, inc. Coincidentally, it was this refreshing new perspective that allowed him to push himself without any preconceived notions of either field.
Dion’s father easily worked with wood, and his grandfather was a carpenter, so genetic clicks and clacks may have transferred to create the skills required to produce the products he makes. It also helps to fuse a mastery of process, materials, connections and forces gained as a trained Architect, and personal traits, such as an immense tenacity, a meticulous nature, and truckloads of passion. Apparently, all of that helps to make great products!
Florida International University SJMC : BS in Communication
With a background in pharmaceutical sales and in communications, she keeps everything in order in our lives, cracks the whip and keeps the boys in line. Media relations, customer care, people, events and paperwork are her realm, as well as her other job…being a full-time wife and mom..
We are a family no different than yours. We're a humble family with skills, discipline and foibles just like anybody else. We are dedicated and committed to making the best products we can for you all and believe me it takes all of us to accomplish just that. It is our mission and we take it seriously. Our house is filled with prototypes which we have been testing for years, we don't just make something for others we test it for reliability, strength, and to improve them! And we do.
We take pride in what we do, it is part of our family philosophy to strive to put our best foot forward in all that we do. We strive to be the most dedicated designers, woodworkers, welders, painters, fabricators, sales people that we can be with room to improve... We aren't an image, what you see is what you get.