Costa Mesa, CA and Portland, OR-based experience design agency Starch Creative has hired Israel Kandarian as its first Executive Creative Director. Spanning twenty years of design experience, Israel has a diverse background across the brand and agency sides of the industry, bringing a holistic perspective across all ends of the creative process to this new role. Throughout his career, he has maintained the audience’s emotional connection to product as a guiding light for his designs, working on such heralded projects as the Google Hardware Store, a four-month immersive pop-up environment designed for audiences to experience new Made By Google devices. He also led the store design on The North Face’s 5th Avenue global flagship store in NYC, reframing the historical preservation limits that the landmark space provided to showcase the products as they would appear as they were made to be experienced: in the outdoors. Uniting his background in architecture with a purpose-driven design philosophy, he has led dynamic, purpose-driven retail designs for such top brands as Nike, Prada, Converse, and more.
Kandarian is joining the ranks of Starch Creative founders and partners, Michael Hurst and Brandon Ball.
Notes Kandarian, “Starch has a deep understanding of the work at the intersection of graphic design and architecture and their vision for the future of integrated branded content strategies is aligned with my interests,” notes Kandarian. “I’m excited to join a creative-run team that operates as a true extension of its clients’ teams.”
“The success we have had over the last two years is what has allowed us to add an individual of Israel’s stature to our executive team. This is a really exciting time for us,” said Brandon Ball, CEO, Starch Creative. “Israel’s background in creating environments and experiences that connect brands to consumers on such a deeply emotional level is a perfect fit for our family. His leadership style is completely in sync with our culture. The team truly enjoys working with him.”
Southern California-born Kandarian was intrigued by architecture at an early age, pursuing Architecture in his collegiate studies, earning a B.Arch in Architecture with distinction from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). He spent his early career as a designer at the Rios Clementi Hale Studios in Los Angeles, before his fast-paced and curious nature propelled him to pivot towards an emerging design sector. After earning a Master’s in Architecture at Princeton University, he stepped into the emerging environmental design space as a Senior Designer at agency 2×4. After leading the build for Nike’s presence at the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony, the brand tapped Kandarian to join its Portland, OR, campus as an art director. He spent four years with Nike in the midst of the booming brand experiential and popup landscape, with two years at Nike and two years at the formerly-owned Nike surfwear company, Hurley. He garnered a deep understanding of all of the brand-driven physical touchpoints of a consumer experience that he translated to his shift to the agency side, lending his talents to Denton-Cardew Design, SET Creative and most recently, Deeplocal.
“With the appointment of Israel as our ECD, we are ready to bring new thinking and passion to the experiential marketing space,” adds Michael Hurst, Co-Founder, Starch Creative. “Israel has an incredible creative mind and a true understanding of brand and brings the right mix of tenacity and polished business sensibilities to the table. 2020 will be an amazing year for experiential marketing and we are excited to have Israel join our team to help lead the way.”
Although Israel spends the majority of the week either on a plane or in the studio working on a project, he does not take Southern California beach life for granted and spends his off time surfing and enjoying the weather. He also keeps his artistic inspiration fresh with yearly personal creative endeavors where he challenges himself to new pursuits, including silk screening, zines, graphic design and more.