In the Workshop: Jonathan Perkins & Jaron Popko

October 17, 2023

Welcome to another installation of ‘In the Workshop,’ where we get to know a pair of Workshop/APD pros and explore their unique interests, inspirations, and aspirations. This month’s talented duo features two up-and-coming creatives, senior interior designer Jonathan Perkins and senior architectural designer Jaron Popko, both at work on a wide range of projects across the country. Read on to learn how the members of our architecture and design collective bring unique perspectives and experiences to the team.


Jonathan Perkins, Senior Interior Designer

An Architecture or Design trend you wish would go away.

Interiors wise: over-designed maximalism. The idea that every piece needs to stand out. To me, it’s more impactful to walk into a room that is highly edited, versus every piece screaming at you when you see it. A good designer knows which pieces should stand out and which should support those centerpieces, instead of putting multiple competing elements together. Social media tends to decide the next trend, and maximalism has proliferated recently because it’s so highly stimulating in a picture, but in person it can be overwhelming.

A new (or new-er) A&D trend you love or see coming.

I love seeing people willing to spend more on collectors’ items and vintage pieces. A collection of personal, eclectic items, even things that already have some wear to them, can make such an impact in a home, especially in contrast to clean and bright new interiors. Making investments in a variety of things, pieces you could pass down through generations, almost heirlooms – that’s a trend I want to see more.

To me, the ideal investment would be a Milo Baughman swivel chair – you could reupholster it in a million different fabrics as you update your space or pass it down.

What’s your dream project?

I’d love to design a non-residential project, like a library. It’s a place that’s very typical in that it has a specific function that needs to be carried out, but there’s a lost opportunity for how to use public spaces, from a comfort and programming perspective.

There’s something about getting into a good book in a great space and forgetting everything else around you. That’s an opportunity that could really be explored. The definition of the library suggests that it must be a certain way. I’d argue that it doesn’t need to have every single book in stock but focuses the use of space on the visitors’ experience.

Where can we find you outside of work?

I’m usually playing tennis, by the pool or on the beach. Other times I’ll just go for a drive and clear my head. No destinations – just joyrides.

Describe your style in 3 words (can be personal or design aesthetic)

Tailored. Curated. Pure.

Your favorite building or room of all time.

I am more interested in history and think about spaces that we can no longer visit except through photographs or memories of people who have experienced them.

If I could go back in time to experience a room or space that no longer exists, it would be the Titanic (before the sinking of course). There just seemed to be something so opulent and exciting about stepping into a space that had never been used before and was a marvel of its time. Also, knowing that this grandeur was only experienced but such a small number of people and would never been seen again makes it a moment captured only in time.

If I were to name a place that still exists, it would be Villa d ’Este in Lake Como. Entering the space conjures so much feeling. While the furnishings aren’t my personal style, the overall scale of the property is mesmerizing; a place where you can wander around all day long just taking in all the sights, sounds, and fragrances. It brings you back to a bygone era when it was once a private home and allows you to imagine how people used to live.


Jaron Popko, Senior Architectural Designer

An Architecture or Design trend you wish would go away.

I’m tired of everything having an open floorplan – I like a formal dining room sometimes! Open plans make sense for some spaces, but I don’t always want to be able to see the kitchen from the living room, thinking about doing the dishes while I’m trying to relax on the sofa. Keeping spaces separate just allows for more variety in spatial character.

A new (or new-er) A&D trend you love or see coming.

I love the resurgence of 70s design – midcentury but really 70s – bold earth tones, patterns, textures, darker woods, and creating warmth in your space through color and texture.

They had an interesting use of space back then – the entertainment spaces, ranch-style floorplans, sunken living rooms. It was an era when they had more fun with space, it felt more fluid.

What’s your dream project?

A crematorium – I visited a bunch in Europe and it’s an interesting program. The whole funerary process happens there – there’s a chapel inside where the families go for memorials. It’s an opportunity to do a lot because the program is pretty open.

I’d like to create a building that pays respect to what’s happening there while providing a beautiful experience that connects to nature and helps people to process loss. There are a lot of beautiful examples in Scandinavia, particularly in Sweden, that are reflective, often quite austere and beautiful. I’ve always been interested in books about the architecture of death, and this concept resonated with me in particular.

Where can we find you outside of work?

Shopping, movies, and seeing live music. Sometimes it’s a wild concert, sometimes it’s live jazz or a DJ from Berlin. Every year I go to a 5-day camping festival where I’m completely immersed in music.

Describe your style in 3 words (can be personal or design aesthetic)

Sculptural, clean, balanced.

Your favorite building or room of all time

That’s an impossible question, but maybe the Nordic Pavilion by Sverre Fehn for the Venice biennale. It’s a typical pavilion but with a strong relation to the surrounding nature. It’s meant to be a reflection of Norway, Sweden and Finland, so he developed this simple roof system that creates a super even light to represent sunlight on a layer of snow. I appreciate the way simple technology created a profound result of uniform illumination. I like its relationship to its surroundings, how it manages the daylight with apparent effortlessness.