Next-Gen design

PS Design Workshop Is One of the Young Firms Building Sarasota's Future

For Derek Pirozzi and Omar Saleh, outdoor living is a major point of reference.

By Kim Doleatto April 28, 2023

Derek Pirozzi and Omar Saleh

PS Design Workshop                           

Derek Pirozzi, 37, and Omar Saleh, 33
1361 Boulevard of the Arts, Unit 101, Sarasota 

PS Design Workshop owners Derek Pirozzi, a Sarasota native, and architect Omar Saleh, of Tampa, have worked together since 2021 on residential and commercial projects. As lifelong Floridians, it's no surprise the two use metaphors for outdoor living in the Sunshine State in their work as a point of reference. We spoke with them to learn more about how they approach the design process, trends, how their ages have affected their careers, and more.

How would you define your style?

“We try to use local materials that feel like Florida with lots of texture and materiality," Pirozzi says. "Boardwalks, screened porches and umbrellas say 'Florida' to us, so architecturally, we like to use those three components: some shading from the sun and protection from the elements."

And the outside plays a role, too, Pirozzi says. “The exterior is as well-thought-out as the interior. You can double the size of your living room by paying attention to that."

Rendering of a single-family home on Longboat Key now under construction.

Do your ages affect your practice?

“We’re in an aging community. We do feel like more often than not, potential clients can tend to look to the more established, older architects in town. Unless you have the gray hair and glasses, sometimes you don’t get the same respect,” Pirozzi says.

“You have to prove yourself. Yes, we're young but we can give you what you need—and maybe give you what you don't know you need, too,” Saleh adds. 

"We still aim to bring a level of innovation and curiosity and explore what’s next," Pirozzi says.

A rendering of the new Sarasota Youth Sailing (SYS) building on Ken Thompson Parkway.

What industry trends are you seeing?

“Lots of integrated technology. Lighting is becoming more of a conversation, along with security, and sound and remote access to all of those tools,” Saleh says. "People want what their neighbor wants–that's a following trend. We analyze every aspect of the site before coming up with our product."

A rendering of The Point Hotel in Osprey, in South Sarasota.

What industry trends are you not loving?

“We’re seeing a lot of developers and builders doing their own watered-down versions of what they think good architecture is, and giving modern style a bad name so they can build as easily and cheaply as possible," Pirozzi says. "For us, modern isn’t an aesthetic. It's a design process that asks how you’re living."

“Although people say they don't like a cookie-cutter product, these modern homes have become just that,” Saleh adds. 

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