It starts with an idea. At least, that’s what father and son duo Paul Haden and Jack Haden of landscape architecture firm C2 Collaborative in San Clemente, Calif., tell us. And with 40 years in the business and clients scattered all over the world, who are we to argue?
C2 Collaborative provides landscape architectural services for a variety of projects, from custom estate homes, masterplan communities and resorts, to commercial/retail, residential and sensitive habitat programs.
The Hadens are not only landscape and architectural designers; they’re self-proclaimed visionaries.
“My end goal is that when you walk into those spaces, you smile,” Paul says. “You smile because you feel welcome, engaged, comforted and included. We want to invoke an emotional reaction.”
C2 Collaborative’s vast portfolio does just that. The company takes pride in their planned use and reuse of spaces. Just take a look at C2 Collaborative's Miralon project in Palm Springs, Calif.
Miralon was originally supposed to be a residential community set on a golf course. When C2 Collaborative purchased the property, the Hadens knew they wanted to give the community a new purpose. The way they see it, golf courses are a dime a dozen in Palm Springs.
"We came up with different ideas, but ultimately landed on planting 7,000 olive trees in the golf course fairways," Jack explains. "Instead of a golf course, now you live on a working agrihood or a farm where the olives can be picked, refined and turned into olive oil on site for the residents and to benefit the HOA. You can now walk through the olive groves which were golf cart paths before."
An agrihood is a play on "agriculture" and "neighborhood," where a residential community is set on a food-producing property. Agrihoods are significantly more environmentally friendly than golf courses in terms of water use and farming. In the midst of California's water shortages and conservation efforts, it has never been more important to be environmentally conscious in designing landscapes.
"The olive grove is going to have a community impact, too," Paul adds. "They're going to donate some of their products and proceeds to community-based groups that are in need in and around the Palm Springs area for public benefit."
As with any great design, it's important to see it through to the end result.
"One of my favorite part of the process is when it's getting built," Paul says. "We're a very hands on group. We'll go out in the field and work with the contractors and will direct where things go, make sure they're following the plans or see if we need to make some field adjustments."
Both Jack and Paul attribute much of their success to their employees.
"As father and son, it is a very personal practice and that's why our employees love working here," Jack says. "We do have fun, but we work hard. We have a lot of great creatives here."
The company has been certified by Great Place to Work, a business that's been grading workplace culture since 1992. An example of this workplace culture is how C2 Collaborative hosts events where former workers share their knowledge and experience with current employees.
"How we we treat, mentor and work with our our employees is different than than some other offices that we've heard," Jack adds.
C2 Collaborative's success has given them a reputation across continents. Their designs can be found in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt and Costa Rica, among other countries.
As for the future of C2 Collaborative, Paul maintains a positive outlook with his son, Jack, as president. Paul plans to continue working at the company for a few more years, but is happy to sit back and watch his company thrive.
"For me, I'm getting to see my firm transition from first generation ownership to a new generation and see where it goes from here," Paul says. "It's pretty darn exciting."