Architects are intrigued by origami. And by high-profile architects. Contractor David Adams discovered that with a unique marketing gimmick that has roots in the sixth-century Asian art of paper folding. It helps that the gimmick also depicts the work of some renowned architects, among them New York City architect Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture.

Seeking to land meetings with architects, who supply Adams with most of his work at Adams & Co., in Sonoma, Calif., the contractor teamed up with The Resource Group, Bend, Ore. A Resource Group rep helped Adams create a 2 3/4-inch cube made up of eight smaller cubes. The piece opens and folds in a number of ways to reveal his logo and contact information, along with photographs of four remodeled homes, two new homes, and one, a Stern project, shown under construction.

Phone calls to San Francisco based architectural firms were ineffective until they received an Adams & Co. cube. “In the first two months I did follow-up, I had more sales calls to make than I knew what to do with,” Adams says. Much of the work we're doing now is based on those leads.” He contracts about $7 million in remodels and new homes a year, many $1 million-plus jobs.

The Adams & Co. cube opens at the center of its logo to reveal a Robert A.M. Stern–designed home under construction, along with interior and exterior shots of five other projects, designed by Stern; Turnbull Griffin Haesloop; Rankin & Grey Architects; and Brayton Hughs & Smith/Gemmill Design. The Resource Group worked with Adams' photo of the Stern project under construction, and also existing professional photos. It cost about $6,000 to create and mail 500 cubes.

“People tell me they still have it on their desk,” Adams says. “They don't use my business card, they just pick up the cube.”