Design is a very broad term with a wide variety of implied meanings. For this special design feature, we spoke with several Owensboro Chamber of Commerce members who specialize in commercial design to get their perspectives. Here is their advice to keep in mind when considering the design or re-design of your business, office or workspace.
What should we be prepared to address when talking to an interior designer?
When it comes to working with an Interior Designer, many are not sure where to begin.
“Designers are here to help!” says Laura Ruth Edge. For an effective first consultation with your designer, L.Ruth Interior Design recommends coming prepared with some questions already in mind. “A distinct understanding of these three items will send your project soaring and will impress your designer with your ability to recall your requirements and wishes,” Edge said.
- How much can I spend on this project?
We know! Zero dollars would be the most desirable but it’s just not reality. If you’re not sure, discuss in detail with your designer in the first meeting so they can efficiently evaluate your needs and requests. It is essential to be on the same page in this department in order to justify spending money on a design/concept. All parties involved want to see this project happen to its highest potential, but a disconnect on budget will not allow that to happen.
- How do I want this space to look/feel (and what is its function with how many occupants)?
Give us some information about yourself. Let us know about your lifestyle and things that you love to see and do. You will be amazed as to how far we can take this information in reflecting you or your brand.
- What is your deadline?
In today’s world the acronym ASAP is used for everything. It’s not effective because there isn’t a definite goal and is translated differently among even the most common of its users. A grand finale date sets the expectation for all parties involved and therefore makes for a happy ending for your project!!
These tips will help give you the best outcome to your design project no matter the size of the installation whether it is a residence, commercial or hospitality space!
What should we consider when looking at a remodel or upgrade?
As Project Coordinator at RBS Design Group, Steve Martin views design as “the entire process that we create to accomplish our goal, whether it be a remodeling or renovation.” Aesthetically speaking though, Martin says most people tend to refer to design as the elements that are changed or modified in appearance or shape from what they were when we started.
“In that sense, we have liberties to change or add new elements to a building and truly ‘design’ something new to improve the structure and make it better.”
In regards to design aesthetics, Martin says RBS looks at several things prior to starting any design work:
- What do we have to work with?
This entails everything from our budget to the existing structure and time frame. All of these dictate, to some degree, portions of the design. You can only do so much with what you have to work with, in a given time.
- What are the requirements?
Or parameters? These are typically items that we are required to address such as building codes & deficiencies for safety and accessibility, the needs of the owner and users (building program), structural problems or other such issues that need to be fixed.
- Use and function
How is the space used and where does it fall short for its users? How can we improve the functionality and use of the space and make it more efficient and user friendly?
- Spatial relationship
How can we improve the relationship of the user to the space? How do the aesthetics affect those who use the space and how can we improve that relationship? Color, form, shape and space all affect the mood and attitude of those who experience them in some way or another, usually subconsciously. So how can we improve that experience for the user? How can we inspire those using the space through what we design and create for them to use?
All of these elements, along with many, many more shape the final design or construction of a structure.
What are some current trends in office and workspaces?
For Jennifer McCrystal, of J.McCrystal Designs, current national design trends in the workplace go well beyond whatever the color or decorating tip happens to be popular at the time. McCrystal is more concerned with trends that are “relative to productivity and return on investment… things that illustrate their worth as tangible evidence.” She breaks them down into the following four measures:
“Design Thinking” is a term originally fitted for designers, architects, and engineers. However, in the last few years, it has evolved into a broader scope to encompass all industries. By juggling Design Thinking and flexibility, one is able to prepare for the future, and develop the best possible solution.
For example, one cannot predict when variability in the market may arise, when focus of operations may need to adapt, or future employee increases or decreases. Designing for flexibility will prove a higher return on investment because it allows adaptability for these things, as well as advances in technology. Examples include mobile partitions instead of built-in walls; reconfigurable furnishings instead of fixed.
- Health & Wellness
Studies have proven it is unhealthy to sit for long periods of time without periodic movement. It is best to move around multiple times throughout the day. Design trends focus on methodologies to encourage and support this, which in theory translates to healthier, happier, and therefore more productive employees.Ergonomics is a term developed recently to “maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.” Years of research in ergonomics and anthropometrics have driven the designs of current task chairs. Most furniture manufacturers have developed sit-to-stand desking units to encourage workers to stand for a few minutes at the beginning and end of his or her day.Other strategies also enhance wellness in the workplace and psychologically drive employees to be active. Today’s layouts of offices typically will have variations of work environments based on the task at hand… small breakout areas, collaborative areas, individual/focus areas, and social areas.
No longer stringent to only objects such as business cards and pens, branding now takes the full environment of the interior workplace into account. Creating community, boosting morale, and strengthening the company image are a few benefits of effective branding.Consumers can see this trend in the way designers suggest for organizations to use signature colors, finishes, and key features consistently throughout all branches and facilities. In that way, branding relates back to the company’s values, morals, slogans, and image.
Large private offices are slowly disappearing. Trends in the workplace are now encouraging owners to replace these large private offices with open-air studios and mixed-use environments. In this floor plan, employees have the ability to be familiar with what is going on in the full company. This trend is able to boost efficiency and productivity… the more minds are able to generate more ideas, and the more minds who understand the full scope of operations, the greater likelihood of each employee being capable of assisting in any way necessary.