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Design is… People-centered. Technological. Real. Virtual. Physical. Humanist. Important. Experiential. Multitasking. New. Now. Mediated. Conceptual. These adjectives (and those depicted on our cover) are a sampling of the many used to describe design in this issue of Perspective. Which just proves that the word— like the field itself—means different things to different people. As such, it’s an exemplar of agility, much like the forward-thinking interiors that we write about herein. For IIDA, design is first and foremost a community, a place for professionals to come together to share ideas, resources, solutions, and strategies. To demonstrate that, we’ve initiated a new campaign to coincide with NeoCon, one that provides our members with another outlet for expressing their viewpoints. Visit our booth to fill out your own Post-It note, and to read your colleagues’ perspectives. What does design mean to you?
IIDA defines design. Join us. My first name I am from I am
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Spring/Summer 2013 IIDA Perspective FEATURES
Design Dialogue Perspective downloads the brain of top New York real-estate advisor— and newly minted author—Gregg Lorberbaum.
The Showroom of the Future What will it look like, how will it function, and what technologies will it incorporate? Visionaries share their predictions with Craig Kellogg.
Working It A global roundup of coworking spaces by Georgina McWhirter demonstrates the growth of the phenomenon—and offers novel ideas for corporate environments, too.
Hire Resolution David Sokol convenes a virtual roundtable of design leaders and recruiters to learn how staffing practices are changing in the post-recessionary climate.
Get Your Game On As virtual environments increasingly shape the design of our physical ones, Jen Renzi reveals how gaming concepts and strategies are becoming unexpectedly influential. Plus, Shonquis Moreno reports on a high-concept “PlayStation room” in Istanbul. DEPARTMENTS
IIDA Post-It initiative
From IIDA James Williamson, IIDA, LEED AP, and Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP.
Behind the Issue Insight into the collective thinking that shaped the features.
IIDA News Recap of the 16th Annual Industry Roundtable.
Design Decoded New York’s JL Salon is a gorgeous, cosseting space—and a multitasking model of agility.
Behind the Design Art director Bud Rodecker explains the concepts that sparked this issue’s graphics.
Viewpoints Interior designers at multidisciplinary Nashville firm Earl Swansson Associates confess their pet peeves.
IIDA BOARD OF DIRECTORS ’13–’14 president James Williamson, IIDA, LEED AP president elect Felice L. Silverman, IIDA, LEED AP vice presidents Viveca Bissonnette, FIIDA, Assoc. AIA, CID, LEED AP Julio Braga, IIDA, CID, LEED AP, ID+C Anne-Marie Gianoudis, IIDA, LEED AP Susanne Molina, IIDA, CID, LEED AP, ID+C Rob Moylan, IIDA, LEED AP, ID+C, Assoc. AIA Stacy Reed, IIDA, LEED AP, ID+C Enrique Reyes, Industry IIDA executive vice president and ceO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP
IIDA hEADquARTERS STAFF ryan Ben Receptionist and Administrative Support firstname.lastname@example.org Kristin Bergman Accounts Payable Clerk email@example.com erin cOOK Manager of Member Services and Chapter Relations firstname.lastname@example.org mOnica de angelis Manager, Student Relations and Activities email@example.com cheryl s. durst, hOn. Fiida, leed ap Executive Vice President and CEO firstname.lastname@example.org JenniFer hunter Executive Assistant email@example.com dennis Krause, hOn. iida Senior Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org Jessica leung IT Manager email@example.com allisOn lev y, Jd Senior Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs firstname.lastname@example.org
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PERSPECTIVE TEAM puBlisher Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP firstname.lastname@example.org editOrial advisOry BOard Jennifer Busch, Hon. IIDA David Hanson, FIIDA, FIDIBC, IDC, RID Jan Lakin Nila Leiserowitz, IIDA, ASID Steve McCollom, IIDA, AIA Maggie Oldmixon, Assoc. IIDA Felice L. Silverman, IIDA, LEED AP Jocelyn Stroupe, IIDA, AAHID Bill Wittland nielsen Business media www.nielsen.com puBlisher John Rouse 773-880-9955 email@example.com editOr Jen Renzi firstname.lastname@example.org design directOr Rick Valicenti / 3st email@example.com designers Bud Rodecker & Beth Weaver / 3st firstname.lastname@example.org prOJect manager Kimberly Richter email@example.com prOductiOn manager Grace Casey firstname.lastname@example.org sales Vito Salvatore (East) 646-654-4576 email@example.com Ellen Cook (South) 423-580-8827 firstname.lastname@example.org Marie Kowalchuk (Midwest) 773-792-1830 email@example.com Larry Shore (West) 562-598-5560 firstname.lastname@example.org Oliver D. Casiraghi (International) +39-031-261407 email@example.com Ted Eshleman (Digital Sales) 770-291-5533 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contributors 1 1. DAVID SOKOL
3. GEORGInA M C WhIRTER
A contributing editor at Architectural Record, Cultured, Greensource, and Surface, David Sokol also writes regularly for Interior Design. He is the author of The Modern Architecture Pop-Up Book (Rizzoli) and is penning the second volume of Nordic Architects (Arvinius). In this issue, the New York–based writer—who often tackles hot-button topics for Perspective—grills interior designers and recruiters about industry hiring practices (page 40), and how they reflect current economic trends.
A recent transplant from New Zealand’s South Island, Georgina McWhirter works as a book editor and writer in Manhattan. She has contributed to magazines and literary journals such as Vogue Living, Interior Design, and Landfall. In this issue, she investigated the burgeoning phenomenon of coworking (page 28), rounding up a selection of innovative spaces worldwide—including Spacecubed in Perth, Australia, from which she penned the article.
Design pet peeve: “My pet is a cat, and my pet peeve is a copycat. Without naming names, I fi nd it unnerving that otherwise principled manufacturers will jump on a bandwagon and then scavenge it.”
Design pet peeve: “Bad art in cafés, fake flowers, McMansions, people who use the Glamour Glow Photoshop fi lter on portraits, wobbly restaurant tables, inspirational quote wall decals, beds with too many tiny throw pillows…the list goes on!”
2. ShOnquIS MOREnO
4. ADRIAn WILSOn
San Francisco native Shonquis Moreno is a freelance journalist and design consultant who splits her time between Brooklyn and Istanbul— the location of an innovative gaming-room project she covers in this issue (page 60). She has contributed to such publications as Surface, Dwell, Wallpaper, Architect, The New York Times Style Magazine, and Whitewall, and previously served as design editor for Frame. Moreno has also written books on topics ranging from window display to packaging design for Gestalten, Birkhauser, and Frame Publishers.
British-born photographer Adrian Wilson shoots interiors for clients as varied as Apple and Architectural Digest. The New York–based lensman has also helped judge the IIDA awards. He recently photographed the book Leasing NYC, whose author—Gregg Lorberbaum— we interview in this issue (page 18); Wilson’s evocative portraits of commercial office-scapes accompany the article. In his spare time, Wilson lectures on his historic collection of vintage typography and branding and takes joyrides in his beloved gold-painted 1971 Buick Riviera.
Design pet peeve: “Everybody having to pretend, for commercial reasons I guess, that there’s something thoroughly new designed every five minutes.”
Design pet peeve: “Bathroom doors that you have to pull open, versus push; who wants to touch a dirty handle? Also, I think it’s bizarre that the idea of ‘futuristic’ design is pretty much the same style as can be found in 40-year-old movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Sleeper.”
On page 56, we asked interior designers from nashville’s Earl Swensson Associates to share their design pet peeves, and thought it would be fun to make our contributors divulge their own. 6
5. CRAIG KELLOGG Designer/writer Craig Kellogg is the author of Dealer’s Choice: At Home With Purveyors of Antique and Vintage Furnishings. The New York hyphenate, who holds an architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley, is creative director of Gratz Industries as well as editor at large of Interior Design magazine. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The World of Interiors, The New York Times Magazine, Elle Decor, Architectural Record, and House Beautiful, among others. He has also authored a criticism column for British journal Architectural Design. In this issue, he interviewed manufacturers about the future of showroom design (page 24). Design pet peeve: “White baseboards in colored rooms.”
6. KIMBERLy RIChTER Interior designer Kimberly Richter is project manager of Perspective, for which she functions as a de facto embedded reporter. She is the Branded Environments Design Manager at Perkins + Will Chicago, where she specializes in building integrated spaces and developing strategies that tell a client’s story. Richter worked for fi lm-production company Ridley Scott Associates and HBO prior to earning her master’s in architecture—with an emphasis in interior architecture— from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Design pet peeve: “Safe design. When a project team is awarded the opportunity to design, redesign, or rethink—and the result is exactly what everyone expected.”
7 7. BuD RODECKER AnD BETh WEAVER This issue’s graphics—from the custom typefaces to the high-concept page layouts—were spearheaded by Bud Rodecker and Beth Weaver of the Chicago–based design collaborative 3st. Together, they’ve continued updating Perspective’s award-winning visuals to make the publication even more inspired and compelling. Both have serious design chops. Rodecker, who teaches typography at DePaul University, has had his experimental work represented in the Chicago Design Archive, Graphis, and several other publications. Prior to receiving her MFA in graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design, Weaver double-majored in theater design and Spanish studies at Butler University and received her interior design BFA from Harrington College of Design. Design pet peeve: When our physical space doesn’t line up on a grid... especially where the fronts of our desks meet.
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Those who practice it, those who preach it, those who play with it, those who teach it, those who breathlessly adore it—and those who just admire it from afar— all have varying ways of defining design. Why is the definition of this profession so multifaceted and diverse? Perhaps because it isn’t a single profession, and because it is as much about thinking as it is about doing, and as much about strategy as it is about passion. And it is everything about that messy, complex, ever-changing, strong, fragile thing called humanity. Design at its best resists definition, because design itself defines us. It defines our humanity, our instincts, our culture, and our very being. We as a civilization are better because of design and we will be better because of design. Yet, as human beings, we instinctively seek to order, to classify, to put things into terms and standards that make sense and into words that align our thinking. Design demands order and simplicity yet ironically it revels in, encourages— and celebrates—a certain unruliness that allows for serendipity, happenstance, and unilateral grooviness.
IIDA, LEED AP 2012–2013 President
ChEryL S. DUrST
Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, IIDA Executive Vice President/CEO
Whether your thinking is critical or creative, or an admirable blend of both on a good day, you have a Design Story that IIDA wants to hear. This issue of Perspective is but one example of how IIDA defines design. In Perspective we are thoughtleader-y about design. On FaceBook, we get a little more personal, and a bit cheekier. IIDA Chapters are current, relevant, and consistent in their efforts. As an association we do all the stuff we are supposed to like protect, advance, enhance, elevate, provide, and shout from the rafters. Our “Design Is” reality is firmly grounded in the immediate and future wants, needs, and aspirations of our members. But as we expand to meet our global members’ needs, or our members’ global needs (because we have and do both), that “Design Is” reality has grown to encompass a world that regards design as so much more than it was 20 years ago, at IIDA’s inception. We want to hear from you and about your own “Design Is” definition and reality. Take a moment, enjoy this issue, then visit us at www.iida.org or on FaceBook or Twitter (@IIDA_HQ), or contact Cheryl directly at email@example.com, and join us in our “Design Is. . .” dialogue.
The Association for Design Professionals Perspective is the journal of the International Interior Design Association © 2012.
Please recycle this journal or pass it on to a client, colleague, or design student. 8
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Behind the Issue
…to an ever-increasing degree, flexible, modular, nimble, and multitasking, as you’ll discover on the following pages. Agility is crucial in a volatile period such as the one we’re living in—the focus of this year’s IIDA Industry Roundtable. The three-day annual event, which brings together interior designers and manufacturers to strategize about vital issues impacting our profession, has the vibe of a think tank. The ideas generated, solutions discussed, and questions that arose shaped the content of this issue, inspiring us to dig deeper into some of the hot-button topics that came up. Participants noted the many challenges they face in finding superior talent and cautiously expanding their practices in a tricky economy. So we held a virtual roundtable of design leaders to share their experiences. Mobile working is still garnering a lot of attention, too. We shine the spotlight on an extreme example of it—coworking—to see how itinerant, digitally mediated work styles are reflected in and supported by the design of facilities conceived for spontaneous reconfiguration. Though diverse, such spaces share a preoccupation common to all workplaces: creating a sense of community. The design of virtual environments is another area of curiosity and sometimes bafflement. As IIDA President James Williamson put it, “The physical environment will never go away, but the virtual might become so ideal that it will effect how the real/physical is created.” Indeed, it’s already happening, and more interior designers are entering fields like game development to shape spaces that only exist on screens yet have multisensory impact. Conversations with two design professors on the front lines of this phenomenon explain how the intermingling of the virtual and the real is impacting both professions for the better—and how they are teaching the next generation of designers. Showroom design was another preoccupation, particularly on the eve of NeoCon. Speaking of which: Please drop by the IIDA NeoCon booth where you’ll have a chance to fill out your own Post-It note. Make a point to drop by to view your colleagues’ insights, and also voice your own. How do you define design? Let us know.
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The 2013 IIDA Industry Roundtable: Leveraging Volatility Design-world leaders gathered at IIDA headquarters to discuss professional challenges—and strategize ways to manage them.
Over three days last January, some 30 notable members of the A&D community—interior designers, manufacturing executives, and IIDA board members and representatives— convened at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago for the 16th annual Industry Roundtable. This year’s topic was how to manage volatility, both economic and cultural. As evidenced by the weekend’s discussions, volatility is the dominant force impacting our profession (and our clients). It’s also the primary instigator behind challenges ranging from accelerated project-delivery timelines and information overload to the commodification of design— issues that demand a proactive response. The key to leveraging volatility is to spin it as a positive. Volatility presents as many opportunities as challenges if we hone the skills that it demands of us: flexibility, agility, adaptability, and foresight. Getting ahead requires thinking ahead. Herewith, four ways to do so: 1. Pursue growth areas: Protection and detection
As wireless technology liberates us from physical infrastructure, it constrains us in other ways. With mobility comes safety concerns—namely, the need to protect our data. As more companies adopt a “bring your own device” policy, malware can migrate from personal portable electronics to the office network. Importing contacts from one application into another is a massive security issue as well. And server farms and data-storage facilities (what we know collectively as “the cloud”) need to be safeguarded from heat, water, dust, and other antagonists.
Design challenges will emanate from these issues—and so will employment. The majority of new jobs in 2013 will be in three areas: protection, detection, and disruption. Our health-care industry is slowly migrating to a preventative model focused on early disease detection, for instance, and companies are increasingly making real-estate and investment decisions based on climate in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. We need to consider security in the broader sense, in terms of finances, risk management, protecting our IT, and more. 2. design for PeoPle on the move
Two facts that demonstrate the increasingly untethered nature of today’s employee: The mobile workforce will rise to 1.3 billion by 2015, while the number of coworking facilities doubled last year and is expected to continue growing apace. This burgeoning population of free-range workers represents an expanding and underserved market. Designers and manufacturers need to leverage their talents to create furnishings and offices that better support contemporary work styles; otherwise, people will choose to work elsewhere. We have an obligation—but also an opportunity—to reshape how work happens. Some characteristics to consider:
Volatility presents as many opportunities as challenges if we hone the skills that it demands of us: flexibility, agility, adaptability, and foresight. 12
Parallel play Implicit in the collective work space model is an interest in being around others. Despite the digitization of every facet of our lives—or, perhaps, because of it—face-to-face human interaction has never been more precious. But the desired mode of interaction is often more passive than active. Workers want to feel part of a community but also independent; proximate to others, but doing their own thing—like a grown-up version of toddlers’ parallel play. Oasis As life gets more complicated and stressful, we seek out places of calm and refuge—even in the office. That could mean carving out a sphere of personal space, like plugging in to an iPod, or a creating a zone that provides a sense of respite. This notion of sanctuary is something of a corrective to last year’s buzzword, collaboration: As rising real-estate prices forced clients to devote less and less square footage to assigned private space and more to common areas, the balance seems to have tipped too far.
Skyline Digital Glass Portfolio photo: “Neil’s Branches,” ©2013 Doug Fogelson
Mobile 2.0 As employees get more mobile vis-à-vis the office, they require more mobility within the office, too. They want to be able to choose between working at their desk, in a meeting room, or in various types of common space at any given moment. This itinerant behavior will be increasingly important to nurture as workers who once telecommuted return to the office proper. In February, Yahoo announced that staffers who work from home would no longer be permitted to do so—a decision that affirms the corporate HQ’s value as a locus of collaboration, innovation, and idea sharing. In the wake of Yahoo’s announcement, other companies will no doubt be revisiting their own telecommuting policies, and will need to retool their offices to better accommodate the habits and rituals of formerly mobile workers. Agility Now that real-estate square footage per person has seemingly bottomed out, the only way to save money is for spaces to multitask. We need offices that work harder, support solo work as well as collaboration, and offer opportunities for respite and interaction. If we can’t do more with less, we need to do more in less. We need designs that are modular, adaptable, flexible, nimble, agile, and multipurpose. And not just in the moment, but also over time: Spaces must anticipate future needs by being reconfigurable or adaptable to suit new uses and technologies as they emerge.
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We need offices that work harder, support solo work as well as collaboration, and offer opportunities for respite and interaction. 3. Be agile
In the service of designing agile spaces, it’s imperative that designers and manufacturers be agile, too. Shrinking budgets, shrinking firms, increasingly high (and often highly unrealistic) client expectations, and complex project briefs demand that we multitask. Being agile can boost job security in a volatile economy, too. The first to get laid off in the recession were those who proved one-dimensional. Employees need a broad enough purview that they can capably accomplish whatever task may be thrown at them, while still having a concrete specialty that makes them unique—and thus indispensible—if firms need to downsize. Practitioners have to become generalists and specialists— and so do design practices. A firm’s services must be comprehensive in order to attract as many clients and project types as possible, yet specific enough that they become the go-to choice—which often means tailoring expertise to meet a project’s unique demands. Firms have to be large enough to offer a robust scope of services, yet small enough to offer personalized service, be quick on their feet, and not be financially overextended. They need to have breadth and depth. All of which has effected how studios are structuring themselves. Some are now opening smaller satellites that aren’t necessarily full-blown offices. This allows the firm a certain omnipresence while minimizing overhead and commitment to untested markets. And more practices are engaging consultants—whether in-house temps, specialists “borrowed” from sister offices, or outside experts. Firms seem eager to capitalize on the burgeoning community of free agents, assembling teams of highly skilled temps or permalancers to accommodate flexing workloads. This concept not only makes economic sense, but it also mitigates the risks involved in hiring full-time staffers and lets firms tailor teams to specific projects. Employees benefit from this model, too, enjoying the security that comes with a long-term relationship while experiencing different projects, work styles, corporate cultures, and the like.
Some attendees predicted an industry-wide shift to the kind of consultant-based model favored by the entertainment field. But others cautioned that a freelance-based structure could prove detrimental to the health of the industry—and even hamper creativity. Professional development, succession planning, and firm longevity could be compromised. Expertise and knowledge is learned on the job, passed down from boss to underling, over an extended period of time. Will we be as invested in employees, and in nurturing their development, if we know that they are not invested in us for the long haul—an issue applicable not only to freelancers but to notoriously fickle Millennial staffers as well? 4. take Back design
The nature of volatility demands that we be agile as individuals, as organizations, and especially as a profession. Economic pressures force us to expand the role of our practices, while clients expect our services to be all encompassing. And to an ever increasing degree they are: Designers are overseeing project management, staffing their firms with certified change managers, building graphics departments, bringing furniture dealers into the design team, and helping clients conduct real-estate searches. They act as psychologists, mediators, futurists, branding consultants, and much more. Broadening the scope of a practice can help accelerate project schedules, streamline the design process, and engender a more holistic approach. But designers are also being threatened by professionals in related fields who have gotten savvier about encroaching on their territory. Designers are losing jobs not just to competitive firms but also to competitors in adjacent industries who’ve been able to communicate their merit more effectively and in tantalizingly concrete terms—even exact dollar amounts, as in the case of real-estate agents. There are three potential ways to remedy this…
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The nature of volatility demands that we be agile as individuals, as organizations, and especially as a profession.
Industry partIcIpants crossville: Mark Shannon Vice President of Sales Herman miller: Alan Almasy Director of A+D
Programs and Marketing
Arm yourself with metrics The impact of design is measurable and, indeed, an increasingly popular research topic. The academic community is conducting interesting studies that result in objective data, and manufacturers are spearheading significant research, too. To access some of these findings, visit the IIDA’s online Knowledge Center (knowledgecenter. iida.org), a constantly updated library of intel, sorted by specialty area. Bolstered with metrics that quantify the benefits of design and chart how quickly those benefits will pay for themselves—ultimately offsetting anything spent on design fees in the first place—can help firms market themselves better to potential clients. Hire a chief engagement officer Salesmanship doesn’t always come naturally to creative thinkers, and marketing acumen isn’t on the curriculum of most design schools. Principals, design directors, and other firm leaders too often handle business development by default, and not because they are particularly well equipped for it. Firms need to have someone who can engage potential clients at the C-suite level and explain the strategic advantages that design can bring to their organization. Such a staff member could help firms get into the conversation early—even before clients have the occasion to relocate, expand, or redesign—and educate them about the manifold value of design services. Firms recognized the need for a new breed of design executive: a chief engagement officer, someone to help them take ownership of a fuller scope of services—not only for the bottom line but also in the service of better design. Infiltrate public consciousness The selling of our talents and expertise should not be confined to the framework of a transaction with a potential client. In order to increase the perception, awareness, and understanding of design, we need to demystify its impact to a broader audience: the general populace. Design’s impact on the end user’s daily life correlates to that of the a smartphone or tablet in terms of increases in productivity. Yet we don’t have the time or the opportunity to educate potential clients until it’s almost too late: until we are pitching them on a project. We need to change that mindset, to make people think about design more often and more expansively to take design viral. We need to educate and seduce in order to get people to crave spaces that inspire, connect, and boost efficiency—the same way they might crave a gadget that has the same effect. 16
Humanscale: Jon Strassner Director of A&D
inscape: Quentin Kong Executive Vice President,
Marketing & Product Development interface: Jennifer Busch Hon. IIDA Vice President A&D Market Development, Kimball office: Wendy Ewing Brand Manager mannington commercial: Natalie Jones Vice President of Commercial Brand Development milliKen: Stacy Walker Director, Marketing Communications moHawK group: Chris Stulpin Director of Design and Development, Architecture and Design Segment Manager ofs brands: Doug Shapiro Brand Manager tarKett: Sharon Folliard Vice President teKnion: Kay Sargent, IIDA Vice President Architecture, Design, and Workplace Strategies FuturIst panel partIcIpants
Eva Maddox, FIIDA, AIA, LEED AP, Perkins+Will/ Eva Maddox Branded Environments Rob Kirkbride Senior Reporter/Associate Editor, Monday Morning Quarterback InterIor desIgner partIcIpants
Jim Williamson, IIDA Gensler, Washington D.C.: IIDA President Felice Silverman, IIDA Silverman Trykowski Associates, Boston: IIDA President Elect Viveca Bissonnette, FIIDA Hollander Design Group, San Diego: IIDA VP Julio Braga, IIDA, IA New York, IIDA VP Anne Marie Gianoudis, IIDA Gresham Smith and Partners, Birmingham, AL: IIDA VP Scott Hierlinger, IIDA NELSON, Minneapolis, IIDA Susanne Molina, IIDA Klawiter & Associates, Los Angeles: IIDA VP Rob Moylan, IIDA Smith Group JJR, Washington D.C.: IIDA VP Stacy Reed, IIDA Gensler, Austin, TX: IIDA VP Sascha Wagner, IIDA Huntsman, San Francisco Host
Enrique Reyes, Industry IIDA Milliken Carpet: IIDA VP To access white papers of Industry Roundtables, visit: www.iida.org/content.cfm/iida-annual-industryroundtable
IIDA deﬁnes Design. Join us. Contribute YOUR deﬁnition of Design during NeoCon 2013 at Booth 7-2105 or online at www.iida.org #IIDANeoCon
The Real Deal: Perspective downloads the brain of top New York realestate advisor—and newly minted author— Gregg Lorberbaum.
Jen Renzi pHOtOGrApHY BY
Gregg Lorberbaum is a career-long tenant rep, helping clients like Morgan Stanley and KPMG secure New York office space—and negotiate favorable leases in a hyper-competitive market. He is also something of an evangelist committed to demystifying the brokerage business. In addition to running his firm, Centric Real Estate Advisors, Lorberbaum is a strategic coach for aspiring brokers and an advisor to tech companies such as View The Space, an online platform that provides digital tours, and CompStak, a crowd-sourced database of commercial lease comps. 18
Most recently, he has written the definitive guide to finding and fitting out corporate office space in Manhattan. Released in March, Leasing NYC is a must-read for any business on the move— and the designers, architects, engineers, and other professionals who assist in that effort (or who may be relocating themselves). Although the data focuses on New York specifically, the book’s lessons—and the process it outlines—are applicable to any city. The volume is also a visual treat, with images by top architectural photographer Adrian Wilson, including case studies of offices that Lorberbaum brokered. Perspective met the entrepreneur at another of his sideline businesses—the Midtown coworking space WorkHouse—to discuss how he collaborates with clients, what attributes those clients look for in office spaces, how to fight for a good lease, and how he advocates for good design. What does your role as a real-estate advisor entail? Centric is a boutique firm that does high-quality work for select clients. They retain me to either be their real-estate broker or to help them hire a broker, in which case I then spearhead the project internally. I like to lead a team and oversee the construction; I’m very involved in projectmanagement meetings. Basically, I’m there until the client moves into their new office. How did this book come about? I’d recently sold a business and was in a position where I could afford to experiment a bit. I wanted to do brokerage differently from everyone else. Which meant: Stop selling. And start helping as many people as possible. By which you really mean: Write a book and give away your trade secrets! Thanks for that. I asked myself, “Who can I give the best gift to?” It’s the person on the client side who’s handling the relocation. Not the project manager at a corporation—they have real-estate departments staffed with very qualified people who know pretty much anything I could teach them— but someone at a family business or a privately held company that has one or two offices and only leases space every 10 years. The person who gets saddled with that thankless task is usually a CFO or a general counsel.
On an elevator recently I overheard two hedgefunders talking about leases their respective firms had recently signed. Both were similarly sized spaces in the same building, and one of the guys was bragging about what a great deal he’d gotten. I happened to know the two brokers involved, so I did a little research and discovered that the person who thought he was getting a good deal had actually overpaid. That exchange made me realize how little people know about real estate and leases, and how poorly educated they are by their broker Are brokers deliberately not educating their customers, or is the customer not asking the right questions? It’s a highly reputable industry and I think brokers are, for the most part, good people. I liken it to the Pareto principal, the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of brokers are hardworking and honest. But the 20 percent that are earning the lion’s share of commissions? They are all very talented, but…it’s a cutthroat business. That was the biggest turnoff about brokerage for me: I don’t like to be in an internally competitive environment. At brokerage companies, people lock their drawers. If you find someone else’s lead sitting on their desk, and you have a contact at that firm, you’d go behind their back in a second. You just confirmed the cliché of the unscrupulous real-estate broker! It can be cutthroat internally, but brokers are forthright and honest with their clients; they won’t bite the hand that feeds them. What’s fascinating, though, is that this business is allowed to exist. Originally, brokers only represented landlords; tenants didn’t have reps. The way the industry evolved, people routinely represent both sides—and no one seems to care. I’m not looking to grandstand, but in most industries you’d never have this circumstance where the person you’re relying on to handle the largest fixed expense of your business is someone who’s completely conflicted, who may even represent your current landlord. So, getting back to the guy who overpaid: What did he not know? The two guys were focused on the price per square foot, not the all-in costs; there’s a huge difference. Also, what happens is: If the landlord needs $85 per square foot but the client has deal comps that show the market at $65, then the landlord will charge $64—but on more square footage. And nobody measures! And to those who do measure, they just say, “Well, that’s the way it is.”
Meanwhile, what few people take into consideration—and nobody tracks—is the loss factor, or the cost per usable square foot. To get more nuanced, there’s also the adjusted-loss factor, which addresses carpet-able and usable square footage. And most important is the efficiency factor, which I’ve never heard anyone talk about, other than myself. Can you explain? Infrastructure is where all the money is; it can account for half your overall construction costs. One of the first things I advocate clients to do is to hire an engineer for their project team. If you renew your current lease—which you’ll likely do if you can—you’re going to do so with no leverage if your space is not engineered properly. If you don’t point out those deficiencies to your landlord during lease negotiation, you’ll be stuck fixing them. Have the engineer do an infrastructure study on your current space to assess the Internet bandwidth, the electrical wiring, how well the AC is working. Do you need after-hours AC? How’s the building air quality? Bad air effects productivity. Employers wonder why they have such lazy employees; it’s because they’re breathing bad air! People focus on price per square foot at the expense of all-in costs, but also at the expense of the bigger picture—issues like how aspects of the space or the design impact employee productivity and morale. Those are harder metrics to assess, but ultimately more important in the long run, no? Creature comfort, inspiration, esprit de corps— those are the most important attributes of a space. Happy people are better workers; environment is a big contributor to that. Having a nice lunchroom, outdoor space, a gym, or a nap room are all huge positives. Plus, those facilities also serve as expansion space. You can convert them to offices down the line if needed and, in the meantime, the square footage doesn’t sit idle. Designers and architects are increasingly pressured to create spaces that are flexible, that anticipate future growth and needs. What are some other things you suggest clients do in that capacity? This conference room we’re sitting in? It can become two offices. We designed it so that there’s no central light fixture or venting where the dividing wall would go, and there are light switches on either side of the room. So if we grow and need to convert this into two offices, the building handyman can divide it over the weekend for $300. To design this in anticipation of growth
costs $2,000 more up front. That beats having to hire four trades—electrical, HVAC, Sheetrock, paint—and costing $23,000 down the line. The price per square foot for office space is not going down in Manhattan; it’s an island. So you need to maximize design efficiency and flexibility. Firms sign a 10-year lease and only consider the beginning. I tell clients to have their designer do two floor plans: one for now, and one for later that maximizes density. A maximum-occupancy density study is something designers can do for past clients if they haven’t already. A majority of your business comes from existing and previous clients, so why not be proactive and do things for them that make them want to reach out to you? Say, “If you’re ever going to need more space, you’ll need to do this; let me execute it for you now, see how many more bodies I think I can comfortably fit in there, and come up with a game plan for you.” You’ll ingratiate yourself. What are some other features you encourage clients to anticipate in regard to future growth? Furniture solutions are the wave of the future. Furnishings are flexible and changeable. You depreciate them over a much shorter period of time than your office install, you can take them with you when you leave, and they create a cool vibe—way more easily than can be achieved via your installation. Is that old real-estate mantra “location, location, location” a thing of the past? I think the most important thing—more important than the view—is access to daylight. And to whatever extent possible you can have an egalitarian structure, where all cubicles and offices are the same size, and you have as few offices as possible. Most bosses are not liked by employees… …because they insist on having a large corner office? And a private executive washroom. It’s the first thing I tell people to do away with. Do clients typically follow that advice? The owner of a family business wants to be in the big corner office and doesn’t care if he’s liked. I get a lot of, “Last time I checked, I wasn’t looking to be a popular boss.” I’ll say, “I love your candor, but I bet one of your greatest expenses is employee turnover, and you don’t know why employees are leaving. Companies with a more egalitarian structure have less turnover.” If one employee leaves in a small 40-person company, that effects everyone. If you keep people happy, you retain staffers and your business is better. They sometimes listen to that.
Do you find clients more apt to embrace open-plan layouts these days? We’re seeing elements like more internal glass walls—ones that aren’t on the window line. But it really depends on the industry. In a law firm, it’s great for cost overhead to double up associates’ offices, but if the best and the brightest that you’re hoping to recruit don’t want to share an office, then the firm won’t do it. More brokers are muscling in on design services like space planning. Do you think that, in general, brokers are becoming more educated about design? The practice of holding firm on your price but providing more services for that price is now commonplace to all industries. Brokers work on commission, and out of ignorance they often try to force out anybody that gets in the path of their client. They want no help. The brokerage community is not particularly nice to the architectural community. But the big issue for designers isn’t brokers trying to muscle in on their turf; it’s really about designers not cannibalizing each other. And also that designers are very undercompensated for what they do; it’s unfair. You seem to be an advocate for design. Emphatically. I don’t want to overpay for design services, but companies need to step it up! We spend more time in the office than at home, so make it nice. The architect/designer is a critical team member. I tell clients that they cannot have their residential architect—the one who designed their Park Avenue apartment—do their office. You need someone who’s worked in office buildings before, who knows the vernacular. It would be nice if they knew the actual building. I’m not saying use my designer; just use a designer. Do you find that an architect or designer is already involved by the time clients hire you? It’s probably 50/50. I prefer if the client has a designer already. The industry is notorious for kickbacks and I don’t take them; also, I don’t want to be responsible for my recommendations. If I make a recommendation, I always ask that the client bring in someone else as a sample control, to show them that the pricing isn’t 10 percent higher and I’m keeping that 10 percent. Anyway, you can have the most beautiful office space in the world, but if you have a bad lease, it’s not a good space.
What are the elements of a good lease? Most people want lease flexibility, so the lease should give you the opportunity to extend once or twice. It should also give you the ability to sublease to existing tenants in the building, because they are the ones that likely want your space. Is that easy to negotiate? Yeah, but you have to pay for it. And then the lease might stipulate that you have to use the landlord’s agent to lease the space. You might be able to negotiate that you use their agent for 90 days, then use someone else if it’s not rented yet. Or maybe you can secure the right to further sublet. If you sign a 10-year lease and you have to sublease it after a year, then you have a tenant in there for nine years that’s not allowed to sublease it. What no one seems to know or understand—and I give this away in the book—is that, if you want ultimate lease flexibility, you should lease space in someone else’s growth path. A floor in a tenant’s growth path is worth more money than one that’s not; they’ll almost always ask to buy you out. Also, something I always negotiate for—although I don’t always get it—is a give back, meaning that one time during the lease you can give back X amount of space to the landlord for a fi xed fee. Which is worthless unless you designed your space in such a way that the piece you give back wouldn’t impact the rest of your office. So have your architect/designer make a plan: If you want to shed space, this is how it might look. Leases are so complicated! You want complicated? Design contracts are as complex as anything that a client could ever hope to negotiate.
Ideas Revealed June 10–12, 2013 The Merchandise Mart Chicago NeoCon.com
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THE SHOWROOM OF THE FUTURE
Chip DeGrace Interface Executive Creative Director Cliff Goldman Carnegie President Shawn Green KI VP of Design and Product Marketing Katie Holcomb Shaw Contract Group Marketing Specialist Eileen Jones, LEED AP ID+C Perkins+Will Principal, Global Discipline Leader Simone Rothman Tai Ping CMO Sara Sheth Maharam Communications Manager Chad D. Stark Stark Carpet VP, Operations and Technology Jan Vingerhoets Flos U.S. CEO Lindsey Waldrep Crossville VP of Marketing
what will it look like? how will it function? what technologies will it incorporate? will it even be a physical space, or just walls of interactive touch-screens that magically conjure virtual environments? visionaries offer their predictions—and reveal how the future is already here. the showroom of the future will be…
SheTh: Customers need clarity in an increasingly chaotic world. At our showroom in the D&D Building, we try to provide that through a serene setting displaying as little product as possible amid an abundance of natural light, which is needed to properly evaluate color. GOldmaN: Since designers’ offices are becoming increasingly technology oriented, showrooms are their best opportunity to have a tactile, larger-than-life experience.
portable and diasporic
Showrooms will become more modular, mobile, and temporary in nature, and distributed in more places with greater flexibility and lower costs. In 25 years, showrooms will be virtual, accessed from wearable technology.
modular and adaptable
hOlCOmB: Our new Beijing showroom is a model of multitasking.
Infinity, the design firm, was challenged to incorporate myriad elements into just 394 square feet without making it feel cluttered: collaboration and product-review areas, hospitality space, product displays, graphic treatments, workstations, private meeting areas, and ample storage. They created an open-plan layout with no specific function assigned to any one area, which enables us to fully utilize the whole space. The reception counter doubles as a collaboration bar, for instance, and the meeting room can transform into part of the product-display area via slidingglass panels or link to the office area to become a flexible work/ collaboration space.
better able to showcase products in context
Seeing a product installed, versus in endless rows of samples, is the next evolution. Our own showroom displays products in their life-size, installed state to help clients—who are used to working with small samples—realize the impact that patterns, materials, and colors have on their project. VINGeRhOeTS: Rendering technology can help give people a more realistic view of how a product might look in their environment. WaldRep: Crossville already has virtual design tools on our Web site; imagine those available on larger screens, so designers can see the tile they’re considering in room-scene images—right then and there. Those augmented-reality experiences could enhance the designers’ capabilities and help them guide clients to make big decisions with more assurance. With virtual technology, we’ll be able to view samples via computer or tablet, and then print out, in extremely high resolution, only what’s needed. deGRaCe: Our materials are tactile as well as visual, so we’re not quite ready to surrender totally to virtual tools. Designers still want to touch the tiles, drop them on the floor, work them into combinations, and see them in the multiplicity of a pattern, zone, or full environment. They visit showrooms to help better envision the abstract of a single floor tile composed into a complete space. JONeS: “Third-place” workspaces will give teams and smallbusiness entrepreneurs opportunities to test products and ideas while working. GOldmaN:
physical and experiential
Virtual technology will work in concert with physical space. It’s a good starting point for gaining an understanding of a brand, its products, and options; however, customers need to touch and feel product. They also need to experience the emotional aspects of a space that can only be felt by being there. WaldRep: For best impact, technology must work in harmony with the display of physical samples. Products like our porcelain, stone, and glass tile collections show and sell best in a multisensory experience; designers need to see and touch options to make the most informed decisions. Showrooms and trade shows are the vortex of product education and inspiration. They allow a designer to connect with experts for a one-on-one introduction to the latest products. That story is best told live and in person. While the showroom of the future will be more steeped in technology, it will never abandon its core purpose: allowing designers to see, touch, and experience products firsthand and discover -actual products in application. GReeN:
ideas driven—and idea-generating
Showrooms are valuable to designers when they convey compelling stories that are less about product and more about ideas. Product will invariably remain part of all showrooms, but when placed within a space without context or intent, their application significance is somewhat less relevant. For a space to be helpful in the specification process, it needs to demonstrate a range of possibilities. Ideally, showrooms should help lead a designer to a place where they may or may not have gone on their own. GReeN:
increasingly augmented (but not supplanted) by technology
GOldmaN: You’ll be able to use your iPad to order samples on the spot and see the sample installed in environments, enhancing your understanding of its pattern and scale. deGR aCe: Our tiles have QR codes on the back, allowing you to instantly access the digital version—and start designing immediately. ROThmaN: We just developed an invitation-only app, The Thread, for accessing our library of resources and collections. It’s a virtual space, a central point of communication and presentation that facilitates collaboration and color selection with our design clientele, tracks work in progress, stores completed designs for past and future reference, etc. Designers can log in at Tai Ping global showrooms or remotely via iPad or the Internet. Incorporating innovative technologies in a meaningful way into our established practices is critical to staying progressive. At the same time, our custom rug process is very complex, tactile, and visual, so virtual space will only ever be an additional tool to help simplify and enrich the steps. WaldRep: Augmented-reality technology will deepen the in-themoment storytelling, inspiration, and education about product options and design possibilities. Look for a natural progression of what’s already available: more showroom representatives equipped with tablet computers that are able to check inventories on the spot, pull up product details and showroom scene photography, and carry out transactions on the showroom floor. These same capabilities can happen through touch-screens stationed throughout the space, putting the power of search at designers’ fingertips. Of course, exciting tools like Google Glass and NFC (near-field communications) could take this to unparalleled levels as they become more readily available to all of us. STaRk: Interactive touch-screen walls and the like will enable designers to work with showroom employees to view more products with more customization features than ever before— and access information that they’d previously relied on a salesperson for. But the need for physical samples will always exist.
as well as easy access to PDF brochures and technical information that can be sent via email; no need to leave with a bag full of literature. That’s good for all involved, including the environment. ROThmaN: Virtual access to our designs and resources online will supplement, rather than replace, our in-person concierge service. Enabling architects and designers to interact with our internal resources and view them at their leisure—from wherever they are—will streamline and simplify the complicated business of custom design. Our new Paris showroom is cutting edge, with integrated technology in the form of large screens embedded in custom worktables. Ironically, what makes it cutting edge is not just the technology but also the way the space feels and is organized; we call it a lieu d’acceuil or ‘place of welcome’—designers actually want to linger. We wanted to create an inviting space, rich in resources, that allows people to spread out.
Tomorrow’s showroom will be an evolution of today’s, becoming more an extension of a designer’s own studio, and less a ‘museum’ displaying our products.` deGRaCe:
Product information will become more easily accessible for designers by simply scanning a tag to call up myriad tasks the showroom can prompt—anything from requesting a sample to ordering a 9-by-12 rug. This information-flow automation will increase efficiency and help revive the showroom business model. We’ve begun placing QR codes on product labels to enable our staff and designers to view product availability, lead times, and other pertinent information. We are focused on creating tools that streamline the in-store sales process so designers can get their job done more quickly. STaRk:
a self-guided and leisurely experience
GReeN: I think designers would very much appreciate exploring
environments at their own pace—and on their own time— without someone looking over their shoulder. Space is very personal, and self-guided tours are possible using off-the-shelf technology. A customer could roam the showroom with an electronic device—a preloaded iPad, for instance—to access and better understand options, configurations, and planning considerations. We plan to leverage iPads and flat-screen TVs in conjunction with audio support to create ‘experience zones’ within our showroom, allowing for adaptive presentations 26
STaRk: Showrooms will do a better job learning designers’ project
needs and suggesting product before they even set foot inside. As showroom staff gets better at communicating with designers virtually, the time designers spend there physically will decrease. This shifting method of communication will enable showrooms to suggest more appropriate products more quickly, and will result in better service.
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The hazards of working from home are well documented, and they’re not just the temptation to stay in your pajamas and watch too much daytime TV. The monotony of laboring alone—coupled with the lack of professionalism, structure, and community that result from working in one’s residence— can challenge even the most motivated among us. And bustling coffee houses, where distractions abound, are not always the most optimal alternative. Enter coworking, the savior of freelancers, start-ups, job-seekers, and telecommuters alike. A buzzword it may be, but coworking is certainly no flash-inthe-pan fad: The industry has grown 200 percent annually for the past seven years, according to its leading bulletin, Deskmag. by
The rapid ascent indicates serious changes in the global work-scape. The self-employed already account for nearly a third of the U.S. workforce—the largest percentage ever, according to Freelancers Union—while Mavenlink data indicates the overall contingent workforce is expected to grow to 40 percent by 2020. Coworking has become a bona fide phenomenon, fueled by mobile technology that allows us to work any time, anywhere, and by the postrecessionary climate; permanent roles continue to be reduced, yet contract work is on the rise. Coworking’s benefits are manifold, and not just in terms of material infrastructure (shared Wi-Fi, printers, reception and conference rooms, etc.) and the chance to avoid long-term leases and hefty rents. Coworkers report increased self-confidence, creativity, productivity—and better health. Personal and business growth opportunities, cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing and ideation, and the chance to network and foster peer relationships are also draws. In this way, coworking spaces are typically more than just a physical office; they offer a blend of incubation, collaboration, business and investment resources, mentoring, and, above all, community. Such facilities have come a long way since the term was coined in 2005. The movement has wider social impact, too. In Australia, for example, coworking is seen as a way to support local communities and create value across all sectors; last March, industry players instigated talks to create the world’s first national coworking association. And this occurred just days after the Australian government announced a $1 million grant to create a coworking space in Adelaide as a measure to address worker retention and promote innovation in the region. Stateside and at a more grassroots level,
the coworking community in New York showed its muscle in the wake of natural disaster when the Web site SandyCoworking—a crowd-sourced map— helped many without power find a place to work after Hurricane Sandy hit. But coworking is not just a modality for the contingent workforce: Its emergence represents an evolution in all workplaces, and designers should take note of the principles they foreshadow— especially as the quality of office environments and experiences becomes increasingly important in attracting and retaining employees. Work spaces will inevitably change as the culture of work changes, and mobile working within the office proper will need to evolve past hot-spot workstations and hoteling. Coworking ideas have already begun filtering into the mainstream. In March, Google inaugurated Google Campus, an East London space that mentors multiple start-ups under one roof. Hotels are jumping on the bandwagon, too, opening up their underutilized conference centers to the public. The following roundup of facilities across the globe, though wildly diverse, reveals many common elements (chief among them an in-house kitchen or café). Some spaces are rigorously designed, others almost aggressively un-designed. But all are models of flexibility, designed to simultaneously support myriad ways of working and be reconfigured to suit shifting needs and attendance. Sounds like just what the corporate office needs, too.
The 230 members of this year-old Aussie space are a diverse bunch: a 50-person consulting firm that uses it as their head office, a company headquartered in Sydney that has a handful of Perth workers, 40plus nonprofits, and a mix of developers, designers, start-ups, and small businesses. A mix of casual-use “hot desks” and permanent desks—partitioned by salvaged glass panes—furnish the 17,650-squarefoot former reserve bank. The interior layout was constructed as needed, evolving organically into what suited its users. Case in point: Two movable “huts” made of recycled pallets—built at the project start to absorb sound in the open-plan space before desks and partitions made this redundant—are now filled with comfy beanbags to provide relaxation nooks.
photos: GeorGina McWhirter
Spacecubed, perth, auStralia
The founders of this space, which has more than 100 fixed and flexible desks and numerous lockable office suites, were after a certain playfulness. Exhibit A: telephone boxes for private calls. Picnic-table work benches and bistro-style tables with diner booths lend a casual café feel that nods to cowork precursors: the so-named “coffee-shop freelancers.” In case anyone gets nostalgic, there’s an actual coffee shop stationed on the ground floor.
photo credit: mobilesuite/Kla as Fahr
Mobilesuite Coworking, berlin
the hub iSlington, london
photo credit: Melissa north
This facility—one of 41 Hub franchises worldwide and three in London—occupies the attic of a converted 19th-century warehouse. The one-room communal space features a high, slatted roof with original skylights, distressed floorboards, and a design that abets collaboration. Petal-shape desks made of recycled cardboard are arrayed at varying angles to encourage people to cluster and gaze into the space—rather than out windows. A kitchenette, library, storage space, and sofas dot the perimeter, as well as a semiprivate—but not soundproof—meeting room partially enclosed by timber panels.
While living in London a few years ago, New Zealander Murray Sheard was so inspired by coworking pioneer The Hub that he decided to establish something similar on his home turf. Populated by social entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovative charities, the bright space is named after the phenomenon of the best party conversations happening in the kitchen. The residential vibe was designed to foster relationships, says community manager Shona McElroy: “It’s business on a human scale.” Shared desks flank a main event space/living room, and there’s a homey kitchen furnished with vintage op-shop finds, three private meeting rooms, a printer and photocopy room, and even an outdoor balcony/hangout zone with a BBQ.
photo credit: K. KniGhton
the kitchen, auckland, new Zealand
new work city, new york
hand-draWn Map: danza huey
A 4,800-square-foot loft located downtown, New Work City was designed to allow events and work to happen simultaneously without disruption. Breakout library nooks, seating areas, standing â€œhot desks,â€? shared long tables, and media hubs coexist in the predominately open layout alongside private huddle and phone rooms.
6 photo credit: benny chan/FotoWorKs
blankSpaceS, loS angeleS
“Work for yourself, not by yourself” is the tagline at this West Coast coworking outfit, with premises in L.A. and Santa Monica. That tenet guided Coda Spaces, the design firm tapped to bring the brand’s vision to fruition in both locations. Private offices have glass fronts that face inward toward the bullpen, so workers can maintain visual interaction with others while maintaining physical separation. High-tech Steelcase furniture anchors the raw loft, creating a look that’s light years ahead of the dorm-esque coworking spaces of yore.
In the French Concession sits a renovated 1930s lane house decorated with antique Art Deco furniture. It’s the home of Xindanwei—Chinese for “new work unit”—which, since 2009, has provided start-ups, entrepreneurs, freelancers, small businesses, and artists the opportunity to work in a professional environment alongside like-minded peers without being subject to the city’s sky-high rents. The formula has taken off: The Xindanwei collective, which combines event and work space across multiple locations and runs its own social media platform, has close to 1,000 regular paying members and nearly 8,000 dropin and online members. The meeting rooms—so often the dead spaces of the corporate world—are multiuse, and all furniture can be easily rearranged.
photo credit: luo hao
photo credit: aGora collective
Things are kept simple at this popular spot: separate floors for group and silent work, untreated wood furniture, plenty of greenery both indoors and out, and white-painted walls. “The clean feeling is very important to us, because it stimulates a calm and concentrated atmosphere, while the vintage furniture and plants lend a homey vibe,” explains Agora’s Tainá Moreno. On the ground floor are communal desks, a meeting room, a lounge, and a multifunctional space where events, screenings, and workshops are hosted weekly.
photo credit: carolina sainz
Meet bcn, barcelona
With just four rooms and 11 desks, Meet BCN (an acronym for Business Comfort & Networking) falls on the boutique end of the scale. Located in a 1910 apartment building, it was founded as a place where freelancers and contractors can work and meet clients under one professional brand. The communal benching system used throughout offers handy individual desk lamps and storage for each worker, while high ceilings, original ornate cornices, and large porches create a classy backdrop that surely trumps cubicle life.
When entrepreneurs Caitlin Agnew and Lana Morisoli grew tired of working from kitchen tables and camping out at cafés with unreliable WiFi, they decided to do something about it. In 2011, the duo opened a 6,000-square-foot coworking space in downtown Seattle—and quickly discovered plenty of freelance colleagues similarly frustrated by the lack of community and professionalism that’s part and parcel of working from home. Making the office beautiful was important to the pair. “Our inspiration came from the original ‘makers,’ the working man of yesteryear,” notes Morisoli. “We highlighted the industrial era by incorporating handmade tools, repurposing sewing machines for tables, and using vintage filing cabinets for privacy walls and stacks of old books for our reception desk.” To keep the space fresh, elements of the decor can be changed: Most of the space is neutral with a proponderance of gray, white, and natural wood, and the accent color—currently yellow—can be changed to create a different vibe.
photo credit: Will Foster
Roundtable Hire Resolution: How staffing practices are changing in the post-recessionary climate. iNtervieW BY
JaMes kLawiter, iiDa, CiD, is founder of the Los
Angelesâ€“based planning and design fi rm Klawiter and Associates, prior to which he directed major projects at Knoll International. He is a past president of the International Interior Design Association/Southern California Chapter and a past board member of the IIDA Foundation.
JoHn Hopkins, aia, LeeD ap iD+C, is senior
associate and design director at the Chicago office of IA Interior Architects, which he joined in 2007. In addition to writing about sustainable and workplace design for multiple publications, Hopkins has been a guest speaker at NeoCon and the NOMA Conference.
Jorge HugHes is director of human resources at
Callison, which he joined in 2008 as a senior HR generalist in the Dallas office. He became HR manager for Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Mexico in 2011 and was promoted to his current role last November. Prior to joining Callison, he held human-resource positions at Veritude and Operagua.
DeBBy Byrnes, president of Atlanta-based Byrnes and Associates, is a retained executive-search professional specializing in architectural design. During her 27-year career, she has developed proprietary methods of researching, identifying, sourcing, and attracting prospective candidates.
angie Lee, iiDa, Faia, LeeD ap, is a vice president of
SmithGroupJJR and leader of the fi rmâ€™s Workplace Advisory Board Roundtable, which gathers corporate real-estate executives, workplace strategists, and designers to share challenges and success stories. In addition to specializing in high-performance work spaces, Lee has expertise in demographics, shifting work habits, and other workplace-ecology trends.
In March, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 236,000 new jobs were created the previous month. The uptick put the nation’s unemployment rate in prerecession territory. An analogous increase in worker productivity promised more hires to come; productivity has a natural physical limit and, once employers near it, additional staffers are needed to distribute the extra workload. Yet scratch below the headlines and you’ll find that the labor force’s size and participation rate actually fell; perhaps unemployment figures were down because a swath of people had stopped looking for work. And then in April, as this issue was going to press, the bad news hit: Only 88,000 jobs were added, indicating the slowest growth rate since last summer. The interior design field exemplifies both the complexity and bipolarity of the job-growth environment. Take the prospect of a lost generation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 23.2 percent of interior designers dropped out of the profession between May 2008 and May 2011. Equally important: Just as the Great Recession had a transformative effect on businesses’ access to talent, it also changed how employees are hired. Teams were built on a project-by-project basis. Satellite offices opened cautiously, with fewer resources. On an optimistic note, today design firms of all sizes are staffing up. But the old ways of going about that task are indelibly changed. Perspective asked five industry leaders to explain both the opportunities and challenges of the current hiring environment. Their creative approaches to structuring the workforce, hedging the risk of new hires, and many other issues reveal that, when it comes to finding and investing in good people, the recession is still a fresh memory. Their answers also reveal that parallel phenomena—like social media, the popularization of design thinking, evidence-based design, and the entry of Millennials into the workforce—have solidified the industry shifts in talent acquisition. perspective
Is hiring currently limited to a particular market segment or geographic area?
If you could create a job position that hadn’t existed previously in your firm, what would it be and why?
Are you looking for talent in places you haven’t explored previously?
What do you expect of applicants who have been out of the job market?
Hopkins: We have an explosion of hiring activity nationwide, with a majority
of growth in the Northwest. As project schedules tighten and client demands are now almost hourly, we need highly productive people who are quick, clever, and can stay responsive to constant changes in process and need. HugHes: Callison has 10 offices on three continents, and we are hiring firm-wide. We are experiencing growth across all market segments in the U.S. and internationally. Byrnes: I see hiring taking place within all areas, and I think this is wise on the part of my clients. Expert talent has always been challenging to identify, attract, and retain, no matter the economic conditions. Lee: Research is an area that we feel is a gap in our industry. Beyond function, efficiency, and great design solutions, many of our clients are looking for proof of outcome. Especially when it comes to new workplace environments, proof is a key factor as clients align business and workplace strategies to support their vision of growth. Executing a pre-move survey would allow us to compare before and after to come up with more meaningful data. In addition, such a position would undertake concept research on the relationship between new technologies and the global work environment. kLawiter: A director of social media or PR would create a stronger presence for the firm, showcase our work, and get the firm much more intelligently involved in newer, more current ways to communicate. Hopkins: Along with always needing designers with core competencies, we need specialists to finesse our design solutions. Graphic designers, lighting designers, and real-estate specialists are examples of expanded services we could offer. Looking at people graduating from business, engineering, and graphic design schools are ways to stretch ourselves and our offerings.
Byrnes: The places to search for talent have not changed: We target competitor firms, professional associations, venues for awards, alumni organizations, etc. It’s the vehicle for reaching these professionals that has certainly changed. It now includes interactive resources like LinkedIn networks, forums, and other social media. Finding talent is a 24/7 process. HugHes: We are very active online and in social media: Twitter, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Facebook. Recently, we were looking for talent in our L.A. office and used Facebook to get the word out. After only a few days, we had several quality responses, and in less than two weeks we’d made two great strategic hires. Hopkins: Attracting talent from our competitors has become the new normal, which is a striking contrast to hiring people laid off during the recession, who were desperate to find any work. Whereas before we were hiring staffers who were either recently laid off or were looking to leave firms that were not doing well, fewer of those candidates are on the market now. We have to dig deeper to find strong candidates who, because of the downturn, have not been working. They are eager to get back into a firm and are dedicated and loyal once hired. Often people have taken roles outside the industry to pay the bills. I view this as admirable. What is important is that they still have the passion for design.
Byrnes: To be candid about why they have left the market, to demonstrate their passion to return, and to be realistic about their compensation, role, and responsibility when they do return. kLawiter: We expect them to have kept up with technical skills, code knowledge, and planning trends, but we also want to know how they kept up—whether consulting work, independent projects, or interaction with professional groups. Hopkins: How those individuals were employed during that period speaks strongly to their character and future value to a design firm. Honing people skills at the local pub is one thing; volunteering with Designs For Dignity is quite another— it shows dedication.
Does your applicant pool suggest a lost generation of younger designers?
The lingering effects of the recession have changed the structure of the workforce. Are you assembling teams differently?
HugHes: Young designers have struggled to find or retain work these last five years.
Many have left the profession. Some have done so temporarily, but others will never return. Some designers have gone on to pursue additional degrees in the hope that opportunities will be more abundant when they graduate. kLawiter: We see the lost generation coming, but not quite yet. It’ll be the incoming junior designers who cannot beat out the intermediates in experience for wages required. This has been going on already for some time. Byrnes: Today’s population of well educated, trained, and experienced talent is shrinking due to many factors, one of them being the high cost of education versus the return-on-investment of that education in the real world. My clients are missing an experienced next generation of leadership that works effectively in a collaborative environment, produces a high standard of design while mentoring younger designers, and has the business savvy to build and sustain service-oriented relationships.
HugHes: Our mantra is “One Global Team.” We are looking for talented designers who can easily move between projects and work well with diverse styles and cultures. Here’s a scenario that recently occurred: We designed a project in Seattle, worked up the construction documents in Mexico City, created elaborate renderings in Shanghai, and performed project management from Dallas. We want to use the best talent we have, firm-wide, for any given project; in this particular instance, our design experience was primarily in Seattle. Another reason is that a global reach allows us to work around the clock, compress our production schedule, and deliver faster. Finally, there’s cost. On some projects we can assign workloads globally and avoid having to increase head count. And when we have an overflow of work, we prefer to go the route of consultants. Doing so gives those consultants a chance to experience Callison and gives us the opportunity to evaluate someone for a longer-term position. kLawiter: We have actively cultivated a large pool of consultants with varying skill sets, allowing us to structure project teams with a mix of them and full-time staff. The staff members give us consistency with clients, while the consultants give us flexibility to, for example, staff up for production phases without long-term carrying costs. Consistently using the same consultants allows us to integrate them into our standards and procedures without a learning curve before each deployment. We’re typically looking for people who have multiple consultant opportunities or their own outside projects. We’re looking for flexible but not needy. Hopkins: We use contract employees to help during short periods of heavy workload. This gives us time to try them out, and vice versa, although managers are now confident about market trends and hire more regular employees than contractors. Either way, the concept of a seller’s market and buyer’s market is real. With the expansion of anonymous social media like glassdoor.com, firms need to be very cognizant of how each applicant is treated during interview and employment periods. Lee: We look for commitment from our new recruits, and we like to reciprocate that commitment, so we typically do not hire temps. Byrnes: It is important to examine a firm’s business model, to make sure that its workforce structure is realistically compatible to that model. My clients assemble a strong workforce, and within that structure, appropriately build teams on a project-by-project basis.
Do you approach the hiring of full-timers differently now than prerecession?
What is the biggest human resources issue you face?
Byrnes: My clients are experimenting with various resources during the hiring process. One is an executive coach for organizational development and team building. This coach is also well versed in predictive testing, interpretation, and implementation of the testing process. Everyone wants to minimize the risk of their investment. The more important focus is making an effective decision within a talent pool, and then developing and keeping that professional. HugHes: We take a lot of time now to determine staffing and utilization needs for each of our offices. We are looking for candidates who have transferable skills. These candidates are much more adaptable and can move between practice areas, or from one project to the next, more easily. The ability to communicate and collaborate is also key. For that reason, our interview process is much more involved, and we even bring in indirect stakeholders to meet with prospective hires, as it helps with internal mobility down the road. kLawiter: We’re looking for technical skills in various programs—with an increasing call for 3-D and Revit—and cross-training between design and production. Good people skills, compatibility with our client base, and hand-sketching for design development and client communication are also reliable indicators of a person’s aptitude and future success.
HugHes: We are coming across many otherwise qualified candidates who lack handdrawing skills. These skills are a must for anyone who will have client contact, since concepts or ideas often need to be explained visually, spontaneously in a meeting. Lee: Different generational habits, goals, and expectations are becoming evident in our workplace—which is no different from what our clients in corporate America are experiencing. By 2016, Millennials will leap to the majority. What this means to the design, planning, and culture of workplaces is significant. We must develop a communication program to demonstrate what is changing in response and why, and how those changes benefit everybody. Fundamental shifts include increased work space flexibility and better mobile technology. Hopkins: I’m not certain students today are prepared for the full complement of what they need to do to be successful. Motivation and confidence, coupled with design talent, innovation, and professional presentation skills, are not common to recent graduates.
Photos from select 2012 Healthcare Interior Design Competition Winners, from left: North Shore LIJ Katz Women’s Hospital and Zuckerberg Pavilion by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice by NBBJ; Living Well Health Center by NBBJ
2013 IIDA HEALTHCARE INTERIOR DESIGN COMPETITION To honor and celebrate outstanding originality and excellence in the design and furnishings of Healthcare interior spaces
Ambulatory Care Centers, Hospice Care, Hospitals, Senior Living & Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities
To enter: www.iida.org For more information, please contact Aisha Williams, IIDA Manager of Industry Relations & Special Events, email@example.com, or call 312.379.5176
If you grew up playing low-resolution firstgeneration Atari, the notion of gaming as a dominant cultural force sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick. But today, it is: Game-related spending is expected to reach $112 billion by 2015, Nielsen data estimates that 56 percent of American households own a gaming console, and the field is experiencing explosive growth in a sclerotic economy. People from all over the globe convene in cyberspace to play MMOs, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games—virtual worlds that let people interact in real time. And the medium has solidified its artistic cred: A current MoMA exhibit in New York includes 14 video games recently acquired for its permanent collection, The Sims and Pac-Man among them. No wonder, then, that the discipline of game development is increasingly drawing fugitives from fields like interior design and architecture. Bungie, Electronic Arts, and Valve are just a few top gaming companies that employ designers with 3-D backgrounds to give their virtual spaces more nuance. Some are drawn by better wages, while others are seduced by the freedom to make environments where certain laws (of gravity, for one) can be ignored, and any fantasia they envision can become “real.”
Two academics explain how virtual reality is changing the profession and pedagogy of interior design—and why we need zombies.
Chris Totten is one such 3-D-to-2-D convert. An assistant professor of mobile game design at George Mason University, he holds a graduate degree in architecture. “When I left school in 2009, no one was building; the job opportunities weren’t there,” he explains. Totten’s thesis examined how game-design methods can be applied to the architectural process, so he pursued his sideline interest further, teaching himself 3-D-animation programs and poring over the emerging body of critical writing on game theory and philosophy. “Thinkers like NYU’s Eric Zimmerman were writing about gaming as a field of design—seeing it through a humanist lens—and discussing architects like Christopher Alexander,” Totten says. “That resonated with me.” Academia came calling. In addition to managing his course load, he has also written a number of books that tease out the overlap between disciplines; his most recent, An Architectural Approach to Level Design, slated for spring release, is about spatial-design principals as they apply to games. Totten has brought that perspective to his classes, too, treating gaming as a design discipline and not just an entertainment vehicle. “My instruction style mirrors how I was taught in architecture school,” he says. “It’s a studio culture here: Students work in groups, and public presentations are becoming more integral to our curriculum.”
Deconstructing games and thinking about them critically is also important, especially since many students approach the topic from the point of view of a rabid fan. Totten notes that he’s far from alone in his efforts to bring a design-school teaching method to the field; the strategy has been gaining a lot of traction lately. Indeed, one talk at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco last March made an elegant case for academic programs to adopt an architectural-education model. It makes sense, given the numerous parallels between professional practices. “In gaming, as in design, there are different structures and team sizes, and the creative-development processes are also similar: It’s a lot of iteration and testing,” says Totten. “In our case, it’s handing somebody a game prototype to play, asking them a ton of questions about how things worked and made them feel, and then evolving the design in response.” As game development comes into its own as a design discipline, many institutions are better integrating technical and artistic sides of the medium. Universities often have two game departments, one embedded in computer science that emphasizes coding and programming, and the other sometimes aligned with communication, graphics, or media studies. (In that way, the school of study is not unlike film, which is generally bifurcated into theory and production programs.) Administrators and professors are revisiting this balkanization, bringing together departments and/or embarking on more robust collaborations.
A spirited dialogue between gaming and other design departments can elevate both disciplines to new heights. One example is a joint effort initiated by the professional architecture program and the interactive design and game development department at Savannah College of Art and Design. A group of students and faculty from both disciplines are taking part in a three-semester special-topics course devoted to developing an interactive game that simulates the architectural process, allowing students to, in essence, “play” the profession and make real-time decisions— and discover the consequences of their actions. Spearheading the project is Greg Hall, PhD, chair of the professional architecture program, with architecture professors Carole Pacheco and Matthew Dudzik and interactive-design and game-development professor Aram Cookson. Hall explains that the game is not a virtual environment but a role-playing exercise.“It’s akin to a flight simulator, a game used to let people practice skills, even to fail, without the usual attendant risk,” he says. “We’re presenting the situations, artifacts, and evidence of professional practice, developing challenging problems that depict the common issues architects face”— from interacting with clients and subcontractors to scheduling. Hall and his colleagues—who won a $40,000 NCARB award to develop the novel teaching tool—chose to apply gaming to the professional practice course, which they felt had the most potential to benefit from being made more engaging and “real life.” “When graduates enter the field, they’re hit with the harsh fact that, unlike their academic experience, design is such a small percentage of their time, energy, and certainly their satisfaction,” says Hall. The game is conceived to help students understand the broader context of design as a creative process and not just a form-making exercise. “Putting teams together, addressing problems creatively, negotiating with a client—those tasks can be incredibly rewarding if approached with a strong background,” Hall continues. “We want students to realize that being engaged in the full process is essential to the practice; otherwise, they’ll be delegating a huge responsibility to someone else, which puts them in a position of less control and, ultimately, less potential to develop their concept.” For students in the course—many of them gaming enthusiasts inured to violence and, heck, blowing things up—the project as a 180-degree switch. “The traditional gaming platform and organization structure will lead to the opposite outcome, one based on negotiation and creation rather than destruction and confrontation,” says Hall. Just
developing the game has entailed negotiation and teamwork aplenty: Lending their viewpoints and expertise are a number of nonfaculty design professionals, including architects, interior designers, and contractors. The strong response the working prototype has received from said practitioners demonstrates that it has implications beyond just teaching architecture students. “We want to apply the game to other courses and other disciplines, interior design and historic preservation being the most obvious,” says Hall. “It has a lot of applications, especially for people going through the intern process and preparing for examinations.” Other schools or individuals could build upon the platform, too, making it even more interactive. “People could develop modules and start to build on it in an open-source manner.”
In envisioning the tool, professors in both departments have benefited from getting an outsiders’ perspective on their respective genres. “Early on, we admitted that we are not game players, and the game professors admitted that they are not necessarily knowledgeable about architecture,” Hall recalls. “We don’t have preconceptions about each others’ field, which allows us to ask any question, to throw out the ‘what-ifs.’” The course has also changed how he teaches. “The process of developing this game has forced students to consider the consequences of their decision,” he explains. “They need to think strategically about decisions they’re making and understand them as part of a matrix of outcomes. Observing that has helped me understand the importance of making discrete bits of information relevant and interconnected.” Totten, too, has learned much about the process and psychology of design from his game experience and vice versa. He’s especially excited about the potential for spatial-design disciplines to harness walk-through technology powered by game engines, an interactive tool that would let end users tour themselves through a realistic rendering of the space in development. “SketchUp and Revit both have walk-through capabilities, but they are more like videos; they aren’t interactive,” he explains. Game engines, in contrast, let users see an environment from a first-person perspective. Such an intimate tour would help clients become more invested in the design concept and also give
their designer more accurate feedback about what doesn’t work before the concept gets too fully developed, which could help reduce change orders and cut costs. “A game engine is the perfect way to assess whether the design will work for the occupants”—both functionally and psychologically, Totten explains. “It takes pressure off the designer to have to answer those questions and not be able to test them until the design is done. It makes design a more collaborative process between the designer and user. There is an element of scientific method to it.” Creating enhanced virtuality reality walk-throughs sounds high-tech, but Totten says it’s not complicated: Get an iOS or Android developer license, then set up a compatible game engine like Unity. “That may entail a bit of scripting—but you’d only need to do it once to have the ability to look around,” he says. Then plug your 3-D model into Unity and view the results on your tablet, TV, computer, or even full-height touch-screen. “It could be really powerful to give clients a ‘draft’ of their building to walk around. It would change the design process somewhat; instead of a client meeting being a progress report, it becomes a play-testing session. If you are iterating it the right way, you can do this step before committing to the design. That’s where it would be a huge cultural shift.” Virtuality and gaming will effect not just how spaces are designed, but also how those spaces are evaluated and held accountable.
Gamers have other tools and devices that spatial designers don’t have access to: the element of fear, for instance. “In a game, you can create spaces with elements that aren���t pleasurable,” notes Totten. “I remember reading the section in Origins of Architectural Pleasure about how to not create vertigo and thinking, Yes! This is how to create vertigo in a game!” He recently gave a talk at the International Game Developers Association about using enemies as what he terms “alternative architecture.” “Make an enemy—one you can’t fight—and use it to block access. You can use a zombie like a moveable wall. I think architecture needs more zombies.”
A high-concept “PlayStation room” gives a novel Istanbul residential development a competitive edge—and hints at the future of gaming.
Shonquis Moreno photography by
Technology’s blessing is its curse: These days, we expect even our interiors to entertain us, mainlining into the senses like a video game. The dialogue between the virtual and the real cuts both ways, as interior environments depicted online are rendered with increasing verisimilitude. Yet the gaming experience itself is another matter entirely, primarily taking place inside the mind and the monitor. Competing against opponents who aren’t even in the same room—or the same country, for that matter—gamers dive so deep into their virtual worlds that the design of their physical surroundings is generally an afterthought, with design elements limited to fancy chairs with surround-sound audio and other “reality”-enhancing accouterments. But a suite of gaming rooms in a new Istanbul residential tower suggests that the paradigm is shifting. Tasked with converting a windowless basement space into a quartet of console playrooms, local talent Alper Böler conceived a design that suggests Chesterfield sofas on speed. Kitted out with oversize flat-screens, the monolithically tufted interior is furnished with a triple tier of telescoping benches, mounted on wheels and rails. When closed, they form roomwide banks of upright seating; drawn out, they become chaise longues embedded with tablelike surfaces for drinks. The cushioned armatures not only nod cheekily to Victorian-era gentleman’s library, but also to bleacher-style gymnasium seating and the padded walls of an insane asylum. “I wanted to echo Plato’s Allegory of the Cave,” says Böler, who asides that the word “sofa” has Turkish roots, deriving from the Arabic suffa.
The clubby lairs are among a host of amenities offered in Turkish real-estate company Nef’s experimental Foldhome development. Billing itself as a “lifestyle laboratory,” Nef has tapped firms like SOM, Studio Dror, and Raw Edges to redesign the experience of urban apartment living. In the case of Foldhome, tenants get a compact, 650-square-foot flat as well as pay-per-use access to communal spaces that can be reserved for private enjoyment: yoga studios, an observatory, a humidor-equipped cocktail den, and much more. While formulating the concept, the company asked its target clientele what dream amenities they’d want in their home if money and square footage were no object. A gaming room was the most popular response from students, yuppies, and families with young children. “PlayStation is a huge trend, especially among young men,” says Nef founder Erden Timur. (Böler himself is a devotee of Portal and Call of Duty.) The developer suspects that the gaming industry’s increasingly nuanced imitation of real life is replacing the physical, outdoor play that’s already marginalized in city living. The conflation of high-concept and convertibility evident here is a hallmark of Böler’s creative economy. He’s renowned for pared-down multifunctional products like a bookcase equipped with shelves that slide out to become serving trays, a couch with cushions that can transform into a kid’s fort, and Sema, a café table that doubles as a magazine rack. Similarly, Böler’s gaming-room prototype is designed to adapt to the floor plates of future developments. So modular is the concept that it’s tempting to re-imagine the template in the form of an intimate theater, the smoking room of a swank hotel, a lounge for some fashionforward tech company—or even a think tank, perhaps, in the offices of a video-game developer. perspective
Design Decoded JL Salon Where
New York Designer
Mojo Stumer & Associates PhotograPhy
1. MIRRORED WALL
The floating wall, designed to hide heating and water pipes, supports a 19-foot-long mirror that helps Montgomery see clients’ hair from all angles and expands the sense of space. Using a mirrored wall in lieu of fixed, built-in styling stations (supplies are stashed in rolling carts) created a more flexible floor plan, too; Montgomery could squeeze in another chair if she expands her practice. 2. CEILING & LIGHTING
The dropped ceiling helps create zones in the open-plan space while hiding the lights’ bulky infrastructure above. The lower soffit at left leads visitors through the space like a corridor, notes Stumer. All lights are LED, including the product displays’ custom colorchanging fixtures. Bulbs are 3,000 K to mitigate harshness, allow Montgomery to view hair color with accuracy, and help keep the temperature down. “Most salons get so hot because of the hair dryers and incandescent lighting,” she notes. One snafu: The lighting Mark StuMer, fixtures arrived 1/4-inch bigger than the cabinetry was built to Mojo StuMer & aSSociateS accommodate, which required When opening her own salon, hairstylist JamieLee a last-minute adjustments. “In such a small space, Montgomery dreamed big—and thought small. “I something even a quarter-inch too big infringes on wanted to create an intimate space that would give something else,” says Ackerman. clients a feeling of exclusivity,” notes the Irish-born 3. STYLING CHAIRS talent. In her by-appointment-only space, she sees “It’s so hard to find ergonomic salon chairs that are only one person at a time, a boon for celebrities comfortable, look good, and aren’t too bulky,” explains and those seeking a more private experience (not Montgomery. These, from Italian manufacturer Sato mention anyone who likes to gossip freely with lon Ambience, had an exceedingly long lead time but their stylist). Although she favored snug quarters, proved worth the wait; their strong lines mesh with her 337-square-foot SoHo storefront—just 10 1/2-feet the hard-edged interior scheme. The leather upholat its widest—proved challenging from a design and stery is treated to withstand the chemicals used in construction perspective. “We had to solve a num- the coloration process—as are other sturdy materiber of problems: how to store stuff on-site during the als, such as the porcelain floors and light-reflective build-out, how to coordinate the trades so they didn’t glass-mosaic walls. overlap, how to make it not only beautiful but also 4. CUSTOM CABINETRY perform exquisitely,” explains Montgomery’s part- Custom millwork tailored to the exact dimensions ner, real- estate specialist/builder Richard Ackerman, of Montgomery’s supplies takes advantage of every who acted as general contractor. “Small spaces take so available square inch; she even spent time in the much thinking; I’m renovating a 16,000-square-foot cabinetmaker’s studio during fabrication to ensure 6 building now that I’ll complete in a quarter of the time, proper fit. “I need to have all my supplies at arm’s and with much less effort.” length, and storage for everything from towels and The duo teamed with architect Mark Stumer, who color tubes to peroxide and gloves. There are so many devised a luxe yet minimalist scheme that supports things you need on a day-to-day basis that you don’t the intricate choreography of cutting and coloring, really think about when working in a bigger salon and that maximizes every square inch to func- with lots of cabinets.” A favorite detail: “I’ve worked tion like a space twice its size. “The challenge was in other small spaces, and one of the nicest things here transforming tiny quarters into a comfortable work is that we were able to hide the towel and garbage environment while keeping everything on a some- bins from view.” what delicate scale, so no single element overpowered the space,” says Stumer. The result? “Because of how painstakingly it’s designed, I have so much room to work,” Montgomery concludes.
“The challenge was transforming tiny quarters into a comfortable work environment while keeping everything on a somewhat delicate scale, so no single element overpowered the space.”
5. WASH STATION
The shampoo station is oriented sideways for easier navigation between the styling area and the rear of the salon, which houses the color station and a full bathroom. The chair’s sideways orientation also screens shampoo bottles and the JamieLee montgomery, sink basin, which seems to recede into the white cabinetry behind. While getting shampooed, clients can also survey the full sweep of space, enhancing the illusion of loftiness.
“I wanted to create an intimate space that would give clients a feeling of exclusivity.” owner JL SaLon
6. HIGH-TECH TOUCHES
The 47-inch flat-screen serves myriad purposes. Montgomery can watch the news between appointments, play films for clients during lengthier treatments, and view who’s outside via her closedcircuit video—a must for anyone working alone. The base cabinet nearby, ventilated with five fans, houses her IT equipment: the security system, cable box, satellite radio, DVD player, and telephone wiring—all operable from a single remote. 7. FRONT CLOSET
Because Montgomery didn’t want the interior to be visible from the street, Stumer was able to utilize the storefront to create an aluminum niche for flowers and a ventilated closet for the espresso machine and refrigerator. “A lot of small salons don’t have the space to offer clients amenities like coffee, which I really wanted to provide,” says Montgomery. Teak slats screen the view while allowing light to filter through; they also warm the otherwise sleek palette.
Behind the Design
Designers Bud Rodecker / 3st and Beth Weaver / 3st explain the issue’s graphics.
shOWrOOM OF Future, pAGe 24
The headline font treatment mimics the one used on the cover, where we gave words dimension by turning them into spatial environments. The font recalls a floor plan, perhaps, or a perspectival drawing. (On the cover, we added one more layer to the design: We ran the issue’s copy through a text analyzer to determine which words were used most often; the most commonly used are the largest.) To illustrate each of the concepts outlined in this article—from “diasporic” to “anticipatory”— we developed a pixel grid of 16 boxes, and played with the interrelation between them to form expressive little icons.
WOrKinG it, pAGe 28
We started with the idea that the page layout itself was a bit like the arrangement of a proto typical coworking space: a large open room with tables that can be moved around as needed. So we built a very simple architecture for the page: The text block is always top right, and however deep it goes onto the page informs the placement of the project name to the left. The photograph at the bottom hangs off the grid, while the photo credit line extends a vertical element within the image. The numbers have a few functions: They activate the white space on the page, give a sense of the abundance of projects included, and also move around the “room”—much like someone at a coworking space might choose to station themselves at a different desk each time.
LESLIE ANN WILSON, IIDA
of time designing to the proposed budget, and during the pricing
My numberone pet peeve is when I spend Get YOur GAMe On, pAGe 46
Advertisers in this issue Big Ass Fans Cumberland Furniture
iidA – Join
iidA – neoCon
national terrazzo & Mosaic Association
sherwin-Williams skyline design sloan valve
Here, we put the quotes in skewed, offregister boxes with uncomfortable negative space between them. Here and there they just barely touch, creating tension. Functionally it’s a way to keep this textonly column interesting and different, but the design also reflects a sort of agitation that shines through the text.
neoCon World’s trade Fair
vieWpOints, pAGe 56
iidA—healthcare interior design Competition
In this case, the concept follows form: We wanted to do a really big typographic treatment for the headline, and started experimenting with letters. The result? Letters that recall the tubes in Super Mario Bros. The “tubes” start on the opening spread and snake onto the next—like level changes in a video game—and form drop caps for the paragraphs.
23 2 13 7
What is your design pet peeve?
Viewpoints I work solely in the commercial realm, and often collaborate on projects with a large design committee. As we approach the finish-selection phase, inevitably someone from the group says, ‘I just finished redecorating my house, and we used…’ Although I graciously listen to their suggestion, in my mind I’m shouting, This isn’t your house, it’s a hospital! Ken l. BoWman, IIda, aSId, edaC, nCIdQ, leed
One Question, One Firm, Eight Voices: We posed this issue’s query to interior designers at Earl Swensson Associates, a multidisciplinary Nashville firm that brings a humanist touch and a strong research foundation to projects ranging from health-care facilities to education and cultural spaces.
aP Id+C Director of interior DeSign
The value-engineering or cost-management phase of a project is always the most difficult for me. The interior finishes and detailing typically represent a small portion of the overall job costs, particularly in health-care design. Often, the interior design is cheapened in an effort to save a minimal amount of money, with results that increase the long-term costs and maintenance requirements. aBBy WeIlmuenSter, IIda, aSId, leed aP BC+C, edaC
Lack of communication from the general contractor and subs, particularly during the pricing process. When assumptions are made on design intent by the GC and priced accordingly, chances are they’ll miss the mark. When this happens, the final design will fall short of the goal and, more importantly, differ from what was presented to the client. I’d rather field a lot of questions up front than have the alternative happen. Janet Wennerlund,
Senior interior DeSigner
IIda, aSId, leed aP Id+C Senior interior DeSigner
As an interior designer, my biggest pet peeve is when clients or others refer to me as the ‘interior decorator.’ tom Bauman, IIda, aSId, edaC Senior interior DeSigner/interior Detailer
It’s very frustrating when a manufacturer is stingy with sampling, whether in size or quantity. I can’t get your product in the job if you don’t let me see a real piece of it. leSlIe ann WIlSon, IIda Senior interior DeSigner
I have several pet peeves. First: Our team spends a great deal of time designing to the proposed budget, and during the pricing exercise with the contractor, we’re led to believe we’re in budget. But then somehow at CD pricing, we’re suddenly over budget and have to redesign. It would be great if all contractors and subcontractors actually priced what was drawn rather than pick a number out of thin air. Second: When some clients ask us to design to a particular budget number, they’re unwilling to tell us what that number is. Finally, when manufacturers’ reps go directly to the client to try to get their products substituted over the specified design.
My number-one pet peeve is when I spend hours, days, weeks, months on drawings— and they don’t even get looked at. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said, ‘It’s in the drawings… angela rInehart, IIda, edaC, nCIdQ, leed green aSSoCIate Senior interior DeSigner
Sarah Woodard, IIda, aSId Senior interior DeSigner
The expectation of extravagant design solutions when given less-than-extravagant budgets and unrealistic deadlines. Jarred BoBo, IIda, aSId Senior interior DeSigner 56
Houston TX 77289
TERRAZZO is the foundation for generations of school pride at Spring Branch Elementary.
â€œIf you can conceive the design, you can achieve it in terrazzo. It is a timeless, unique product whose longevity will outlast the lifetime of the structure with minimal maintenance.â€? Sylvia Hajo Interior Designer Bay-IBI Group Architects Houston TX 77289 www.bay-ibigroup.com
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