2013 Market Winner: Velti Headquarters by AECOM

As the winners of the 2013 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Michelle Ives Ratkovich, Principal/Director of Interior Design, and Allard Kuijken, Associate Principal, talked with us about falling in love with design at a young age, team collaboration and creating a work environment that people enjoy.

When did you decide to pursue a profession in design?
Michelle Ives Ratkovich (MIR): When I was a teenager. I fell in love with design and architecture at a very young age!

Allard Kuijken (AK): From a very young age I was always excited by change in general and intrigued by design and how colors could affect an environment or reflect your mood.

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How did you find your love for design? Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
MIR: My brother. He took me to New York City when I was 13 years old and took me to all the art museums. We discussed the history of art and the specific styles and periods of design. We toured the Guggenheim and discussed the Chagall paintings and the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing course?
MIR: Never

Tell me about your client.
MIR: Velti is an international company that creates advertising on mobile devices. They are expanding across the globe and are taking advantage of a growing platform.

AK: It was amazing that the client embraced the new workspace strategy completely with no private offices even for the executives, which allowed us to design a truly open work environment and maximize the amazing views of the bay of San Francisco.

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What is your first memory of the project?
MIR: Meeting with the client. They were wonderful. This is key to a great project. The client was knowledgeable, trusting and enthusiastic.

AK: During the very first meeting it was clear that our client was very open minded and excited to be part of the team to create the right environment.

What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
MIR: I wanted to create environments that people would enjoy coming to everyday. I felt like it would be my contribution to making the world a better place.

AK: People spend a large amount of time in their work environment and it feels great to create spaces that they are proud of and that enhance team collaboration and innovation.

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How did you plan your design differently for each “neighborhood?”
AK: The neighborhoods / departments were placed according to the right adjacencies and workflow. Color was used as an identity and way finding tool by the use of Shaw carpet accent colors and furniture / finishes.

What are you most proud of?
MIR: The strong team collaboration for a project that had a tight schedule with wonderful design opportunity.

AK: That the entire team worked together to realize this project in a very aggressive schedule and that in the end it exceeded the expectations from our client.

What was the happiest moment of the project?
AK: The client hosted an open house and it was gratifying to see the space function as we designed it for these kinds of meetings; all large rooms adjacent to the reception area have moveable doors for ultimate flexibility.

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