Tag Archives: Design is…Award

2014 Market Winner: Cedar Rapids Public Library by OPN Architects

As the winners of the 2014 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 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Mindy Sorg, Interior Designer, talked with us about rebuilding a city, engaging with the community, and creating something more than just a library.

Describe this project in one word.
Transformational.

04_Atrium Light Wall

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
In June 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids was hit by a huge flood. The city lost hundreds of homes, businesses and public structures including their public library. As the city looked to rebuild, restoring library services was a top concern and the city hired us to help the community develop a vision for library services in the community.

The new Cedar Rapids Public Library opened in August of 2013. The space truly embodies the ‘Big Idea’ behind the design, which was to create a library that in the words of library director Bob Pasicznyuk was “more like an Apple Store than the DMV.” That comment was more about the patron experience than the design, but it really helped drive the decisions to make the library a multipurpose destination and a space for the community to gather, collaborate and celebrate. As a team we embraced the themes of openness, transparency and public engagement.

06_Adult Fiction

From my perspective, the design for Cedar Rapids Public Library pushed the boundaries of what a library can do for a community, and the results have been astonishing. In the first three months alone, the library welcomed 108,900 visitors, issued 6,200 new library cards, provided space for 605 organizations to host events and booked more than 50 weddings, parties and special events. This is in a city of just 128,000 people. After five years with limited library services, it’s incredible to see the ways in which the library is serving as an economic catalyst, a community hub, and haven for users.

01_Exterior Night

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
When the flood hit we donated our services to design a temporary facility in an empty mall storefront. We contacted vendors and industry experts to donate furnishings, made a run to IKEA for lights and fixtures, and had the space up and running in a matter of weeks. We knew the space was temporary, so we selected materials that could be recycled and decided to use the library as a learning lab. Over the next few years, we tested new furniture and materials so that we could make the best choices for the new library that was under design. This part of the process helped us make informed decisions and allowed the staff and library leadership to try out some innovative ideas that made their way into the final design for the new library.

I think it’s so important to remember that a new library represents a tremendous investment of public resources. For us it was critical that we engage our client and the community in the design process. We developed a highly-interactive process that engaged the client in design decisions from kick-off through opening day and we ran focus groups regularly to make sure that our designs were aligning with the community needs. This helped us stay focused on the ‘Big Idea’ behind the design. We worked closely as a team to bring the building materials, lighting and programmatic spaces into harmony creating a simple, clean and highly-functional design. We love the results – this library is truly a welcoming and works incredibly well for patrons and staff.

08_Children's Area

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
Never underestimate the ability or willingness of your client to allow you as a designer, to take the design to a level that exceeds even your own expectations.

Always educate the client to make educated decisions on design. Decisions that are purposeful and reflect the conceptual foundation of the design are easy to sell, and in the end are the ones the client is most excited to see as successful solutions.

Question the programmatic status quo. In order to give the client something they didn’t even know they wanted, you need to take them outside their comfort zone. Raise and ask the hard questions about how things are done and why. That lets you get to the next level and create a design that is truly transformational.

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2014 Market Winner: The Schusterman Foundation by Millar+Associates

As the winners of the 2014 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 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Olivia Millar, IIDA, LEED AP – Principal, spoke with us about inspiration from new generations, incorporating nature, and engaging youth.

Describe this project in one word.
Crisp

TSF_02

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
The design of this space impacts, and is inspired by, the way younger generations work. The design supports more casual environments as well as more traditional meeting styles. In addition the daylight penetration and ergonomic height adjustable desks support health lifestyles. Lastly, the space is very flexible which allows the occupants to customize it to suit their changing needs.

TSF_04

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
Our process always begins by learning the client’s mission and vision, how they work, and what their goals are for the project. In this case we learnt that TSF’s mission is to engage youth. That inspired the design functionally and aesthetically. The symbolism they employed in many campaigns included the Tree of Life. This, combined with the tree tops outside the space, drove the design to focus on the trees, incorporate wood, and use the bright colors found in nature.

TSF_03

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
While individual workspaces are shrinking, amenity spaces are increasing and becoming more diverse. The youngest members of the workforce want casual, comfortable, and collaborative spaces.

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2014 Market Winner: Ludia by For. Design planning

As the winners of the 2014 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 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Andre Davingnon, APDIQ® – President and Artistic Director, talked with us about creating a place to not just work – but live, minimal design, and Mary Poppins’ favorite word!

Describe this project in one word.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_01

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
The Ludia project proposes a new vision of profitability based on the latest corporate ideologies. Offering smaller work stations, all close together, to facilitate team interaction. Then using the saved square footage to conceive gathering spaces to create the sense of belonging to its employees. By this new approach in design, the Ludia spaces went from simple offices to a place to live. As well as a better organisation and the increase of effectiveness, the biggest success of this design was to assemble all the right conditions to allow the implementation of the game culture and socialization in the workplace: From the serious production meeting… to the next hockey game!

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_04

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
The mandate was to develop a workshop for 84 artists, collaborative spaces, a multipurpose lounge, IT lab, a server room, a cloakroom for 100 people and washrooms, in a new 9600 square feet space, with a construction budget of 400,000$. An increased challenge appeared after demolition started forcing a reevaluation of the structural condition of the historic building. With this major necessary architectural work, the initial budget was amputated and a new strategy in design was required.

To obtain optimum results and impact, while taking into account budgetary constraints, the development of the design was based on three considerations:

  • Can we design, construct and manufacture with different means?
  • Can we achieve the same result by using less expensive materials?
  • Can we save money while creating custom product?

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_07

One strategy used was to create a minimal design with the use of one or more vibrant color for a dramatic effect at a low cost. Following this principle, the new staircase and handrail were build according to industrial standard. The highly saturated orange color, used for this new area of vertical circulation, produces a grandiose effect. The lounge was fully painted black with the intention of harmonizing all of the existing architectural details from different historical periods.

This use of black paint acted as a canvas and enhanced all the colors and textures of the various furniture pieces and fun design elements. The monetary savings from the installation of commercial products such as vinyl tiles and baseboards, commercial type paint, standard doors and frames helped to put more emphasis on the lounge’s key items. More expensive products such as recycled wood, grass carpet, floral pattern carpet, mosaic backsplash, a mural by Montreal artists, printed mural and glass partitions were used in smaller quantities, creating a more dramatic effect while still maintaining a sense of unity.

For design planning_Ludia_©Stephane Brügger_05

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

  • Using the physical and budgetary constraints as an incentive to create
  • Listening and a good analysis of the client’s need are a great formula for a tailored design
  • Dare to mix styles and approaches to create a unique design
  • Make it a priority to safeguard the architectural Heritage of a space and develop a new concept in keeping with the history of the place.
  • Crazy ideas exchanged while brainstorming (those we barely mention) sometimes make the best design
  • Color is your best ally – use it!
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2014 Market Winner: DIRECTV by AECOM

As the winners of the 2014 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 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Cathy Pack, Senior Associate, spoke with us about the presence of technology, opportunities in interiors work, and hearing & working with many voices.

Describe the project in one word.
High-resolution!

1_AECOM DIRECTV_Lobby Living Room

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
Before this project, DIRECTV did not have a campus – it was just a collection of buildings close to each other. With the addition of a cafeteria, gym, interactive lobby, conference center and courtyard, the 4,000+ employees engage with their environment and each other much more than ever. As far as the personal work areas, 30 floors were gutted and reconfigured so all employees enjoy daylight and a high ratio of collaborative space. Technology is present everywhere, with flat panel displays in every office and customized workstations with racks for equipment. Even in the ‘soft seating’ spaces, the material palette is sharp with contrasts of texture and color, reflecting the DIRECTV brand.

thumbs_46914-26-directv-aecom-0514.jpg.1064x0_q90_crop_sharpen

Design is a process. Explain your journey.
Before any design took place, interviews were conducted with 42 departments and over 1,300 individuals! DIRECTV encourages all employees to have a voice, which is wonderful for the company, but challenging for the designers and the project management team to synthesize. The other challenge was convincing many of the employees to embrace the open, collaborative office space and, in some cases, relinquish private offices. The first build-out reflects some of this hesitation, but as the second and third buildings have rolled out, workstation panel heights have come down even lower, colors have become more vibrant, and teaming areas more prominent.

3_AECOM DIRECTV_Cafeteria

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
The DIRECTV Headquarters is my first large-scale Interiors project, having come from more of a core-and-shell Architectural background. I feel that every architect should take opportunities to work on Interiors. In my experience, Interiors offers:

  • More exposure to clients and user groups
  • Faster decisions and increased design opportunities
  • More female leadership
  • Fine-tuned coordination of AV/Technology/Furniture
  • A highly engaged network of professionals and product representatives with year-round social and charity events
  • Opportunity to be on the front-end of our changing world and how technology is changing the way we work

Images: Interior Design, AECOM

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2014 Market Winner: TenneT Headquarters by Studio Groen+Schild

As the winners of the 2014 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 40 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.

Tine Groen, interior designer on the project, talked with us about connecting employees, using pure & honest materials, and planning for the future.

Describe the project in one word.
Cradle2Cradle

7.SG+S - TenneT MCE restaurant 2

How does this project demonstrate the power of design to impact users in a space?
TenneT, a utility company for electricity transmission has evolved from a company with a technical identity to a people oriented organisation. The interior of its head office in Arnhem seamlessly matches its new identity. The open and transparency of the interior is designed to improve the mutual connection between all the employees working within this building. Pure and honest materials ensure a timeless base. Meeting places have been given their own look & feel based on three themes: people, nature and technology. This is expressed in colours, materials and signing. The diversity within the themes, brings more diversity within the users minds. The interior is extremely sustainable, even circular: the complete interior package can be dismantled. No glue, silicone kits or other toxic substances were used. The users understand that the whole interior design is specifically chosen for their health being, not only on the short turn, but also on the long run. The end result is a healthy interior that energises the employees of TenneT.

15.SG+S - TenneT MCE meeting office 1

Design is a process, explain your journey.
Disassembling is key within this project. It was our journey to design and connect the whole interior by keeping with this base, easy possibility for future disassembling, with 100% recycling possibilities. We feel that we only are part of the journey. What will be the journey of the selected products? They are here now, in which building will they be 20 years from now. How excited is that! Nothing needs to go to landfills, the selected interiors has many lives.

3.SG+S - TenneT MCE coffeebar

What are the most important lessons that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?
Design with the future in mind.

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