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.
Meena Krenek, Senior Interior Designer at Perkins+Will, discusses immersing herself in college sports, creating “an experience” and capturing the sports industry in the space.
What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
I became a designer because I love to solve problems in extremely creative ways, and believe in creating “an experience” through interior architecture. Our client, IMG College, wanted their new Atlanta office to be an extension of their brand and have the energy of college sports. My talented team and I created an experience for the employees and visitors of IMG College that reminds them what it feels like to be a college sports fan, and that celebrates the icons of college sports. An experience!
The space definitely captures the essence of the sports industry. Tell us more about the design process and decisions on what elements to include.
The design concept is “all about the fans,” and exploring the textures of the sports industry. The experience and journey in the space captures the energy of college sports. We produced a brand map that created different journeys throughout the space, and allowed for different encounters with the IMG College brand.
The yard markers and hash lines are represented on the carpet, and ceiling/lighting to create way finding for the office. The scoreboard is used in the elevator lobby to designate the floor and welcome visitors. A powerful gestural audio-visual display in the reception area provokes the sounds of college fans. Custom branded workstations on the “iron grid” (open office area) allows employees to personalise their workstation with their individual college sports team. Custom bleachers were designed to host town hall meetings for the organisation at large. Rubber floors were used in areas to celebrate football and basketball patterns and textures. The interior design creates a profound connection to the brand with the use of iconic materials, textures and graphics of the college sports world.
Tell us something that was unusual about the project.
Not necessarily unusual – but a fun challenge. The clients wanted their workstations to be unique to the way they work and specific to their business.
Do you have any stories you want to share about the project?
Even though I graduated from a big football college, University of Tennessee, I was not a huge college sports fan. As I immersed myself into the IMG College project and researched the impact of being a college fan, I recognised the loyalty for ones universities and the pride that dedicated fans felt. It truly inspired me! Every Saturday in the Fall of 2011 I watched college football religiously. It was a great relationship builder for my husband and I!
Through this experience, I gained the vocabulary to support the college fan environment.
We began calling the different spaces in the office specific names related to the concept. We called the break room “Half Time”, the entryway “Pep Rally”, and the open office “Iron Grid”. The IMG College space truly supports their business!
What has the reaction to the space been?
As best said by Cory Moss, Senior Vice President & Managing Director of The Collegiate Licensing Company, an affiliate of IMG College:
“When you walk off the elevator, you immediately know what type of business we are in, and what calibre we are. We feel like we are a better company and I think it shows in the environment that has been created for our employees, and also for our clients when they come to visit us. They are absolutely amazed. It has dramatically improved our communication and our capabilities.”