Design is always evolving, especially in our home town of Houston, Texas.
Because we’re committed to staying on top of design trends, McCoy Rockford decided to invite some of the best designers and architects in the city to sit down together to explore questions about design in Houston.
In this video from McCoy Rockford’s Houston AIA Power Hour, seven experts from Houston’s design scene weigh in on an audience question:
"We created a fun break room and a quiet recharge room for a client. The fun room was never used and the recharge room became the place where all generations co-mingled.
How do you help the client know who their workforce really is?"
Kathrin Brunner, Senior VP of HOK was the first to speak.
“The one that you mentioned with the recharge room has to do with stress. We have not mentioned that… when you look at the data, the facts today, [stress is] listed as the highest impact in the workplace. So that should tell us something, and I think we as designers have access to this data, and can communicated it.”
“Another one, that we haven’t mentioned. We have a healthcare expert here. It’s health. Health will be our next big phenomena,” said Brunner. “If you look at the statistics, how unhealthy are we? This generation. I came across research, tied to females… about our weights, tracked since ’85 to today. If we can’t provide more activity in our work environment, we are gonna fail. Work consumes so much time. You know we are at work long hours.”
“We are not leading. We are following,” she went on. “And I think we as an industry need to lead, and understand, and take advantage of the data that we have access to. And stress and health are probably the big ones.”
“We’re doing a lot of emotional intelligence training for our staff to be able to try and read these questions that we’re not seeing in a program,” answered Kristin Ledet, Principal and Director of Interiors at FKP Architects. “We’re trying to play games with some of our clients, take them to a children’s museum if we’re doing a children’s hospital, to see what engages them. What are we reading, and not seeing on those non-verbal ques, so that we can try to predict some of those unknown factors, instead of just giving them some square footage of space that they’ve asked for because ‘this is how the room is going to function.’”
“So, we’re spending a little bit more observation time in that type of programing, as opposed to the space and numbers side, to really try to get those cues,” Ledet concluded. “Because you’re right, they’re really going to use the space differently by their actions, not really how the space is ‘supposed to be’ from our perspective.”
Filo Castore, Principal for the DLR Group weighed in next.
“We can influence how the design process team is put together, to a certain point,” he said. “We are hired and we get paid a fee because we are experts. Otherwise, they would not hire us. So, one, you need to engage.”
“Depending on each company, it is different, but we can suggest to bring somebody on the design team at certain milestones to influence those decisions. Or at least listen to them.” Filo recommended. “Every company is different, some of them like the survey aspect, you know kind of anonymous… others are embracing actually kind of a vertical section of that company, and bringing everybody to the table, especially at the beginning. We have to listen and understand their company first. It's our job to help that, for sure.”
Marc Bellamy, Associate Principal, Design and Architecture at PDR wrapped up the discussion.
“I would say, you have to convince your client,” Bellamy said. “You asked, how do we deliver this to the client, how do we convince them... you have to bring data and research from sources your client trusts. It can't just be from anyone. You have to be kind of selective about how you deliver that information to them.”
“I have one client who says, you know, I trust in God, everyone else–bring data. So, the data you bring has to be the right data. It's all out there. There's tons and tons of research on attraction and retention as it relates to generations. But you have to do the legwork to find it,” he finished.
Filo Castore had one more thing to say before the AIA power hour was over:
“There’s a lot of information that our furniture friend in the industry can help us as well. They want to provide that, and we should leverage that. And it also helps them to, to grow and develop their understanding of the industry, so it’s all one team.”
1. Health will be the next big phenomenon. If we can't provide more activity in our work environments, we are going to fail.
2. They're going to use the space differently by their actions, not really how the space is "supposed to be" from our perspective.
3. We have to listen and understand their company first. It's our job to help that.
4. You have to bring data and research from sources your client trusts.
5. There's a lot of information that our furniture friend in the industry can help us as well. As your "furniture friend" we'd like to provide you with helpful insights and information. See our blog or research on the Steelcase website for more.