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Two Aviation Designers Discuss What It Takes to Elevate the Airport Experience for All Travelers

Airport design is reaching new heights. With hundreds of millions of travelers passing through these spaces every year, designers are tasked with delivering a seamless and comfortable experience to regular business commuters and first-time fliers alike. So what makes a great traveler experience? Aviation designers Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP, executive vice president at Gresham, Smith and Partners, Richmond, Virginia, USA, and Derrick Choi, AIA, LEED AP, principal and senior architect at Populous, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, check in to chat on this topic.

Perspective: What elements do the most to improve traveler experience?

Wilson Rayfield: We’re looking at things that improve the passenger experience in terms of efficiency, wayfinding, and access. Often, it’s that intuitive wayfinding—trying to create as few decision points as possible and provide visual cues to your destination. For example, in the international terminal in Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the ticket counters, the floor pattern, the ceiling pattern, and the lighting are angled and lead visually toward your direction of travel. All the lines lead your eye toward the direction that you need to be moving in.

Derrick Choi: I’m a big advocate of a passenger-centric design approach based on three basic principles: convenience, control, and connectivity. Passengers, no matter how seasoned they are, just need to be in control of where they are. They’ve got to be connected physically, mentally, and, these days, technologically. Once all these elements are achieved, a passenger can actually begin to engage and experience the terminal facilities and start to make decisions as to what they like and what they don’t like.

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Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President, Smith and Partners

Perspective: Elaborate features — such as the world’s largest indoor waterfall at Singapore’s  Changi Airport — have become a mainstay of modern airport design. Are today’s airports too focused on flash?

Rayfield: I think that has a lot to do with the context and with the community. What’s appropriate in Changi, Singapore is probably not appropriate in Nashville, Tennessee, [USA]. It’s a matter of finding things that make the airport represent the region it serves. We did a modernization project in Norfolk, Virginia, [USA] recently. With the design of the terrazzo flooring, integrating some of the nautical elements there, we refer back to the history of the region without being overwhelming. It’s part of the fabric of the design and the finishes, so it’s something that is recognizable if you find it. But it doesn’t stand out and scream at you.

Passengers, no matter how seasoned they are, just need to be in control of where they are.

Choi: I think every community has a unique story that they’d like to tell, like the Victorian-era train stations in Europe. But ultimately, financial viability is key for these public gateways. This emphasis on revenue — and the reality that passenger travel patterns have dramatically shifted in the past 15 years — has really put the emphasis on customer convenience, amenities, and concessions. Because of that, there’s a bit of a misperception that it’s all about these elaborate elements, particularly in the global context. These airports are pulling out all the stops — not only to make their operations highly affordable and attractive to airlines, but to attract passengers from all over the world.

Perspective: What future trends will shape airports?

Rayfield: I think security is going to drive airport design more than anything. Instead of having a secure side and a non-secure side with a single security checkpoint in the center, the entire airport environment will be a secure environment where they’re identifying passengers through facial recognition and other technologies. Security is going to become ubiquitous throughout the entire facility, and I think it’s going to start to become more invisible. After security, another driver is the movement toward a greater reliance on self-service passenger processing for check-in, bag check, and similar tasks, which gives passengers more control over their travel experiences and has significant repercussions for terminal design.

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Derrick Choi, AIA, LEED AP, Principal and Senior Architect, Populous

Choi: I think technology will continue to be a huge driver of change in several aspects. It’ll radically transform the way we think about the building. Many traditional passenger processes and physical touchpoints are being transformed, repurposed, and even blurred — creating what will hopefully be a more frictionless user environment. For example, in many airports, they’re ripping out your traditional hold room seating and creating more user-friendly spaces that are served by iPads and food service vendors that let you tap and order. Being able to have that technology will change the way you use a facility and spend money.


This post was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Perspective.  

Design Then, Now, Next

Envisioning the Future of the Interior Design Industry

What were you doing 20 years ago? IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, opened Industry Roundtable 20, held January 6-8, 2017, with that simple question.

“Twenty years ago, commercial interior design was experiencing a transformative shift,” said Durst, who moderated the annual roundtable. “We began asking, ‘How do people work?’ instead of, ‘Where do people sit?’ We started to think beyond the job title and consider how people relate to one another in the workplace. We saw that work and life were overlapping in new ways. And, we recognized that good design is the solution for optimizing work and productivity in this new era.”

It was a fitting question to kick off the event: For two decades, Industry Roundtable has welcomed distinguished design leaders for a two-day, thought-provoking discussion about topics relevant to the Interior Design industry. This year’s topic, “Design Then, Design Now, Design Next: A 20-year Retrospective,” offered participants the rare opportunity to reflect on the history of the profession and assess the emerging economic, cultural, and social trends that are shaping the next generation of commercial interior design.

Eileen Jones, IIDA, SEGD, AIGA, LEED AP, principal and global practice leader, Perkins+Will, opened the event with her keynote presentation, “A 20-year Retrospective of the Commercial Interior Design Industry,” which provided an overview of how technology, sustainability, and the evolving purview of design have shaped the profession.

Her message was forward-looking, setting the tone for the remainder of the event. “Standing here at the end of the Information Age, we are in a unique position to figure out what is next and how we can change the world with design,” said Jones.

The group of 30 interior designers, manufacturer representatives, and thought leaders then participated in sessions focused on the future of people, place, and work, featuring speakers Julie B. Cummings, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, director of human resources, BKD, LLP; Jim Young, co-founder, Realcomm Conference Group; and Jim Ware, Ph.D., founder and executive director, Future of Work….unlimited. Much of the conversation focused on the multi-generational workforce and how to transition design leadership to younger generations.

“When I first started, I never would have imagined that human resources would be sitting at the table with design teams to talk about space,” mused Cummings who presented on The Future of People, “We need designers to guide us, consult with us on how space can meet the needs as the Boomers transition out and Millennials become even more of a force in the workplace. This is something all of my peers are wrestling with.”

Young and Ware, who spoke on the Future of Place and the Future of Work, respectively, echoed this sentiment during their presentations: Designing for the future will mean accommodating five generations, a growing population, and rising life expectancies while reckoning with a decrease in available space, a critical need for sustainable building practices, and ever-evolving technology.

“Design has the unique ability to bring together allied professions, solve problems from multiple points of view, and put society’s well-being at the forefront. This notion of the convergence of people, place, and work, and how we think about design in the context of these things is critical to what’s next for our industry,” said Durst.

An executive report, to be released in March 2017, will provide a summary of key insights from IIDA Industry Roundtable 20.


Read past Industry Roundtable executive reports online at iida.org.

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The Future of Tile and Ceramics: A Review of Cersaie

As a designer, finding inspiration everywhere is crucial to staying relevant, educated, and curious. Sometimes that inspiration is right outside your front door and sometimes it takes you to regions of the world you’ve never experienced. Today’s post is written by Richard N. Pollack, FIIDA, FAIA, 1999 – 2000 IIDA International President, who had the opportunity to travel to Bologna, Italy, for Cersaie, an international ceramic tile and bathroom exhibition. Read what he learned, including the technological advances being made in the Italian ceramics industry and the big tile trends to expect in the coming year.

In September, I had the privilege of being a delegate to Cersaie (pronounced: tcher say e), the annual ceramics fair in Bologna, Italy. Although many of the exhibitors were Italian, the fair is an international showcase of ceramics. My hosts were the Italian Trade Commission and Confindustria Ceramica – the Italian Association of Ceramics.

Confindustria Ceramica represents over 260 ceramic tile, sanitary ware, tableware, and refractory materials manufacturing companies, with Cersaie focused on the first two manufacturing segments. U.S. and Canadian architects and interior designers might think that ceramic tile usually refers to bathroom and kitchen tiles and mosaics, but it encompasses many types of wall and floor covering tile and panel.

Some significant statistics about the industry provided by Confindustria Ceramica:

  • Overall recycling in Confindustria Ceramica factories is 99.5 percent with 100 percent of the water used in production recycled.
  • Italian ceramics industry is adopting LEED 4 at the end of October 2016.
  • Ceramics factories recycle material from other industry sectors, effectively making their recycling efforts more than 100 percent.

The products I viewed were porcelain and ceramic, with this year’s technological advance being large format panels – some 1×3 meters and thinner panels – down to 3 millimeters for wall application. Although the original source material for manufacturing the tile was the red clay that came from around the city of Sassuolo, not far from Bologna,, now the raw materials such as feldspar, quartz, and others are sourced from other countries. Fabrication begins with constructing the panels, which may also have intrinsic coloring and textures added during manufacture, and are then printed with surface patterns. The printed surfaces are relatively thin, but the strength of the underlying panel and extremely hard glazes applied over the printing makes the products strong and long-wearing. Confindustria Ceramica noted that their members’ tile has the best longevity of all flooring materials including carpet, wood, and marble. Panels can be used for floor, wall, indoor, outdoor, and special applications – often using the same tiles.

A unique new product is a ceramic porcelain roof tile with integrated solar panels. The solar panels are the same shape and size as adjacent roof tiles, and are installed using a plug-in grid system that then connects to the building’s electrical system. Very cool!

As a delegate, I toured a factory near Sassuolo to see first-hand how the panels are manufactured. The factory building was very large to accommodate the long production lines but with relatively few people required. I saw the process from start to finish, with the panels formed, textured, printed, baked in kilns, quality checked and packed for shipment – quite impressive.

During my three days in Bologna, I learned what trends to watch for (Warning: “This is not your grandmother’s tile,” said a member of Confindustria Ceramic):

  • Lighter colors with a softer feel and a predominance of blue as an accent color in tiles
  • Large format concrete patterned panels from all manufacturers
  • Almost invisible grout lines, highly rectified tiles
  • Increased use of patterns, both subtle and strong, including strong dimensional surfacing
  • More precious patterns, including geometric shapes such as hexagons and rhomboids
  • 3-D textures from lightly textured through highly visible shadowing
  • Small to large graphics, and all the stops in between
  • Fabric textures on tiles, with tartans, plaid, herringbone, and madras – finished smooth or with varying dimension and texture
  • Panels exhibiting more movement, with warps and wefts in the patterning to convey energy
  • Many wood effects ranging from somewhat accurate wood representation to artistic images implying wood
  • Greater focus on representing natural stone more effectively, including large-scale, book-matched marble, slate, travertine, granite, etc.

The show and its exhibits were quite striking, providing an excellent overview of Italian ceramic tile product and approach. The Italian ceramics industry produces high-quality products with a strong focus on design – and I should know – owing to all the Italian ceramic tile in my home.


Richard N. Pollack, FIIDA, FAIA, is Managing Principal of Pollack Consulting, which he created after founding and leading award-winning Pollack Architecture for 28 years. Pollack Consulting assists firms’ growth and success through improved business development, winning presentation techniques, business coaching, recruiting top talent, and ownership transition implementation. You can reach him at Richard@RichardNPollack.com or 415.508.6008.  

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The Student Perspective: Orgatec 2016

Today’s post is written by Kelsey Ballast, Student IIDA, winner of the inaugural IIDA Booth Design Competition at Orgatec. The competition provided students the opportunity to design a trade show booth at this year’s Orgatec Trade Fair in Cologne, Germany, on Oct. 25-29. Kelsey received an all-expense-paid trip to Orgatec to see her design concept realized, courtesy of Vitra, as well as a tour of the Vitra campus.

The amount of incredible design that I have been immersed in over the last couple of weeks has been completely overwhelming in the best way possible. I was fortunate to have been selected as the winner of the IIDA Booth Design Competition at Orgatec, where I was flown to Cologne, Germany to attend Orgatec, an event billed as “the leading international trade fair for the modern working world.”  

As I wandered through the chaos that was the day before Orgatec’s opening, hoping to find the IIDA booth, I was overwhelmed and in awe. The mess of boxes and people running around setting up complicated and massive showrooms made me feel a bit anxious to see my design. I was hoping that it all came together and would be able to fit in among these other impressive spaces.

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Kelsey inside the booth she designed with IIDA International Board Members (from left) Scott Hierlinger, IIDA, LEED AP, Marlene Liriano, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, and Cheryl Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, and James Kerrigan, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C. All the furniture in the booth is by Vitra.

As the booth came into view, relief overcame me when I saw that it had actually come together. The team wandered through the booth, but I found myself observing. Seeing the team interact with the space – knowing the thought and intention behind it all – I was overjoyed. 

On the first day of the show, we arrived early to get all of the IIDA brochures and accessories in place. At 9 a.m., the PA system echoed through the halls, signaling the show was now open. Not 30 seconds later, crowds of people were streaming past our booth. Visitors stopped in and took photos of different areas and elements in the booth. I did not expect this at all! As the day went on, the atmosphere around the booth was very positive. The space was used exactly as I had hoped – as a place of respite and relaxation for visitors to sit and have a conversation with one another or just kick their feet up for a minute.  

I was also able to spend time exploring the hundreds of showrooms spanning almost 1,400,000 square feet. The part that amazed me the most was that all of these showrooms were constructed solely for the show. They were all within large halls, so each vendor constructed their own architecture to define the space.

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Shots from Orgatec. Inside the Cascando booth.

It was such an eye opening and inspiring experience to explore the madness that is Orgatec. The amount of innovation, new companies, and variety widened my perspective of the industry and opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of a career in interior design.

The next part of my trip was a tour of the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, which is near the border of Switzerland. The hillside surrounding the campus was covered in the warm golden tones of the changing fall leaves and harvested fields. The juxtaposition of nature’s perfection with the clean lines of the many buildings at the Vitra Campus was something from a dream. I witnessed the brilliance of multiple architects’ and designers’ work, including Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, and Zaha Hadid, just to name a few. 

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Exterior of the Vitra Fire Station by Zaha Hadid Architects.

These buildings were like nothing I’ve ever seen or experienced before. Every element was intentional and thoroughly designed in the purest way. But don’t take my word for it: Check out vitra.com for a virtual tour of the campus. 

I am so thankful to IIDA and Vitra for providing me with this opportunity. Everything I was able to do and see has altered my view of design for the better and enhanced the way I see and will execute my designs going forward. My time in Germany has taught me that design should reflect authenticity, purity, and the value of experience, and that’s a lesson I won’t soon forget. 


See Orgatec from Kelsey’s point of view by visiting the IIDA HQ Instagram feed and searching #iidatakeover.

 

IIDA Booth Sketch

Verda Alexander Wants You to See Into Your Design Future

A former fine artist and landscape architect turned co-founder and principal of her own design firm, Verda Alexander, IIDA, started Studio O+A with her partner and big dreams. Twenty-five years later, she and Primo Orpilla, FIIDA, count Facebook, Uber, AOL, Yelp, and Samsung to name a few, among their clients. The powerhouse duo and their San Francisco-based design firm, which was named a 2016 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award winner for interior design, are innovators in the field of workplace design, known for their signature open-office plans that have now become de rigueur.

We’re honored – and proud – to announce that Studio O+A has taken on the task of designing the IIDA space at this year’s NeoCon tradeshow. Called “IIDA Effect/Affect,” the booth explores how a designed space evolves as people move through it and make their mark on the built environment by leaving and taking business cards and fortunes about their design future. We spoke with Verda about the space – from the project’s inspiration and challenges, to what IIDA means to her.

Made You Look

“When Cheryl [Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA] approached me with it, I was like, ‘Yes, this is awesome!’” said Verda. For Verda, designing showrooms and pop-ups allow her to tap into her artistic background, experiment, and get creative. “What I love about designing showrooms is that they’re up for three or four weeks and you’re really trying to tell a manufacturer’s story. You have a lot of leeway in how you do that because it’s temporary and it’s short term.”

During Studio O+A’s meeting with IIDA, Cheryl knew that the booth would have to tie back to the idea of “the IIDA effect,” the impact that IIDA members have through the spaces they design and the people around them.

“Cheryl kept mentioning this made-you-look moment,” said Verda. “That made us think of an Instagrammable moment.”

 

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Sketch of the 2016 IIDA booth at NeoCon (courtesy of Studio O+A).

The Frenzy That is NeoCon

Anyone who’s been to NeoCon knows that there’s never a calm moment. The line to get on the elevators that take you to four floors of exhibitors and showrooms is already a force to be reckoned with. Studio O+A knew that they’re biggest challenge was creating a space people would actually want to spend time in… especially one that is a hallway.

“We definitely looked at this project as an art installation. It’s a hallway space with an escalator and elevator and small nook,” said Verda. The Studio O+A team decided to create something that stood out visually from a distance but also would work close up using multiple levels of interaction. They thought about what IIDA meant to them and the industry, and the concept of give and take was born. “We have the organization that supports us, but we are also members of this organization. It’s a mutual beneficial umbrella that we’re all under. Giving something back, but also an opportunity to give.”

Celebrating IIDA

Typically at tradeshows such as NeoCon, in order to brand your space, a sign with the company logo at the front of the booth suffices. But that wasn’t the strategy Verda and her team had in mind when faced with this project. Instead, several thousand cards will be displayed in the booth to view or take away. The IIDA logo will be printed on these cards 2,000 times making the logo visible, but not so blatantly obvious. Other cards will have a special IIDA lapel pin or a variation on a mantra or design fortune. The intent is that the cards are memorable enough that visitors will want to stick one in their pockets.

“For me, IIDA is our community – it’s our network. It’s our organization and it’s what brings everybody together. Let’s celebrate IIDA, but let’s be confident enough in our message or our corporate image that we can be playful with it,” said Verda. “Somebody might not look that close or might not see the IIDA logo, but then they’re going to wonder who did that, what is that? This idea of investigating and discovering in a different way is what we’re going to push.”


Experience IIDA Effect/Affect at NeoCon. Located by Starbucks on the first floor of the Merchandise Mart, the space is guaranteed to make you pause and find your design fortune. See you in Chicago!

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A Career in Healthcare Design: 4 IIDA Members Share Their Paths

As IIDA Student Members around the country get a taste of what it’s like to be a professional interior designer during the Student Mentoring Program this month, a few of our seasoned members and design professionals are sharing a little bit about how they launched their careers in healthcare design. From after-school jobs to mid-career shifts to a little bit of luck, their paths may be unique, but they’re all passionate about this fast-growing design specialty.

From Hospitality to Healthcare

“I began working primarily on hospitality projects, but during the design phase of a large mix-used project that our firm designed abroad, I found myself transitioning from the hospitality component of the project into the healthcare component of it. It was a natural and logical transition as both program types deal with environments focused on the hosting and caring of people.

I truly believe every healthcare project offers a unique opportunity to partner with an organization to collaboratively develop transformational solutions tailored to their vision and purpose. Well-designed, inspiring environments can help patients heal faster and enable clinicians to surpass their previous achievements through settings that foster focus and collaboration. As designers, we can validate our intuitions with evidence-based data and the latest findings in neuroscience to create high performing, people-focused spaces.”

-Edwin Beltran, IIDA, Assoc. AIA, Principal, NBBJ, and IIDA Vice President

Luck and a Love of Technology

“Prior to my career in design and implementation of healthcare technology, I provided IT services in the corporate arena. Then my spouse was offered a position in Nashville. For me to find a position, I called a few companies and asked, ‘Where is the last place you would work?’ The number one response was a large university medical center in town. Not only was the medical center one of the largest employers in the area, it also included 314 acres of technology, just waiting for me! I socially engineered my way to become part of the staff. That was my first position in Health IT in 1999.

Today, my daily work ranges from the electronic medical records to the regulatory environment, from the clinical flow of patients to the design of the patient room. If it is technology and in a hospital, I touch it, design for it, budget, select, specify, procure, and manage installation.”

-Alan Dash, Senior Consultant, The Sextant Group

Medical Illustration to Interiors

“From an early age, I wanted to be a dentist or a physician, but I found out in anatomy that I couldn’t handle the smells or visuals of the medical profession. I still loved everything medical and someone in my anatomy class noticed me drawing and sketching. They asked if I had ever thought about medical illustrating. Well I did, and I loved it. My professors in medical illustrating suggested that I also look into industrial design. I found that it was highly competitive, rigorous, and research-based and had a high regard for beauty and functionality.”

-Amy Sickeler, RID, LEED AP, Interior Design Principal, Perkins+Will

High School Job Sets the Stage

“My after-school job in high school was with a multidiscipline design firm, where I was first exposed to healthcare design for interiors, signage, and medical devices. I eventually went to work for this firm and that’s where I started my journey in healthcare design.

Healthcare design is complex, challenging, and ever-changing. I love that it constantly shifts beneath my feet, pushing me to innovate. But what truly fuels my passion is the desire to create optimal patient experiences that help ease the journey for patients and their loved ones.”

-Suzen L. Heeley, Executive Director, Design+Construction, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 


On Monday, March 21, Sickeler, Beltran, and Heeley, will join IIDA EVP/CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, at PDC Summit. Durst will be leading the expert panel in a lively discussion about healthcare design during the program, “Strategy, Culture, and Healing: The Modern Healthcare Facility as a High Performance Workplace.” Learn more about the PDC Summit.

Image: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Brooklyn Infusion Project, Brooklyn, New York, USA, by ZGF Architects, 2012 IIDA Healthcare Interior Design Competition Best of Category Winner for Ambulatory Care Centers