r.o.i. Design has been supporting Ryan Ogle and BluHouse with interior design for many years, and we were part of the team for their recent expansion. Along with interior design, we provided graphic design and product procurement to assist in getting their space operational in time for the busy 2018 real estate season.
We worked with architect Tim Allspach, builder Kevin Cook, and BluHouse’s own team of builders, Mariani Construction, to complete the project. The complete remodel included almost 4,000 square feet of office space.
The office includes a combination of private offices and open office space supported by tiny private areas for team members to use for calls and focused work. The reception wall makes use of reclaimed wood, which was locally sourced from Grand Rapids Pallets. Throughout the space are accents of “BluHouse Blue” and the inclusion of some of Ryan’s key “finds and treasures”. A dynamic team photo wall makes a bold statement at one end of the space.
Ryan Ogle started BluHouse in 2007. He has grown the company to include an active team of realtors, property managers and remodelers, and marketing consultants through a variety of privately held and related businesses.
Their first offices on Wealthy Street in Eastown became cramped and impractical, so over a few years, business segments were relocated to other facilities. BluHouse Properties, the real estate business, moved to East Paris in 2016 but expanded their presence there in 2018.
For more about BluHouse Properties, Rent Blu, and 7thRow Creative go to thinkbluhouse.com, rentblu.com, and think7th.com.
Sun Rise Ministries now has its own facility after 14 years. They purchased the former Freedom Chapel in Jenison, MI. They engaged BCI Construction and TJA Architecture to remodel the facility. Having worked with both Doug Kooistra of BCI and Tim Allspach of TJA on other projects, it was great to join the team as the Interior Designers.
For Sun Rise, their commitment to help people Connect and Serve meant their new church home needed to be immediately “engaging”, welcoming visitors to participate.
It is amazing what some well-placed paint, carpet and graphics can do to a space. We integrated the acoustical panels in the worship area to create a wall design. We were also able to offer graphic design services, creating wall graphics and signage in the corridors. (A “shout-out” to our own Ryan Bright, graphic designer.)
Thank you to church leaders Bob and Penny for your direction and leadership. Blessings on your ministry’s new home!
r.o.i. Design has been designing for retail for more than 20 years, but now that schools and universities have discovered their customers expect the same kinds of retail experiences on campus as they do in their communities, more than ever we find ourselves working for these institutions. On-campus stores are faced with new business challenges, and they have to be profitable in a time of change.
Unlike what the doomsayers predicted five years ago, books are still being sold in campus bookstores. But online competitors and used book providers continue to eat away at that business. Incoming freshman graduated from high schools where there were textbooks, and professors are still writing and using textbooks, so until those two trends change, there will be books in campus stores.
So the savvy campus stores are looking at other products and services that will eventually eclipse book sales. Leading categories today appear to be technology & communication (equipment and their repair), fashion & apparel, campus services (printing, product rentals, grocery, HBA, etc.) and entertainment (food service, movies and more).
Layout & Aesthetics:
Whether it is a gift shop, a concession stand, a book store, a copy center or a hotel, all these on-campus environments are being compared to their off-campus competitors. Very few students or staff are confined to campus for discretionary shopping.
While convenient, most outdated retail experiences on campus are seeing reduced sales.
Key retail design elements include lighting, store layout and merchandising, wayfinding and signage, and intuitive, easy check-out experiences. Store displays have to be clear and fresh.
Perhaps more difficult to change than product mix or store layout is the store culture and service attitude provided by staff. An institution that has previously considered all customer interface as administrative is now looking at how to change employee mind-sets. The new overall need for staff to be more flexible is paramount; to be open to work different hours, to work different jobs and to continue to be open to change. HR attitudes has further challenged some on-campus stores profitability.
The more on-campus stores can employ students and work to develop structures that hire and train students, the more successful their retailing will be.
This type of service situation (not just found in campus retail but in all retailers) motivated r.o.i. Design to start a consulting arm of their business where they work with teams to support these kinds of changes. See Accelerate ROI.
Marketing and Promotion:
Successful stores have independent marketing agendas and strategies, separate from the institution and marketing to the institution. Sometimes this means changes in staffing so there are resources internally available to support this effort.
Students need reminders of retail locations and what is being sold at those locations, continually. Social media and crowd-sourcing for marketing is undeniably the best tool to use on college campuses.
Campus View has been growing alongside Grand Valley State University for the last 50 years with a large inventory of apartments and town homes, and thousands of happy tenants. But as Grand Valley grows so do options for leasing and Campus View wanted to make their initial experience with potential new tenants reflect who they were more completely.
r.o.i. Design was engaged to redesign the “customer experience” in their lobby and entry. Campus View has made continual investment in amenities but those investments aren’t always visible to customers on their first visit, so the lobby had to become a welcome center and a “billboard”.
Removing the wall and counter that separated leasing staff from the inquiring customers was crucial. Opening up the space meant finding a way to lock down the office after hours, so r.o.i. Design created large sliding doors, that when closed, created a warm backdrop for the lobby.
The use of maple plywood to create office dividers, sliding doors, sales desk and the decorative panels in the hallway eliminated the coldness of the painted concrete block without having to drywall the entire space. The smaller block wall in the lobby was custom painted giving the block an intentional “artsy” look.
Campus View was so happy with the outcome that they sent us a personal thank-you that read, “We’re overjoyed with our updated facility and impressed with every aspect of working with your team. Thanks and we’d be thrilled to be a reference anytime. Cheers!”
For more about Campus View Apartments and Townhouses, click here.
The Grand Valley University Foundation (GVUF) is the umbrella organization and recognition society for all who give to the University through annual giving, capital campaigns, special giving or planned giving. And while the steady growth of the University is apparent, the Shaping Our Future Campaign was a landmark.
At the annual Enrichment Dinner in 2011, the foundation announced that not only did it meet the stretch goal of $75 million for the Shaping Our Future campaign, it exceeded it. Thanks to more than 17,000 donors, the foundation raised $96.4 million.*
The challenge of creating a “donor wall” with 17,000 names to acknowledge all the givers developed into an opportunity. The goal was to acknowledge the donors but also inspire students and alumni in the story of philanthropy of Grand Valley State University.
The GVUF committee wanted to create an interactive display using touch screen technology and video to invite technologically-inclined students to engage with the exhibit. r.o.i Design, who also designed the L. William Seidman exhibit at the L. William Seidman School of Business, was asked to design and manage the execution of the donor exhibit.
The foundation developed all lists, all copy and compiled photos, giving r.o.i. Design the assignment to design and develop the graphics, the exhibit and hire the team who could complete the work. Along the way, it was determined that in addition to the Shaping Our Future donors, all donors in recent history should also have a way to be acknowledged in the touch screen experience.
The exhibit was installed at the Student Services Center in Allendale in July 2016. We acknowledge the efforts and contributions of CK Productions for compiling the video, Underbite Games for the touch screen app, Superior Wood Products for the exhibit casework and Custer Tech for the AV equipment.
For more about the GVUF click here.
* The results of the Shaping Our Future campaign, Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons and the L. William Seidman Center, were both dedicated with much celebration by the Grand Valley community and the foundation in the Fall of 2013.
Today, wall art and décor in interior design is significant; it has the interest of the guest and is taking a larger portion of the remodeling and new construction budget.
Corridor Photo from HotelArts. CA
This trend in part is based on the emerging custom wall paper and specialty graphics category that is merging wall finishes with wall art. Technology has made custom printing and custom manufacturing fueling creativity in hospitality interior design.
Wall art is seen in public areas but also in corridors, sleeping areas, and vanity areas. It can be also seen on advertising, marketing and TV’s within the guest suites.
What is considered viable wall art now?
Guests accept items hung on the wall or covering the wall to be viable “décor” when
- The subject matter reflects the local area in content or creator
- It is graphic design reflecting either property brand or current trends
- The “art” is recognizable as current style in trend based on their own experience of media and current events
- The technology or method of producing is current and of interest (i.e. custom wall paper or oversized graphics)
How does an owner create a wall art program?
- Most interior design firms now provide art selection and art design services.
- Local graphic designers and art galleries are prepared to offer custom programs.
Image from The Guardian Pe. CA
What is the ROI of a wall art program?
A wall art program can promote and connect with regional organizations in either content or reference. This connection exposes the property to a non-user audience, promoting future business.
A wall art program can be copyrighted and be considered an asset of the property, being used in marketing, advertising and social media. Reprints can become “products for sale” through the property’s channels.
When a hospitality property can further describe their brand through visuals, that can also be considered “art”, it creates emotional and lasting impressions with their customers.
Wall art in hospitality is one of many ways properties are trying to be personal, expressing their values and interests. Art makes personal connections, a valuable asset in building customer loyalty.
Updating an interior by changing wall art and décor is far less disruptive than changing an architectural finish. It allows owners to “update” without upsetting room rentals.