r.o.i. Design is busy with nearly 30 projects this December, and three to four projects will be completed soon.
Adding a fourth location in West Michigan, Funky Buddha is planning to open a storefront studio at “Studio Park” in downtown Grand Rapids this winter. Known for their “hot yoga”, this place is “steaming” cool. The team at “FB” engaged architect Jon Blair of r2Design and r.o.i. Design for interior finishes and details. They have refreshed their branding, as is evident by their clean new website. This latest location supports the brand in its simple but bold approach. Our contractor friends at First Companies, Inc. are making it all happen.
A family business that produces and distributes car and truck mirrors and related products decided to upgrade its office with new finishes and in-office branding. Their products are creative and solution-driven, so why not make the office match that creativity? That means an expanded lunchroom with all new cabinets and furnishings, punches of the company’s “blaze-orange” accents, painting out the old mahogany trim, and all-new office furniture. It is quite a transformation! Thank you to Erhardt Construction for making us all look good.
West Michigan Pediatric Dentistry
This growing practice in Holland, MI is in the final phase of building their new office. West Michigan Pediatric Dentistry engaged the help of Dixon Architecture, r.o.i. Design, and T2 Construction to make it all happen. The new office includes expanded square footage in most areas from their current offices. Waiting, exam, treatment, and kids’ areas all grew. The much-loved model train and fish tank are being updated and replaced with newer models. In addition to the calm but kid-friendly interior finishes and details, r.o.i. Design was asked to design their new logo. And of course, we incorporated the train into the new brand. Stay tuned to see more of how this project turns out!
Grand Valley State University:
Using all of our skills in exhibit design, graphic design, and interior design, we created a soon-to-be-installed exhibit that will be unveiled at GVSU’s downtown Pew Campus this winter. It is always great to work with GVSU!
Not all of our projects are located in West Michigan! We recently wrapped up a project in Mishawaka, Indiana, providing clubhouse and office furnishings for a multi-family apartment community. The complex, The Arbors at Ironwood, is one of several communities managed by Eagle Point Properties. Eagle Point, based in Maine, and r.o.i. Design have worked together on several projects previously, some as far away as Virginia! They contracted with Wolverine Building Group to handle the renovations and r.o.i. Design to provide the furniture and wall décor that would make the Clubhouse and Leasing offices an inviting place for the residents to gather.
As residents enter the Clubhouse, they are greeted with a sitting area outside the leasing offices where they can wait comfortably. The main room boasts a sofa and comfy lounge chairs in front of a cozy fireplace, as well as dining tables and chairs to seat 16. The full kitchen has a counter with additional seating. The Ironwood community houses three computer lab stations for residents’ use! The leasing and management offices also received a facelift with new desks, filing, and seating.
The final touch was the addition of new wall decor. The images that were selected were chosen to further highlight the features of the area. This is something we have done at their other locations, and it has been enthusiastically received! It’s a small touch that helps personalize the space and reflects the community it serves.
As technology becomes more and more advanced, we are noticing a change in how the design world handles physical samples and reference materials. Gone are the days of having multiple furniture, carpet, and lighting binders. The need to have space for all of these things to live is becoming less and less physical and more and more digital.
Over the last year, we decided to take a hard look at our materials library and start to cull and organize each area to get rid of outdated binders, materials, etc. The goal was to create a more collaborative space for designing. As a result, we have been able to downsize our physical material library by about 50%. We now have the most current samples, updated binders, and the newest products available in order to design the best spaces we can.
With less shelving, the now open space allowed us to add some lounge seating and a dedicated work area. This not only benefits r.o.i. Design, but also makes for a more hospitable place for our clients to visit and review selections and materials for their projects.
Returning customer United Commercial Services (UCS) came to r.o.i. Design with an interesting challenge. They purchased a building in the Creston Heights Neighborhood of Grand Rapids that originally was a mortuary but most recently a medical clinic. They wanted to remodel it to create a new home for their cleaning and maintenance business.
Greg Metz from Lott3Metz provided the architecture and together we planned the space that included a central kitchen lounge, open and closed offices, much-needed conference and collaboration spaces, warehouse, and shop, as well as an entire lower level dedicated to the process of hiring and training new team members. Pinnacle Construction managed the construction and found solutions to the surprises that a 60-year-old building provides.
The exterior got a bit of a facelift, keeping the existing brick but adding new canopies, windows, doors, and trim, giving the building a new bright look.
Not only is their space now larger, giving the team more amenities to make their work efficient, but there are also design features that make working there more fun. Recycled wood panels clad the walls in the lobby, kitchen, and lounge. The kitchen island has big pendant lights and is large enough for the whole team to stand around. There are barn doors to the “war room”, which has an entire wall of whiteboard wallcovering to use for planning projects. The lower level has a kitchenette with bar top tables. Carpet patterns offer interesting pops of color. The lounge furniture from West Elm adds a residential flare.
The location of the new office is near r.o.i. Design’s office. There is a neighborhood myth that UCS’s building was haunted. Since they’ve moved in, they have had more than one reason to believe that they have a part-time guest sharing their space, just in time for Halloween!
United Commercial Services is a Grand Rapids-based cleaning and janitorial service contractor that has been a part of the West Michigan community for over two decades. They clean over 12.5 million square feet each night and manage over 240 employees.
So many things support a healthy culture at work. It is about the variety of types of spaces offered to employees, the acceptance of broad diversity in staff perspectives and skills, as well as management’s desire to build a community that makes an office culture-rich and productive. One component in making all that work is the lighting.
Office lighting levels and colors determine how we see and feel the office environment.
While lighting engineers are striving for an overall “well lit, bright” and “evenly lit” environment, it may be that creating different lighting levels within the corporate office provides some relief or at least some options for the office worker. There is a lighting design theory prevalent now that says when light levels change within an environment, workers note the change and it reduces comfort. We at r.o.i. Design wonder if changes in office light levels create an opportunity for more comfort, not less.
We are conditioned by light in nature. Our relationship with the sun makes us aware of how the light feels different in the spring than in the fall. We walk through the woods and experience direct and bright light in clearings, indirect and dappled light in the forest, and the reflective light while by water.
So how do you bring natural lighting design to your office?
Consider indirect lighting.
Most light we experience is reflected off of other things. Today there are a variety of fixtures that push light to ceilings, and walls that redirect light into the environment. At least 50% of office light needs to use this technique.
Consider changeable lighting.
Giving office dwellers the ability to dim lighting is crucial. Projections and computer screens require less ambient light. And it has been proven that at 3 pm, most offices need a boost of light to energize the office, while earlier in the day people are more productive with less direct light.
Consider multiple sources and points of light within a space.
If an interior space requires a certain level of lumens, make sure that requirement comes from not just one source. Many successfully lit spaces use direct downlight from the highest point, pendant lighting from 8 to 9 feet off the floor, and wall lighting that is 7 feet off the floor. This technique also allows decorative lighting to provide a function, and not just to be pretty.
Consider direct lighting to focus attention.
Much like lighting a billboard, signage, corporate messaging and images, create a “hot spot” of focused light to emphasize what’s important.
While this all sounds expensive, lighting needs can be accomplished on a budget. We are seeing an increased practice of knowledgeable lighting designers working in collaboration with us to create these superiorly lit environments at an affordable price point. Together, lighting design and interior design create spaces that work.
Corporations are looking for ways to make employees more comfortable and productive while in the office. So what creates that happiness and what is the role of design to aid in creating happiness at work?
r.o.i. Design has seen their customers provide a variety of
spaces and amenities to their offices to assist with making a
multi-generational workforce glad to be at the office.
While break rooms are important, so are the other pit stops
and opportunities for refreshment:
A small counter with a beverage fridge and a Keurig reminds folks to keep hydrated.
Some lounge furniture by a window with a view. Doesn’t have to be an enclosed office, just a spot for a moment of contemplation and enjoyment.
If your office is filled with cubicles, converting a small office to a shared space so a couple of folks can work privately can be very productive.
On the stressful days, the old fashioned “tea cart” being pushed around with snacks at least makes them smile.
And then there is the opportunity to communicate to staff
Monitors that run changing images and texts are great for keeping staff “in the know”.
Imagine if, after the boring quarterly meeting, a monitor in the office had funny photos from the meeting with some bullet points to repeat the key points of the meeting, but also to remind folks that they appreciate them coming to the meeting!
Recognize staff for a job well done or celebrate with those crazy birthday announcements
Or just maybe having the company Facebook page up on the screen.
One office we visited had staff DISC profiles looped on a video.
And if your office doesn’t have a ton of space to create
“other spaces”, or a budget for art or technology, consider adding plants and
greenery to soften the interior.
No matter how a company expresses their care for their
employees, any effort to recognize staff efforts and dedication is appreciated.