Over the past few weeks, our team has been learning how to make our spaces safe for the return to work, visits to doctors, and trips to our favorite retailers. We acknowledge solutions presented by suppliers and manufacturers that impact our work in interior design; their products influence our spaces from the air we breathe to the chairs we sit on. Read on to see some of what we’ve learned regarding COVID-19 protection measures and visit our Facebook page throughout the week to get our full take on these solutions.
A building’s filtration in its heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) can be a part of an overall mitigation approach to protect occupants from COVID-19. To reap the full benefits of an HVAC system, cleaning and disinfecting HVAC components, including ductwork, installing high-efficiency (HEPA) filters, and increasing outdoor air ventilation are critical.
WALL COVERINGS AND OTHER SURFACES
We also pulled research on the longevity of the COVID-19 virus on commonly used wall covering materials, and how to effectively eliminate the virus on these surfaces. Today’s manufacturers are integrating antimicrobial technology into interior design elements to keep them cleaner from multiplying bacteria – window shades, paint, door hardware, and faucets. Additionally, the addition of UV lights for more deeply disinfecting the office at night could help to keep walls and other surfaces cleaner.
TEMPORARY WALL PARTITIONS
In addition to pre-existing wall surfaces, temporary wall partitions find relevancy, especially in open offices, to help ease the spreading of viruses. While plexiglass, laminate, or another hard surface has been preferred, those surfaces must be frequently cleaned. Not all fabrics are a good option for the surface of partition, those that are coated or are made specifically to repel moisture would be best. And, while not as attractive, cardboard has been tested and it may be that the virus lives less on cardboard than on plexiglass.
Presented with the problem of maintaining upholstered surfaces in high-traffic and shared spaces, our fabric manufacturers have risen to the challenge and provided, and continue to seek, solutions for safe fabrics. Referencing the EPA’s recommended products for disinfecting, our fabric manufacturers quickly pulled together their resources to help educate us on which materials perform best in an environment that will not require excessive cleaning. Coated fabrics, vinyl, and Crypton meet these standards for cleanability.
Beyond innovations for public and private spaces, the design community is contributing to the solution for your personal space – personal protection equipment. We’ve seen manufacturers and design firms shift their resources and brainpower in response to COVID-19. Fabric manufacturers and independent designers are using their resources to create face masks, and many donate face coverings for each mask purchased.
No one solution protects us completely and it will be a combination of behaviors and tools that gets us through this time. We look forward to more virus testing, and then, of course, the vaccine.
We are pleased to have updated our systems in January 2020 with updates in hardware and software. While we couldn’t have anticipated the impacts of COVID-19, we are proud that we invested in an infrastructure that allows us to be more responsive. We acknowledge our relationship with i3 Business Solutions and their continued support of our ability to do business in these changing times.
We are fully engaged with applications that allow us to meet and communicate richly with our customers online. We continue to learn about new ways to be engaged and are pleasantly surprised by their effectiveness. We are encouraged that we will be able to express/communicate interior design concepts and finishes through virtual and social distancing.
We are committed to our creative team and customers. Let us know how we can help.
We met Mike and Lisa Mervenne through an introduction by West Michigan Office Interiors. They are the owners of Burco, Inc., an amazing company that supplies automotive mirrors for new and after-market. This multi-generation business is an entrepreneurial inspiration. It’s reflective of the business creativity in West Michigan, but more specifically of their corporation.
Our year-long relationship of designing and budgeting resulted in a great remodel thanks to Erhardt Construction and Joe Kuhn. The project was completed early this year.
The remodel included more open office areas, an expanded break room, more efficient office layouts, and branded décor. Building on their amazing brand, r.o.i. Design developed an interior design scheme that reflects their brand colors, culture, and needs.
In addition to interior design, we were able to provide graphic design for custom branded décor, as well as providing new furnishings for their break room.
These are challenging times, but we know our ability to provide budget-brand-beauty interiors will set us apart. We have many projects in-house that require our attention and look forward to their continuation.
We have several projects through our partner, First Companies Inc. Those projects include dermatology offices, dental offices, and industrial/manufacturing offices in West Michigan. Including, but not limited to: Portland Dentistry by Design, Total Fire Protection, Wilkast, Cedar Springs Dentistry, The Derm Institute of West Michigan, and Wolverine Dermatology.
We are working with the City of Kentwood on a few projects based on previous work with the city. Ten years ago we designed their library.
Our work with new customer FCC Construction and their customer, American Immersion Theater, gave us the opportunity to show our theatrical “chops”.
Mars Hill Bible Church asked us to assist them in the redesign of offices and children’s ministry areas, as they have sold half of their facility to Grandville Public Schools. It was just two years ago that we redesigned all of their kids’ ministry areas.
Most recently, we have engaged with the Kent County Office of the Defenders in their exploration of new offices in downtown Grand Rapids. This is in response to a request from the State of Michigan to expand its services. We are engaged with local contractors and furniture suppliers as we build budgets and feasibility for their expansion.
We have added new customers in the senior-living/multi-family category. We are pleased to be working with Darley Village in Spring Lake and continued work with Eagle Point Properties who has engaged us with their project in Virginia.
We have a variety of office projects that we are managing that serve the business community in finance and accounting.
We met Grand River Bank through Dixon Architecture and have been working with them for several months. This project reconnected us to BDR Construction, who hopes to deliver the space at 50 Crahan in Ada, Michigan in August 2020.
We were referred to Pennell CPA through our work with Stenger and Stenger, and we are providing oversite, design, and architecture. Pinnacle Construction is providing construction management.
We were referred to Evolution Wealth by BluHouse Properties. We are providing design and architectural services for their new location on Cascade in Grand Rapids.
In addition to our commercial work, we continue to engage with our clients to support their residential needs. We welcome all requests and interest in our ability to support residential planning. Currently, we have residential projects that range from existing home remodels to future residential construction.
r.o.i. Design celebrates its 25th year in business, and its 20th year at our location at 1451 Front Ave. NW in Grand Rapids. We are thrilled to introduce two new staff members, as well as a plan to upgrade our office.
Rachel Barszcz, Studio Assistant
Rachel was one of over 96 applicants and won us over with her experience in hospitality and administration, her outgoing spirit, and her curiosity for how design changes people’s lives. She will be providing organizational support in all areas. She may be answering the phone, so when you call in, say “Hi”.
Marianne Martz, Design Lead
Marianne was one of over 50 applicants, and we love how her experience in interior design, furnishings, and customer service will not only help her provide leadership on projects but also bring us the opportunity to develop new relationships. Her attention to detail as well as her experience with suppliers is a welcome addition to our team.
We are also pleased that Julie Kleinjans has decided to add to her role and is now our finance and marketing professional.
Existing and outstanding members of the team also include Ryan Bright (Creative Executive and Senior Designer), Ronda Geyer (Product and Procurement Manager), and Megan Hoekzema (Associate Interior Designer), Mary Witte (Design Lead and President). All are stellar members and contribute to helping provide the best possible design services for our customers.
In addition to new staff, we are revamping our offices to reflect current trends and technology. With help from some of our trusted vendors, our space hopes to be complete by Spring!
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.