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Acoustic Solutions for the Open Office. 

Acoustic Solutions for the Open Office. 

As the open office concept gained momentum, solving the issues of acoustic privacy became a real concern, especially post-COVID. 

r.o.i. Design has attended NeoCon for the last three seasons, and the number of companies that are offering acoustical solutions has grown exponentially. Furniture companies have acoustical systems, as do wall covering manufacturers, laminate manufacturers, and even lighting manufacturers.  

When we work with our clients who have acoustic concerns, we survey the types of materials in the space. How many hard surfaces are there? Carpeting will absorb sound, while tile, LVT, and wood floors may bounce sound. Are there any textures on the walls? How tall are the ceilings? All these factors can contribute to the acoustical quality of a room. 

We suggest a layering of solutions. Wall panels applied from 30” to 72” off the floor are likely to be the most helpful. In some cases, office system panels can provide sound absorption. For rooms with taller ceilings, we suggest hanging solutions, such as baffles, planks, or ceiling clouds made from traditional acoustical tile grids.  

Manufacturers are working to make their applied surfaces more aesthetic by offering custom designs, printed graphics, sculptural textures, and more to make solutions more than just practical. 

We have used several manufacturers, and they all are excellent options. We can help you find some inspiration for any type of solution. Let us know how we can help your space be more comfortable and healthier with acoustical solutions. 

Commonwealth Engineering: A Partnership in Design 

Commonwealth Engineering: A Partnership in Design 

r.o.i. Design works for a variety of architects and contractors who need interior design at a variety of levels. Robert Pomeroy, Senior Vice President and Principal of Fishbeck Architects and Engineers, reached out in 2021 during a reorganization of their interior design department and asked us to finish up three projects for them.  

“Finishing up” meant working with the architects and project managers to assist in delivering the project as designed. This included answering questions, working with vendors, reselections of materials for budget or lead time issues, responding to submittals, managing FFE (Fixture, Furniture, and Equipment) taking meetings, and overall holding the thread and integrity of the design. And, since this was during COVID when most of us were working remotely, it was especially challenging. 

One of those projects was Commonwealth Engineering in Jackson Michigan, which was completed in late 2022. This was a remodel of a historic bank into their corporate office. In this project, we worked closely with their facility manager and senior management in selecting furniture and furniture finishes along with coordination of construction details with Fishbeck. 

The first floor of this project has many mid-century features that Fishbeck’s designers embraced and complimented with metal, leather, and wood details along with beautiful architectural finishes. The lower-level houses meeting and conference spaces, one of which is in the old bank’s vault. 

Congratulations to Fishbeck and Commonwealth Engineering on a successful remodeling project. 

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Comfortable Seating: Our Expert Advice 

Comfortable Seating: Our Expert Advice 

r.o.i. Design has been supplying clients with furnishings for more than 20 years and the need for comfort in seating is crucial, especially when you can’t test out the sit. 

Here are some helpful tips we have learned when shopping for comfortable seating. 

Upholstered Seating 

Something to look for in comfortable upholstered seating is the dimensions. The overall height plus the depth of the seat needs to total 38” to 40”. So, if the seat height is 19”, then the depth of the seat needs to be 19 to 21”. If the seat height is 20”, then the depth of the seat needs to be 18 to 20”.  

Some other items to consider are: 

  • An older person may need a taller seat height and less seat depth. Arms are essential for helping a person get themselves up out of the chair. 
  • A younger person is more likely to sit at a lower height but may need the option of a back cushion. 

In a commercial setting, it is important to use durable fabrics. Technology has come a long way and r.o.i. Design recommends using Crypton woven fabrics or vinyl-coated fabrics. We recommend no less than 30,000 double rubs (an industry standard of wearability), but we specify fabrics closer to 100,000 double rubs for our projects. 

Break Room Seating 

While most companies want their employees to be comfortable, don’t plan on break room seating to be used for more than 30 minutes at a time. 

  • Chairs with a poly shell that has some movement in the back improve comfort. 
  • An upholstered seat in a wipeable fabric is nice but take into consideration how it changes the seat height (see the note above on dimensions for upholstered seating). 
  • A chair with a metal sled base will be easier to move and more likely to keep its structure than a four-legged chair. 
  • Four-legged metal chairs are more stable when built with stringers (metal rods that go between the legs). 
  • Proper floor glides should be used based on flooring material to prevent damage to the floor. Most chairs are sold with hard vinyl or metal glides. 

We are continually informing our clients to help them make good decisions when purchasing commercial furnishings. Let us know how we can help you! 


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BDNY 2022

BDNY 2022

Scroll down to see photos from our visit. 

Boutique Design New York (BDNY) is the leading trade fair and conference for the hospitality industry’s boutique and lifestyle design community. 

This November,  r.o.i. Design attended the BDNY conference in New York looking for the latest ideas for the hospitality “touch” to share with our customers and include in our designs. 

We weren’t disappointed.  

This 24-hour excursion was a 12,000-step adventure with two red-eye flights. We met with our current furniture distributors, renewed the relationship with inactive furniture distributors, and created relationships with new furniture manufacturers. We saw the latest in wall finishes, wall décor, and decorative lighting. 

We are pleased that we already knew and are engaged with many of the manufacturers of finishes and furniture (thank you to our product representatives) and look forward to including our new learning in our designs going forward. 

Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge photos from our visit. 

Pantone Color of the Year 2023

Pantone Color of the Year 2023

When it comes to the color of the year, there are a lot of experts and a variety of opinions. In September, we reported on Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year, Redend Point SW9081. Benjamin Moore announced its choice for Color of the Year,  Raspberry Blush 2008-30 on October 12.  

Pantone, widely recognized as one of the authorities on color and color trends, recently announced its Color of the Year. For 2023, Pantone has chosen Viva Magenta 18-750, which it describes as “a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength.”

As interior designers, we recognize color trends and how they affect many industries, including fashion, industrial design, packaging, and interior design. These color trends announced by Pantone usually are seen first in the fashion industry. Each project we work on is unique, and color selections are based on many factors. We try not to let color trends dictate our design choices, but are aware of their influence on the entire industry. 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images.

© All photos courtesy of Pantone USA

Built by Women- October 19, 2022 

Built by Women- October 19, 2022 

r.o.i. Design joined over 200 other participants attending this landmark event hosted by Fishbeck and sponsored by the Professional Women in Building Council (PWB), West Michigan Women in Architecture, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Western Michigan Chapter, National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) Group, and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) West Michigan. 

99% of the audience were women from all disciplines:  construction, architecture, engineering, mechanical services, design, and product representatives. We all recognized this was a “first of its kind” gathering and the organizers promised to make this an annual event. 

The keynote speaker was Katie Johnson, Treasurer of The House She Built and she passionately told us the story of how 4 leaders organized the effort to build a home in Utah with women-only builders, designers, and craftspeople.   

They researched the nation for female contractors (through social media and referrals) and folks came from across the nation to provide expertise and training in many categories of trades. Katie told stories about how these leaders and trade consultants became “family”.  

The outcome of the project was a home that was sold at top dollar and the developer that gave them the land bought the floor plan and specifications saying it was better than the project plans they had for the development. 

All the leaders donated their time, and much of the materials and subcontractors brought in their time at no cost, because everyone saw the goal of highlighting women as leaders in construction as an overdue spotlight.  

The Grand Rapids event proceeds were donated to West Michigan Construction Institute, which presented its goals and agenda, inviting the audience to continue to support its efforts. 

In addition to the building of a home, the effort caught the attention of Mollie Elkman and Georgia Castellano, and a children’s reader book, The House that She Built, was written and produced. While Katie was in town for the event, she visited Townline School and handed out these books to all the students.  

r.o.i. Design connected with so many companies we work with, meeting the women who make it all possible within those companies and we look forward to building on those relationships.