Formerly located at Hickory Corners on the grounds of the Gilmore Car Museum, the Museum had been looking for a new location that was much more accessible and fitting in aesthetic to display their miniatures collections. After an extensive search, they were finally able to acquire the historic Nathaniel and Esther Robbins House in downtown Grand Haven.
r.o.i. Design was referred to the museum by independent museum consultant, Timothy J. Chester, and we were engaged in 2019 by the Museum’s director, Ina Whitney, to assist in the design of the first-floor exhibit. We visited the Hickory Corner location along with Ina and the Museum’s administrator, Hanna Steinman. We selected the items to be displayed and began the process of designing the exhibit.
We designed new display cases and fixtures for the exhibits in a style imitating the interior trim of the home. In addition to supporting the curation of the exhibit, we also managed the execution. We engaged Bluewater Studio to create the exhibit fixtures, and their attention to detail and care for the artifacts made the project a success. We also added new gallery lighting to the historic home and worked with contractors on interior upgrades as needed.
The initial display shows some of the best of their collection from miniature rooms, complete miniature structures, a silver collection, miniature art, textiles, as well as displays of miniature toys, tableware, and so much more.
The museum is now planning for future phases and is engaged in fundraising to add an elevator and create more exhibits on the home’s 2nd and 3rd floors.
NeoCon was held this year at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago on October 4th – 6th. Normally the event is held during the second week of June but was postponed because of the pandemic. The 2020 NeoCon event was canceled altogether, but a virtual event was held online. This year, attendees needed to show proof of vaccination (or a negative COVID test), and masks needed to be worn in all indoor areas.
Attendance numbers were low and many of the showrooms were either closed or open only by reservation. This was due both to the pandemic and “off-season” of this year’s event. Hopefully, by next June, the show will return to normal.
While there were fewer attendees at the Mart, there was still plenty to see of the newest products from the commercial design industry. It’s always exciting to see the newest designs, innovations, and trends on display.
Some of the Trends We Saw
The future of the office wants to be “happy”, flexible and accommodating; there was a definite reference to the ’60s and ’70s in colors and textures and a sense of the eclectic was a welcome surprise.
Much warmer colors and lots of soft colors. Pinks, corals, teals, yellows, and blues.
Sherwin Williams introduced their color of the year projecting we were going to love Evergreen Fog.
Benjamin Moore also introduces their Color of the Year 2022, October Mist.
Textures and Finishes
Lighter woods, including the casual use of OSB and plywood.
Felt was everywhere!
Lots of interesting wall dividers, screens, and room dividers using all kinds of materials.
Fabric folks were exploring retro patterns with lots of colors.
Many mobile products were there as they try to accommodate changing work styles; carts, desks, even rooms.
Many exhibitors have introduced small rooms that you can purchase, like a piece of furniture, to create spaces for employees to take private calls or have ZOOM meetings without bothering co-workers.
To deal with the spread of sound in an open office environment, there were acoustical wall panels and dividers, acoustical pendant lights, acoustical décor, and more.
Carpet manufacturers have gone all out to be “clean” and “green” with recycled products. They are also exploring patterns and colors giving us the hope of more than 10 shades of gray.
The return of woven rattan (vinyl) in commercial seating is making a comeback.
Technology and lighting impacted many designs. You can buy your conference table with built-in table lamps and ports for your phone and computer.
The Merchandise Mart had taken the time during the pandemic to update corridor finishes with new carpet, lighting, and wall accents. Most floors had their own particular look but in general, the lighting was greatly improved. This may have been in part because of the new exhibit space, Fulton Market, that is now competing for exhibitors and visitors. Herman Miller/Knoll has relocated their showroom to Fulton Market, a trendy location with an energetic urban vibe.
The world of design is alive at NeoCon and we were grateful to be a part of it.
Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge photos from our visit.
At this moment, r.o.i. Design has many projects that are in process. Here are two we would like to share with our fans. These are good examples of our diverse talents and experience.
Darley Village is an active senior complex with new apartments being built in Muskegon, Michigan. Our main contact, Denis Johnson of JNA Group, has been a longtime associate of r.o.i. Design. We have collaborated on both hospitality and public space designs. Denis is a partner in, and the project lead for, this development.
This project pushes the finishes beyond the competitive offering and hints at a level of sophistication and “fun”, making it attractive to the discerning tenant.
Midwest Miniatures Museum
Midwest Miniatures Museum has made a bold move to purchase the historical Robbins House in Grand Haven, moving from their previous location in Hickory Corners, Michigan. r.o.i. Design has been engaged in the exhibit and related environmental design.
The project is a perfect fit between content and venue, and we are so excited to be on this team. Thank you to our friend and museum consultant, Timothy Chester, who referred us to the Midwest Miniatures Museum.
The Robbins House was built in 1899. Except for a brief time as a law office, the structure has been in continuous use as a private residence. This unique home is on the National Register of Historic Places and those familiar with the building are excited to see its new life as a museum. This conversion from home to the museum will take place in three phases; initially, the museum will re-open with first floor exhibits and a gift shop.
This time of year, r.o.i. Design would normally be bringing you news from our annual trip to NeoCon in Chicago. Because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, NeoCon had to be canceled. The yearly commercial design show held at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago is our chance to get out to see, touch, and experience the latest and greatest products from manufacturers of office furniture, flooring, fabrics, and wallcoverings.
Understanding that the design community would be deeply disappointed, the organizers and exhibitors of NeoCon put together a virtual exhibit this year, called “NeoConnect”. This series of online resources, programming, and events normally at NeoCon, aims to virtually connect the design community through the Fall of 2020. This allows those who would normally attend NeoCon to get information about the new product offerings, attend virtual educational seminars, and connect with others in the NeoCon community.
The developers of this site have done a good job to make looking up exhibitors and their products easy. Users can search by company, keyword, or category, or you can browse a list of exhibitors sorted alphabetically. Additionally, floor plans of the Merchandise Mart with exhibitors’ showroom locations are available to explore. Each showroom has its own link to additional company and product info.
One of the biggest design trends coming out of NeoCon this year is obviously making spaces safe. With the threat of this virus and whatever else may come, feeling safe in the workplace is a number one priority. What may have been popular before for space planning, fabrics, and finish options may now be deemed unsafe in the age of COVID-19. Open offices or benching configurations are now impractical without allowing for six feet of distance between people. Screens and plexiglass barriers will now figure prominently in space planning. Upholstery, wallcoverings, and worksurfaces now need to be able to be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
Other industry trends identified at NeoCon this year include designing with a system mindset, creating spaces of inclusivity and gender-neutral design, investments in sustainable products, and preparation and risk assessment.
We are all hoping the world is in a better place a year from now, and we look forward to attending NeoCon in person again in 2021.
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!
NeoCon, the world’s leading expo of commercial design, took
place last month, June 10 – 12, in Chicago. Three designers from r.o.i Design
attended this year, Mary Witte, Ryan Bright, and Megan Hoekzema. We travelled
down to the Windy City for a day to see what’s new in office design and take in
the overall trends.
After walking around NeoCon, it became apparent the colors that were changing in furniture and design. White and gray are old news!
Now there are shades of pink, emerald green, deep blue, and
a sea of taupes and tans. The shift in
the color trends are being used to promote a home-like feeling and give people
an environment that can foster creativity and comfort.
Notable was the Behr showroom, where they unveiled their
2020 Color Trends palette. According to Interiors+Sources,
Behr was showing a “balanced mix of grounding shades, energizing bright
color, deep accent hues and atmospheric pastels.”
Other trends we saw at NeoCon and referenced by Interior+Sources:
A palette called Worldhood, which is ideal for the hospitality industry, offering depth and brightness and deepen the warmth of the space. These colors are inspired by the natural rugged landscapes and rustic tones seen by exotic travels.
Another category is Restore which exemplifies serenity. These colors aim to provide restorative qualities and balance. Blues and greens create a soothing sanctuary and celebrate the outdoor environment.
The last category of colors is Atmospheric. These colors are subtle pastels and neutrals and are ideal for modern and traditional environments.
It’s definitely time to play with a different range of
colors. We are already seeing the shift in our projects.