An interior design’s success is dependent on how it is lit. Identical finishes lit in two ways will appear totally different. r.o.i. Design has been asked to create initial lighting plans more frequently in the last two years than ever before. There is a growing understanding that the selection of finishes works hand in hand with the lighting.
Our design criteria for lighting is emerging as we increase our understanding of LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and the opportunities to customize decorative fixtures and interior architecture using LED.
Our success in lighting design has been based on some
Different types of spaces need different lighting effects and light levels
For people to feel comfortable in an office space, lighting should reflect nature in that 1/3 of the light is direct, 1/3 of the light is indirect and 1/3 of the light is reflective. Taking natural light (or the lack of) into account is critical.
In a retail space, it is important to direct the eye by creating a greater variety of light levels from walkways to displays and to checkouts. Retail lighting is more theatrical and uses hot-spots to direct customer attention to merchandise and wayfinding.
In a restaurant and hospitality setting, customer transaction areas need to be well lit but customers are comfortable with a more dim environment. It is common for wall art, displays, and perimeters to have brighter accents.
For a professional medical space, waiting and nonmedical spaces need to have different levels of light and different options of light levels for patients to choose what makes them comfortable, while the surgical and medical spaces tend to be more consistently “bright”.
Using decorative and custom light fixtures to enhance brand
or design scheme is well accepted
Decorative fixtures add to the décor, but also add interest and in many cases “ease” the user.
Lights need to be experienced at a variety of levels and locations within a space. Occupants aren’t comfortable with a light source that is close to their reach if it’s just a square box of emitting light. We like the light closest to us to be friendlier and have character.
LED lighting is very flexible, and almost anything can become a light fixture; an object that holds a light, expands the light or just carries the light. This could be a reception desk, a cove, a pane of glass, the reveal of a wall, a planter, or a decorative object.
Exploring the opportunities in color temperature and light levels
Behavior is impacted by light, and in the case of LED lighting the color temperature and intensity of light has specific effects on people.
Giving users options to use all or none of the lighting in an office space has been proving to create employee satisfaction.
For r.o.i. Design, furniture is integral to the design. Quite often we have the opportunity to work with our customers in selecting and designing the furniture and furnishings in their space. This is important to us because it elevates the design to a very personal level, where people are touching, sitting, and experiencing the design in visceral ways.
When we have spent the effort to help a professional service client create a welcoming, branded feel in their interior, sometimes it requires a non-typical office furniture solution.
When we have worked diligently to create a restaurant, lobby, or corporate space that wants to look like a hip restaurant, the furniture may not be able to be compiled from standard options. Thus, we have provided specialty services around furnishings for our customers.
Often, we have been engaged to work with one of many of our local office furniture providers to advocate for our customer, consulting on furniture styles and finishes.
We design custom furniture and work with our customers to find the best resource to create those pieces.
Recently we have been working with fabricators experienced with integrating technology into furniture, creating medical and professional desks.
We have created many custom conference table designs, exploring finishes and details to create an ideal meeting and conference environments.
There is also the need for furnishings that look residential but need to be contract-grade. Providing contract quality guarantees for wear and maintenance.
We have also designed procurement programs for developers, working directly with manufacturers to be able to design, select, purchase, and deliver common area furnishings for multi-family facilities.
Furniture has a functional and aesthetic responsibility in
commercial interiors and planning for appropriate furnishings take intention
Doug Wildey has been thinking about expanding Game Room Guys, headquartered in Comstock Park, MI, into other cities for several years. He has been talking to r.o.i. Design about what satellite stores could look like, and how those stores need to be designed to attract their customers. While they have a showroom at their headquarters, most of their sales are generated online. They have been delivering to major metropolitan areas in the midwest, east, and south already which gave them valuable data on where physical stores could benefit their growth.
This year they found a former golf pro-shop in Livonia, near Detroit. This great location already had a lot of “retail friendly” details in place. Their space, while larger than what they required, does allow for an impressive display of merchandise in all their different categories.
Wildey engaged r.o.i. Design to help Game Room Guys create merchandise layouts, select finishes, and create signage. As the store continues to see sales, we will finish up with all the little merchandising touches that will make the retail space an attractive and interesting place to spend time and money. One of the greatest challenges was the flooring, staying within budget while still creating a retail “look”. With the help of our Shaw Flooring Contract Representative, Patrick Coulsen, we were able to deliver both.
Kudos to Game Room Guys for their methodical process, their commitment, and investment into the project. They opened their doors in the summer of 2018 and are experiencing continual sales growth and increased traffic.
As a teen, Doug Wildey plunked coin after coin into the Captain Fantastic and Eight Ball pinball machines at his favorite arcade.
Decades later, Wildey turned his love of arcade games into a growing retail business, Game Room Guys, where he sells pinball machines, pool tables, foosball games, golf simulators, dartboards, poker tables, air hockey — even jukeboxes, record turntables, vending machines, and Jack Daniels memorabilia.
What started as a business out of his garage in 2001 has grown into a 26,000-square-foot national headquarters in Comstock Park, near Grand Rapids, with customers across the nation.
And now, Wildey has entered the metro Detroit market with a new store in Livonia, southeast of Eight Mile and Newburgh roads.
Wildey described Game Room Guys as “one of the largest pinball dealers in the world.” He said the majority of customers are homeowners who want to create or add a game room atmosphere to part of their home.
But he also supplies corporate break rooms, college dormitories, bars, youth centers and, of course, arcades.
Wildey said two of his three sons are involved in the business, which has 26 employees. He said his company is the go-to place for people who need to find replacement parts for pinball machines and other products dating back to the 1940s and 1950s.
Breweries and their eateries often want their space to feel like their guests are joining them in the warehouse while they are brewing beer. But Gravel Bottom Brewery Ada, MI had to move to a brand-new storefront to allow for the downtown Ada development project to put in a street.
All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery
First Companies’ Craig Schroeder called r.o.i. Design looking for design help to make the new space feel more like a brewery warehouse.
Owner Matt Michiels really liked his existing space and was hoping to re-create the look and feel. To r.o.i. Design that meant a warm paint scheme, industrial warehouse lights, reclaimed wood and vintage looking brick. We asked them to hang used wood pallets from the ceiling to add texture and hide some acoustic treatment.
All Photos: Courtesy of Gravel Bottom Brewery
Matt added an amazing concrete bar top to his new bar, as well as some incredible beer.
Congratulations to Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and First Companies for making a place that looks like it has been in Ada for decades!
From 13 “On Your Side”, May 11, 2018 edition.
Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery in Ada is reopening after moving to a new location.
The brewery moved into a larger space as a part of the Ada Village redevelopment project. But, the company says that the new location still offers a familiar, cozy feel that it has become known for as the neighborhood brewery.
“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into making this feel similar to what the other Gravel Bottom was: welcoming and comfortable,” said owner Matt Michiels…
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.
GVSU’s original “cafeteria” was built more than 40 years ago and is still the largest food service facility on campus. It feeds a lot of people but needed to respond to the changing campus and its customers. More seating capacity at Fresh Food Co. and upgraded finishes meant planning for a 2016 summer remodel.
r.o.i. Design, who also designed the GVSU Laker Store in 2014 and its adjacent food court, was engaged by the University through Preferred Construction to create the design.
Einstein Bros. Bagels was moved out to a different location giving the Commons a fourth dining room.
The design team, which included Campus Dining, GVSU Facilities, Preferred Construction and r.o.i. Design, looked at the trends in college dining and the recent building projects on campus along with their customer’s preferences to create a design criteria that could be executed within the budget and timeline.
“GVSU has more than 25,000 students and commensurate staff, so a lot of food service customers who have a variety of preferences. In order to create options in dining, it was agreed that the four rooms would each have a unique feeling so guests could have different experiences within the same facility. We agreed to organize the room designs around four ideas, one per room: water, earth, fire and wind,” says Mary Witte, President of r.o.i. Design. “The dining rooms already had some features that lent themselves to these notions, so we were able to build on what was already there and create something intentional and fun.”
Each room received new flooring, new lighting, new millwork features, new paint accents and new furnishings that aligned with the “theme” of the room.
“Community Tables” were added to allow for larger groups to gather. Custom lighting enhanced the distinct look of each room.
The food line was enhanced with new equipment to allow Campus Dining the option to offer more variety in their menu.
r.o.i. Design’s initial observations of customer’s response to the remodel has been very satisfying and we are proud that our design contributions met the goals of the Fresh Food Co. at The Commons at GVSU.