It’s no secret that most people do not look forward to going to the dentist – an important thing to keep in mind when designing dental offices. A pleasant, warm and soothing environment is key when selecting interior finishes for lobbies and patient areas. “The goal is to make the patient feel comfortable and welcome”, says r.o.i. Design’s Stacey Udell.
With more and more dentists retiring and new graduates taking over practices, r.o.i. has been busy working with local docs to update and refresh their spaces. Functional work areas allowing for ease of patient flow are top on the list, along with coffee bars and cozy and low-maintenance furnishings in lobbies. Creative and fun areas where kids feel safe are also a high priority. To help reduce sounds, some offices have “clouds” of acoustical panels, lighting or architectural elements that are hung from high ceilings to alleviate unwanted noise and are also visually appealing.
r.o.i. Design collaborates with dental equipment and supply companies to give dentists a wide range of options. We also offer lobby furniture, décor and wall art to “dress up” the space, and window covering options (along with installation) with practical solutions for dealing with sunlight while allowing for patient comfort.
Whether it’s remodeling an existing practice or a new build, our methods and problem-solving skills produce outcomes that are based on budget, brand, and beauty.
r.o.i. Design knows that the customers experience of the design-build process will predict whether or not they will love their new space. It is so much more than having the perfect design or the “expert consultant” on the job.
When there is a great design-build team the outcome has a much greater chance of meeting and exceeding customer expectation of the finished product. There aren’t layers of concern and stress laid on top of the customer-team relationship, making the customer suspect and wary if they are going to get what was promised them or not.
A great design team also means efficiency which saves everyone budget dollars.
When there is trust between team members it accelerates the customer’s confidence in all recommendations where ever they come from.
When simple oversights are managed before they become a crisis or trigger change orders, customers are saved the awkward experience of finger pointing between team members.
Real time communication is ongoing and a shared responsibility between owners, designers and contractors that is supported by protocol documentation verses solely relying on “the system”.
Trust creates an attitude of flexibility in the process which allows great ideas and solutions to surface anytime in the process. When a design criteria is well understood and all parties buy in, it is only ego that keeps good ideas from being executed.
r.o.i. Design strives to be part of great design-build teams. For us that has happened when:
Jobs we share could have started with any one of the groups, whether it is the contractor’s customer, the architect’s customer or our customer, we communicate to the customer early in the process who the team is and how we would like to work with them.
Roles on a job are defined and respected, even when the customer challenges the structure, we represent the team.
Building and maintaining relationships is everyone’s priority.
This week a manufacturing customer, remodeling a floor in their facility to create an innovation center commented to r.o.i. Design, “So you guys actually get along with this construction company. Our last remodeling project was a nightmare – the designer, architect and contractor kept blaming each other. They won’t ever be back.”
No one wants a trendy design that will require a remodel before the bills are paid. No one wants a corny theme, but everyone wants a look that fits them and lasts the test of time. When branding a project, r.o.i. Design makes sure to include these steps in their process.
1. First understand the people who are going to use the space. What is their relationship to the brand? Is it their space, the place they work, their favorite retail store, their place of worship or the place to weigh-in for Weight Watchers?
2. Understand the message that the owner of the space wants to convey. We often hear words like professional, comfortable, efficient, welcoming, motivational, safe and casual. We want to provide those things and more. What attribute of the business or the owner can we share that is of interest and illustrates how this space is different from other places?
3. Be authentic. The details that extend a brand are meaningful and lasting. They can sometimes become iconic but don’t necessarily start that way. Quite often, our customer will relate these details as “fun” without being silly. They often are subtle or integrated in a way that is so natural that, “of course that detail would be there”. For CPA’s Baker | Holtz, who didn’t want to appear “shy” about their profession, we found little ways to make them smile and gave them landmarks in their space so they could give an interesting tour of their office.
4. Be addictive. When the recipe for a design works, the nuances of the “brand look” are happily continued by the users of the space. For a while, r.o.i. Design called themselves “Design Dogs”, happy to follow the customers lead. We saw ourselves so differently than the aloof cat-like designer stereotype that for a while we had dogs on the backs of our business cards. People started giving us dog sculptures and other dog-related stuff, on and on.
We worked with Spin Dance in their downtown Holland office space. We tried to understand the complex service this technology group offers to their customers and we tried to understand the name. We offered to them that perhaps they could illustrate data spinning, so quickly, so precisely and to the point, like a spinning top. It stuck. We want all spaces that are important to you to be significant and tell your story. You shouldn’t have to borrow a cup of sugar from “marketing” to make it that way.
The least expensive changes you can make that still gives you a “bang for the buck”: paint and lighting.
The reclaimed wood look will peak this year, but still be specified for the next five to six years.
To look your best, freshen the lobby (entry)
Exterior finishes are going darker.
Interior finishes are going lighter.
Quartz is the new granite.
The use of graphics in interiors is growing.
Favorite wood finishes are still dark but watch out, the light tones will come back soon.
Metal and stainless finishes are not going anywhere.
Today, information and inspiration is a “click” away. We can “Google ” perfect paint scheme and be given ga-zillions of options for paint perfection. You want affordable office furniture? The internet will direct you to so many sites that you start to not value any of them. ( A couple of pages we follow include: designophy.com, designmilk.com, designntrend.com )
But what is the best advice r.o.i. Design can give you?
Understand your goals for a design and make sure the changes you make in your business, school or home are going to help you meet those goals.
Asking the right questions and helping focus our customers on what’s important is equally valuable as picking the right color. So when you hire a designer, please expect more than aesthetics. You get what you pay for.