Would You Take Out Your Own Appendix?

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I was having a conversation the other day with my sister-in-law; a physician working in a rural community where their clinic is over capacity.  She is on the committee that is looking to renovate the facility and has been given the responsibility of compiling ideas for the new design.

My first reaction was (and I’m thinking this in my head):

“This is crazy!!  Why is a doctor trying to redesign a clinic??  I wouldn’t take out my own appendix!”

My more diplomatic response was “have you considered bringing in professional designers to look at your space?”

The conversation made me think about the ‘Do It Yourself’ society we live in.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like to DIY with the best of them (I’m a Mennonite girl, so if I can get it done without outside help, I can save some money…), but I’ve slowly come to realize the value in utilizing the expertise of others.  The reason why we have experts is because the problems we need to resolve are more complex than we realize.  And often the result of doing it wrong results in wasting our time, money and feeling frustrated when the outcome wasn’t what we’d hoped for.

The built environment, for example, is extremely complex.  There are physical, social, emotional and mental elements to consider. Not everything is tangible, but in the end the intangible has a massive effect.  How will people use the space?  How do you want them to move through it?  How do you delineate public and private areas? How do you accommodate for individuals with physical limitations? How do you want to direct behavior? How do you want people to feel? How do you design spaces that contribute to wellness?  Believe it or not, these are some of the questions that professional designers ask when starting a new project.  And if we’re not, then we should be.

Food for thought.

Tracy

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“A great building must begin with the immeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed, and in the end must be unmeasured.”

– Louis Kahn

‘Resimmercial’ Design

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This past June I attended my first NeoCon, a commercial interior design trade show that takes place each year at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Illinois. It was an experience filled with inspiration, new ideas, and hours and hours of walking!!  As I wandered through the 4.2 million square feet of showrooms, I discovered that there was an interesting theme taking place.  It was this concept of combining residential + commercial design elements within the workplace.

Referred to as  ‘Resimmercial’, this idea incorporates the familiar, comfortable elements of home into the office, addressing our growing need for comfort and well-being in the workplace.

Here are the key features of ‘Resimmercial design’:

 

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1 – Warm & soft materials & finishes. Wood, wood and more wood! From workstations &  desks to boardroom tables and accent furniture wood was being used everywhere to warm up the office interior. Other warm & inviting materials commonly used were felt, cork, and even velvet!

 

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2 – Casual, collaborative spaces. The idea of taking the home office out of your home and bringing you back into commercial space. Done with casual, relaxed seating areas and interactive collaborative spaces. Many of the vendors also showcased the concept of providing space for amenities within the office. I saw many coffee lounges, and social spaces that resemble your living room.

 

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3 – Residentially inspired furniture pieces. Say goodbye to square edges and harsh corners, the ‘Resimmercial’ office has lots of tables with curved edges, and meeting room furniture that looks like it belongs in your dining room. Tired of the typical metal filing cabinets and metal shelving, why not introduce office storage that looks like it belongs in your living room?

 

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So if you looking to warm up your office interior this winter consider introducing some of these ‘Resimmercial’ design elements into your workspace. Let’s make your office feel more like home.

Janine

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Get Me Out of the Office!

Sometimes you just need to grab your laptop, a cozy sweater and a bottle of wine, and get the heck out of dodge!

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That’s just what we’ve done. My lovely ladies and I spent a few days last week at a cottage out on Lake Winnipeg, taking time away from the office to…well honestly…get some work done! Some things just don’t seem to accomplished when you’re sitting at your desk downtown where the ‘dings’ of your email and phone are never ending. So we decided to pack our bags and get out into nature for a few days.

 

Road Trip!

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We so often talk about how we can improve our clients’ spaces by integrating more daylight, by bringing that natural environment into their living or working spaces, and by really just connecting them to nature. Honestly, these past few days have been a testament to these intentions. The moment we arrived at our cozy little cottage, and stepped out onto the dock, we were greeted with the most beautiful view of the lake and forest. We took a deep breath of fresh, crisp, November air and all of a sudden, we were one with nature.

So why do we as humans want…no, CRAVE this connection to the outdoors? Well, essentially we’re biologically pre-programmed to seek connections with the outdoors and other forms of life. It’s intuitive. It’s how we started out on this planet and it’s how we were meant to live. Here are a few benefits from connecting with nature…

  1. people are healthier, happier and perhaps even smarter and more creative
  2. children with ADD, asthma, obesity and stress feel positive effects
  3. adults in workplaces connected to nature are more productive, healthy and creative
  4. patients in hospitals that have a view to the outdoors have faster healing times

These few days away, sitting on the edge of the water, surrounded by the beauty of nature, has sure made us a lot more relaxed, focused, creative and seriously productive!

Other than work, we had loads of fun just getting away from our daily grind. Took walks in the woods (I totally thought Tracy was taking us out there to … maybe… streamline the company…). Tried to make a fire…with wet logs…and an old issue of Cottage Life from 2004. It did not go well. Don’t ask Carrie. Or ask where the bottle of paint thinner ended up.

Here are some of the highlights of the 1st Annual S3 Retreat!

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Get outdoors people, it’s good for the soul!

Until the next S3 Retreat!

Elaina

Elaina S3

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