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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

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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Design is an Art

The journey from design concept to reality can sometimes be a long and bumpy road. We often use 3D visuals to communicate our ideas to the client along the way. This is a helpful tool for designers, because rendering technology has become highly realistic. It is often a surreal feeling to step into a space that you’ve already imagined and “seen before.”

As someone who shed a single tear the first time I saw an original Frank Lloyd Wright perspective in person, I must admit I have a soft spot for hand-drawn renderings. There is something striking to me about the artistic quality of these perspectives that conveys the character of the work in a way computer generated images often lack. Maybe I don’t need all of the glossy details to get excited about design – I can feel the warmth and openness when I look onto the sketchy page. Call it Impressionism for Interior Design.

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That being said, I love using 3D programs and it has been an asset as we see our designs transform from concept to reality. Case in point – our latest completed work at the Winnipeg Airport; the Green Carrot Juice Bar.

This is the second location for Green Carrot (the original is located in Osborne Village). We were quite excited to translate their branding scheme to a new kiosk location at the airport to attract busy travelers. The challenge was while working within tight spatial constraints, to maximize the efficiency of a safe and tidy workspace. Emphasis was placed on both employee workflow and flow of customer traffic around the order and pick-up areas, while encouraging patrons to relax and enjoy their juice while recharging themselves (and their devices) in the built-in power stations. The client desired an inviting, fun and fresh space. The finishes included glossy white tile, wood beams, and vibrant accents of green.

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3D renderings were essential for this project as they allowed us to visualize the impact of the height of the columns, lighting details, and views from various points of approach in the airport. Something that would be infinitely time consuming if drawn by hand, and perhaps not as acutely accurate as our final renderings:

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Working in 3D allowed us the control to experiment with the design until we knew we had a stunning composition that would excite visitors and Winnipeggers alike!

Next time you’re heading out of town, check it out and let us know what you think! For more photos of this project, check out our Commercial Gallery.

 

Heather

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Merry Christmas + Happy New Year { 2013 }

Just here to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

2013 has been a great year here in the office:

  • Our new website was launched in November www.s3interiordesign.com
  • We all traveled to Greenbuild in Philadelphia to discover the best ways to design more sustainably
  • We’ve worked with some amazing clients and have helped them realize their dream spaces
  • We had another successful summer of Show Homes (16 homes) for the Parade of Homes
  • Elaina got engaged and will be getting married next Christmas 2014!
  • Tracy  passed her NCIDQ exam and is now officially a Professional Interior Designer!
  • Annie bought a new house! We’re still waiting on the house warming party…
  • Carrie has discovered a great love of fitness training (to complement her already outstanding cheer coaching talents)!
  • …and best of all, we are all still happy & healthy, ready to take on another great year together

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We hope you stay tuned to our blog for some great topics and chats in 2014.

All the best to you, our wonderful readers, clients, friends & family. Happy Christmas!

Tracy & the S3 girls (Elaina, Carrie & Annie)

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