We had the pleasure of speaking with Lana Wright, Principal at Wright Interior Design this month for our Jancon News feature. With over 20 years of design experience, Lana has worked with designers, landlords, contractors, and vendors across a wide spectrum of commercial work. With a working model that always included a work-from-home component, Lana’s team has a deep understanding of collaboration with a remote team and how to execute projects in our current climate.
Read on to hear an insider’s perspective on how our workspaces will need to adapt in the coming months.
Q: How has your process changed over the last year?
A: Aside from embracing the standard protocol and procedures that have become part of our industry because of the pandemic, we are advising our clients to ensure they allocate adequate time for initial programming & planning.
Asking questions, listening to our clients & understanding how they work has always been an important aspect of our design process. Now more than ever this is a critical element that should not be rushed nor underestimated as our clients themselves are re-evaluating how they work.
Design is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach and it is our responsibility to understand our clients work culture and how that will translate into their built environment. It is an exciting time in the design industry, and we will continue to adapt our processes to suit the changing environment.
Q: What types of projects are you working on right now?
Currently we are seeing an increase in tenant-specific projects as employers are moving towards a ‘soft’ return to workplaces soon with the intent to move towards a more regular occupancy later this year and into 2022. We have had amazing opportunities to work with past & new clients to rethink what this return signifies to their organizations & their workplaces.
Additionally, we have been working with forward-thinking landlords and building owners who recognize the value in upgrading base building areas & amenities to promote wellbeing initiatives. Landlords have gone to great lengths to modernize their spaces so tenants will be welcomed back to their buildings with notable improvements and reassurance that their best interests have been considered.
Q: What is your biggest challenge right now?
There have certainly been many challenges in our industry recently as the way we live, work, and interact has transformed. It has been an opportunity for us to rethink, revaluate and reconnect with each other in new ways. Our clients rely on our expertise to assist them in determining how to move forward based on the present conditions as well as considering what changes the future may bring. There is a massive amount of information flowing on all forms of media that is constantly evolving, and simply put it can be overwhelming to navigate through it all. We have been committed to reading, listening, and sorting through relevant information to be able share what we believe is valuable with our clients as it relates to their projects.
Q: How is design shaping the future of the office?
As designers, we create workplace environments considering many factors that are often not obvious to the users, but that contribute to the overall success of the space. Aside from the functional & spatial requirements, these often include elements of ergonomics, biophilia & technology to name a few. Workspaces that promote overall well-being and flexibility are at the forefront of our designs and I believe these two factors will continue to be paramount as the workplace continues to evolve.
Going forward, the psychological and physical health concerns of employees will be very important. There are people who have not set foot in an office for over a year – which is unheard of in our lifetime. A whole new level of both physical and mental health considerations will need to go into the future of design, and this focus will be at the forefront of our industry.
Most employers are giving employees the option to come back and test the office. To that end, there are a number of solutions the industry has been working towards to create successful, and safe spaces.One of these is Resimercial Furniture – workspace furniture that is more relaxed and multipurpose than traditional office furniture. This trend will continue and gather steam in the new office because people have been at home for so long that this type of design will make people feel at home in the office when they return.
These types of multifunctional pieces of furniture have evolved so that people can have a coffee in a comfortable space in the office, but also pull out their laptop and do work in that spot. Designers have become a lot more creative in how they’re implementing that furniture. There are new ways to populate a meeting room with new furniture types that give employees more choice about how they want to use a space.
A good question to ask is: what kind of work are you trying to encourage in those areas? There is a time to be more formal and a time to push the envelope with creativity. It comes back to the organization understanding its work culture and the way that they want their people to interact.
Q: What do designers look for in a commercial contractor?
At Wright Interior Design we take pride in working with industry partners like Jancon who share our values and dedication to providing excellent client service. We have built our relationship over the years based on our shared experiences, consistent results & reliable service. Likewise, we have always done our best to reciprocate on projects where we have been invited to participate & contribute our expertise.
We recognize that the success of a project is reliant on ALL the team members working together in a holistic approach to deliver the best results to our clients. It’s also a bonus when you have the pleasure of working with a team that makes the process more enjoyable!
Are you preparing for a Return to the Office?
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We’d love to hear from you. Contact John Miceli, Vice President Business Development and Project Commissioning