If you read any reports on Millennials in the workplace, you’ll probably see the phrase “entitled.” But, people often forget that Millennials were raised in a different time than Gen X or Y and went to school under a different style of learning than most of us.
Back in the early 2000s, a style of learning and teaching in primary schools was introduced called the Individual Education Program or IEP. This program was introduced to combat the issues that children with learning disabilities experienced in the standard classroom. The most basic definition of an IEP is a customized learning plan. It was the first type of pedagogy that worked to tailor the learning experience to the student’s individual learning style. (more…)
I recently attended a WELL Building seminar and was reminded of the importance of this mantra in workplace design: “Sitting is the new smoking.” It’s not exactly a new idea; you probably first heard it with the Steelcase introduction of the treadmill desk in 2008. The term actually originated from Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and the inventor of the treadmill desk. Although the treadmill desk may seem like a novel concept, the science behind it was quite ahead of its time.
As designers, competition is a priority. You can say it’s our way of showing off and sharing our creativity with the rest of the world. It is absolutely fascinating seeing what the restrictions, challenges and guidelines of each competition lead us to create.
Once we get together, nothing can stop us from coming up with a unique idea that breaks “the rule.” I recently entered two design competition with several of my colleagues at Lawrence Group including; Dean Sutton, Jerod Thornton, Terry McCoy, Theresa Sahrmann, and Kevin Le.
The first competition was the 2015 eVolo Furniture Design Competition. Designers were given multiple categories to choose from. In each category teams were tasked to build a furniture piece that would transform the way we live and interact with our environment. As a team we chose “planes” as our category and used it to create “Pop-Up Adventure.” Pop-Up Adventure is a versatile space that transforms into a living room, dining room, or bedroom by simply folding out the furniture from the surrounding corresponding walls, floor and ceiling…similar to a children’s pop-Up book. Furniture is made of thin planes of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber has been selected for its high strength to- weight ratio.
Northwestern Mutual recently engaged Lawrence Group to design their new St. Louis offices. This was not only a change in venue from downtown St. Louis to Creve Coeur but also a shift in their Workplace Strategy. Northwestern’s business model is unique in that each financial representative operates as their own business unit. Their former space was nearly 100% offices and made for a compartmentalized, isolating layout. Managing Partner Gerard Hempstead first described their business structure as: “a friendly competition, but competitive nonetheless.”
NeoCon is the commercial interiors industry’s most important annual event. It brings together the right people, the best products and the most innovative ideas. Attending NeoCon again with my Lawrence Group coworkers was so rewarding and just the inspiration boost we all need every once in a while. I had attended once before with coworkers from a previous employer, but since I’m still pretty new here attending with other designers at Lawrence Group was a great way to start off my work here.
Oftentimes in architecture we are challenged by a project or client to do something truly special to make a place an amazing destination. As designers, we also relish opportunities where we have the freedom to design with custom details and high end products and finishes – producing a destination focused around the architectural elements in a space.
However, an all-architecture solution is not always the best design prescription, and something else needs to happen to better capture the essence of the client, project or site. We must humbly take a step back and realize that we are not the star of the show. We are the directors of the show delivering a fantastic performance from a cohesive cast.