For insight about trends impacting the A & D marketplace, OfficeMax Workplace℠ Interiors A & D Marketing Manager Greg Hanbaum visited with Jayne M. Vandenburgh, an interior designer and vice president of Schooley Caldwell & Associates, an award-winning, full-service firm of architects, landscape architects, engineers and interior designers, based in Columbus, Ohio.
GH: What developments are you seeing in the A & D marketplace?
JV: Clients are seeking versatile office space and products to meet multiple needs. These trends are driven by rapidly changing technology and personnel mobility. For example, furniture that is easy to move or has casters is replacing heavy systems furniture and built-in casework.
Advances in technology are continually changing the way people communicate, so we’re incorporating more video-conferencing equipment and flat-screen monitors throughout the workspace to help facilitate information sharing.
GH: You do a lot of historic restoration. Is technology being incorporated into these buildings?
JV: Yes. We are currently working on two state capitol buildings and just finished a judicial center. The challenge is to incorporate technology and ergonomics while maintaining the aesthetic qualities of these historic buildings. For example, state-of-the art communications systems and technology that is needed to tally the votes of elected officials during legislative session must be functional, yet discreet.
GH: What are the challenges of incorporating modern design into historic buildings?
JV: We often find that monumental rooms have been carved up into a maze of tiny offices where historic details are hidden and natural light is cut off. The trend toward smaller workstations and low panel heights offers the opportunity to clear out the full-height partitions and suspended ceilings, to restore grand ceiling heights and detailing, and to allow natural light to fill the space. Another trick is to select flexible furnishings compatible with the historic period, such as armoires, to use as dividers.
GH: There is increasing interest in green design when building and retrofitting offices. Can a historic building “go green,” too?
JV: It certainly can! Many historic materials are also “green” products. For example, linoleum and cork were first used in the early 20th century and now they are green products that often fit perfectly into historic buildings.