5 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Commercial Interior Design Firm

The 5 Questions you Should Ask Commercial Interior Designers

Finding the right commercial interior design team can feel like hiring a new employee of your own, and it is most definitely just as important. Does their design vision align with what you and your company want? Are you both on the same page? What services do they offer?

Just like hiring an employee, you want to ensure the commercial interior design team you hire is the right fit for your business. Whether you own a quiet dentist’s office, a coffee shop franchise or a bustling restaurant downtown, designers should be working to improve your business first and foremost.

Below are five questions you should ask while interviewing commercial interior designers to determine if they’re the right fit.

 

How does the commercial interior design team/firm decide which projects are best for them?

This is the designer equivalent of asking a potential employee: “why do you think this role is right for you?”

A commercial interior designer who evaluates your business and project will share their priorities with you. This will illustrate how they handle projects, their services, communication style, personality, design strategy, and other elements. The commercial interior design process can take a few months, or even a year depending on the project, so it’s important that the experience is smooth for everyone involved.

 

Does the commercial interior design firm have experience in your industry?

Asking what a design team’s existing and past clients were will give you insight into what industries they serve. An experienced commercial interior design team can mention a number of projects off-hand, procure a list and even link you to their past projects or client testimonials.

While interviewing design firms, ensure you review each portfolio carefully. This is like the commercial interior designer’s resume. Previous experience will give you and other decision-makers a clearer sense of what they do and their results.

Don’t hesitate to view projects that are similar to your business. For example, at Janks Design Group, our past projects include businesses such as bars, restaurants, new condo developments, dentistry, homes, ice cream parlours and more!

 

What was a past mistake they made with a project? How did they handle it and what were the takeaways?

You’ve likely heard or asked this question before in an interview. Working with a commercial interior designer requires trust and the ability to problem solve on the spot. It’s important to learn what the design team has learned from previous mistakes and what their response is if something goes awry.

Commercial interior designers may have preventative measures in place to mitigate past issues. For instance, a team could have close connections to reliable contractors and tradespeople and provide immediate solutions without charge if anything doesn’t go according to plan.

 

What is their approach to Project Management?

An experienced commercial interior design team should have a systematic approach for your type of business. Breaking down each phase of the project should be communicated to you early on to avoid confusion and surprises.

Phase one should include a strategy, plan, timeframe and accurate cost analysis. Expenses should be negotiated before unexpected expenses arise for the client. Ask if the quote outlines any logistics outside of interior design. Costs like additional consultants, changes during construction, permit fees and more should be discussed prior to signing off on a commercial interior design project.

We ensure to share our process openly with our clients at Janks Design Group.

 

Are they Communicative and Responsive to you? Do they prefer client involvement?

Good communication is never underrated, especially while working with a commercial interior design company. Working with a design firm is more than selecting paint colours and materials, it’s a two-way conversation about your company’s vision, branding, culture, values and goals. It shouldn’t surprise you that these building blocks of your company influence your interior design.

Having a contact who’s accessible to your firm and who comfortably addresses problems will help you achieve your design goals. At JDG, we communicate using presentations, 3D models, detailed floorplans, specification packages, material boards and more. This allows our clients to review the design before any construction so we can make any changes if necessary. It is MUCH easier (and less expensive) to make a change early in the design phase, rather than amidst construction.

If you’re looking for a commercial interior design team for your business, then don’t forget to reach out to us and see if we’re the right design company for you!

 

Post Covid: The Food & Beverage Industry

On March 18th, the Government of BC announced their intent to provide vaccines to every resident of BC by the end of this year. With that timeline in mind, it is cautiously safe to say that we are nearing the end of the pandemic or at least control of it. The past fourteen months have been challenging for everyone – especially those in the food and beverage industry. Over the past year, the food and beverage industry has developed innovative strategies and practices that have allowed them to sustain their business. In fact, many of these new practices will continue post-pandemic to ensure a safer environment for restaurant staff and guests and to rebuild our confidence in our dining practices prior to the pandemic.

 

Embracing and Adapting to the “New Normal”

Individuals looking to order food from a restaurant or fast-food establishment are now given multiple options of how they can order and receive their meal. They can customize their meal just as they would during a dine-in experience and can even select a specific time as to when they would like to pick up or have their meal delivered. Although this technology is not new, it has become the go-to method of eating out during this pandemic. Many customers are looking for a contactless dining experience, and the food and beverage industry has successfully adapted to suit this demand. A few restaurants have even implemented walk-up windows that eliminate the need to enter an indoor environment to order. The most popular adaptation born from the pandemic is the parklet patios, which have given many restaurants a fighting chance by allowing outdoor seating. These are just some of the methods that the food and beverage industry has used to survive and embrace the impacts of COVID19. It seems that many of these services and practices will carry on long-term to allow flexibility and comfort for all customers.

 

Honesty & Communication is Key

Many successful food and beverage businesses have created a clear and honest dialog with their guests about their safety and how they are implementing new procedures to improve the cleanliness and contact-free experience within their establishment. Ideally, this information and compassion will also align with the brand guidelines of the business and be carried through all aspects of the business. The tone and voice used to communicate new procedures is a key element of genuine brand authenticity. Businesses are also implementing contact tracing methodologies to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Details like this truly matter to guests, as it reflects the investment being made in pursuit of taking care of their safety and needs. Nurturing this trust develops a deeper emotional connection between a business and their guests, which is very valuable during such a physically distanced time.

 

Flexible Design

The COVID19 pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons, but one of the most significant is the importance of being flexible – in all realms of life. When is comes to the food and beverage industry, a flexible design is essential for following COVID19 protocols. Eateries with adaptable interior layouts have definitely managed better than others during this time. Adaptive elements such as furniture, partitions, signage, queue management, etc. have allowed operators to reconfigure their space accordingly while adhering to health guidelines and protocols. Though health restrictions can change overnight, keeping the space pleasant and organized is key. Clear brand-focused signage can also enhance the overall experience and mitigate the focus from the restrictions.

 

Material Selection

Products that are easy to clean will be thoughtfully considered more than ever. Nonporous materials like porcelain, quartz, granite, Corian, or laminate countertops could become more popular. The importance of clean air has also become a huge element of design consideration. Low-emitting materials will take precedence over off-gas materials, and the efficiency of air supply systems will be increased to keep up with the higher expectations and standards of air quality.

 

Change is the Only Constant…

Sir Norman Foster once quoted, ‘Change is the only constant’, and the pandemic has certainly reaffirmed that. During these unprecedented times, we have learned to consistently adapt to new challenges. While COVID19 has brought an abundance of changes, many of these changes are to improve the experience and confidence for both business owners and customers in the long-term.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused a great deal of economic loss to many industries but in particular to this one. Many restaurants and other food and beverage establishments have been forced to close – either temporarily or permanently. However, continued support from our communities, and the development of new ways to connect and support one’s local restaurants and eateries is ultimately the biggest accomplishment. The fact remains that the pandemic has significantly changed our way of living, and although we are not going back to “normal” we are moving forward to a new normal in the best way possible.

 

Featured Photo by: Christine Pienaar Photography

 

 

 

 


 

Sources:

BC Government – Covid19 Immunization Plan

Forbes – What Will Restaurants Look Like After Covid?

McKinsey & Company – How Restaurants Can Thrive in the Next Normal

Bergmeyer – Trending 

FSR Magazine – What the Restaurant of the Future Will Look Like After COVID19

I+S – Hospitality Spaces in the Covid Era Ehandbook

 

Interior Design Trends 2020

Over the past few months, JDG has been researching the predicted interior design trends of 2020. In 2019, we saw many trends flourish such as colour blocking, monochromatic schemes, and lots of “Instagramable” spaces. What design trends will 2020 bring for interior designers? Let’s take a look…

 

1) Softened Colours

Many of the trending interior design colours of 2020 stem from vibrant colours, but are softened to be more pleasing to the eye, and more comforting to the soul. Looking at Design Week in Milan, the trending interior design colours of 2020 are expected to be colours such as Pumpkin Red, Lemon Yellow, Champagne, and Fuscia. In addition, Pantone named their colour of the year “Classic Blue”, which is slightly bolder than the other expected trending colours of 2020. It seems that 2020 is going to be a year for taking interior design risks, and using colours that haven’t been used in a long time. These inspiring colours will help to create beautiful commercial spaces, whether it be a restaurant, retail store, or even a medical clinic.

Image Sources: (Left) Italian Bark (Right) Tumblr

Image Sources: (Left) Design Milk (Center) Yatzer (Right) Pantone

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_2) Arches

Arches are another interior design trend that we will be seeing a lot of in 2020. It seems that design trends will be moving away from rigid, rectangular, and linear lines, and moving further towards curvilinear lines, soft edges, and organic shapes. These softened forms are becoming extremely attractive interior design elements, as they offer a calming interior environment as a refuge from this fast-paced world. Although arches have been around for centuries, they are making a major comeback in a modernized form. These arches are originally found in Greece — in the doorways, windows, rooflines, and iconic swimming caves. Bringing forms like this into a design will really make a statement if they are integrated into unexpected places. We are so excited to bring this effortless element into our many interior design projects moving forward!

Image Sources: (Left) Lavorist (Right) YellowTrace

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3) Cane

This natural material started trending in late 2019, but is definitely continuing into 2020 with full force. Cane also dates back as far as the second century in India and China, and has recently made a comeback in a contemporary format. The beauty of cane is found through its effortless combination of visual and tactile texture. The neutral colour can be combined with almost any colour palette, which makes cane an excellent accent material for any interior design project. Incorporating tactile textures like cane in a space truly creates a genuine and calming environment. A common interior design application for cane is through furniture. People are drawn to natural materials, just like we are drawn to the beauty of the outdoors. Bringing natural materials into commercial environments can create a whole new experience for the end user.

Image Source: AtelierTwoPlus

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4) Indoor Gardens

In 2020, interior gardens will continue to make interior design projects stand out over the rest. This is especially true with commercial applications. Integrating plants and greenery into a commercial design feels unique and unexpected compared to residential environments. People often do not expect greenery at a restaurant, dental office, corporate office, or even a retail store. By including gardens in the interior design of these unexpected places, the overall design becomes more intriguing, inviting, and definitely more “instagramable”. This is all connected to Biophelia (check out our November 2019 blog to learn all about it).

Image Source: ArchDaily

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5) Built-In Seating

According to Dwell Magazine, built-in seating will be an impactful interior design trend for the year 2020. Not only does it create a focal point or unique element within a space, it also saves a ton of space. Loose tables and chairs alone are no longer acceptable if you want to make your seating design a trendy statement! Fortunately, Janks Design Group is ahead of the game, and we have already began integrating similar design elements into some of our current projects. The best part? This interior design detail can be applied to almost any environment, whether it be corporate, retail, restaurant, hospitality, or even residential design!

Image Source: Dwell Magazine

Sources:

 

Authentic Interior – 2020 Design Trends

Dwell – 2020 Design Trends

Wall Sauce – 2020 Design Trends

Italian Bark – 2020 Design Trends

Italian Bark – 2020 Design Trends from Milan Week

 

Biophilic Design

bio·​phil·​ia – “the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature”(1)

Biophilic design is an innovative extension of biophilia that interior designers use to create healthier (both mentally and physically) built environment for the end users. By incorporating natural materials, vegetation, and natural light into both commercial and residential environments, designers have the ability to drastically improve the overall experience of an interior space. In fact, biophilic design has the ability to reduce stress, improve our cognitive function, and even expedite healing (2). We spend 90% of our time indoors (3), so the opportunity to improve the well-being of users through biophilic design is a no-brainer for both commercial design and residential design.

When looking to add biophelia into a space, we often turn to our friends at Life Space Gardens. They do an excellent job of providing us with quality products, and information throughout the design process.

Biophilic design is fantastic – but how do we implement this complex theory into our interior design process?

1 – Green walls

Over the recent years, green walls have become increasingly popular in the interior design world. Biophilic design has become a popular design practice, and green walls seem to be the first step in the process. A bonus feature of these lively design features is the abundance of natural light required to keep the plants healthy. The image below shows a snapshot of the large green wall featured in one of Janks Design Group’s (JDG) projects – Rocky Mountain Flatbread, located in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver, BC. In some cases, natural light is not available within a space, or the labour for plant-care is not available. This is when preserved plant walls are an excellent option.

Photo & Design by: JDG Natural Light + Views

Integrating access to natural light and exterior views can make an interior space feel more refreshing, in commercial, residential, and hospitality environments, all while improving the health of the users. Providing people with a visual connection to nature has shown to reduce stress, create positive emotional function, and improve concentration (2). If you are looking to design any sort of workspace or social space, these benefits can be extremely favourable for the business as a whole. This specific application of biophilic design can depend on the building, and the site that the interior design project is situated on, but if the circumstances allow for access to natural light, and visual access to the outdoors, definitely take advantage (unless the exterior view happens to be a stinky dumpster).

With the help of Janks Design Group (JDG), the design of Field & Social on Dunsmuir Street, in Vancouver, BC takes full advantage of their large windows, and exterior street views – the perfect place for people watching! Following in the footsteps of their fresh food, this refreshing and healthy environment relates back to the product, creating a perfect merge of the two into an inviting restaurant that caters to the local demographic.

Photo by: Christine Pienaar Photography | Design by: JDG

3 – Organic Shapes + Patterns

Humans are naturally intrigued, and drawn to the varying forms within nature. Although our minds understand that organic forms are not actually living, we are positively affected by their characteristics as if they are (1). Another word used to describe organic shapes and patterns, is biomorphic forms. These biomorphic forms are symbols, patterns, and textures that are found in nature. By integrating these forms into the built environment, interior designers have the ability to create visually intriguing, yet comfortable spaces.

The subtle repitition, diffused natural light, and organic textures throughout this Janks Design Group (JDG) project, Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria in Surrey, BC, are an excellent commercial design example of the comfort that can be communicated to the user through interior design.

Photo & Design by: JDGIf you are interested in learning more about the methodology and benefits behind biophilic design, we recommend you read this informative paper on the patterns of biophilic design: 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design

Sources:
(1) https://skylineartservices.com/wp-content/uploads/Biophilic-well-building-Handout.pdf
(2) https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/
(3) https://delos.com.au/approximately-90-of-our-time-is-now-spent-indoors-heres-how-to-make-your-home-a-healthier-place-to-be/

Dish & Duer Retail Expansion

Did you ride your bike to work today and wish your pants weren’t so hot and constricting? Gary Lennet thought the same thing so he created the ultimate brand, DUER. With multiple years of experience in the fashion industry he designed a performance pant that is geared toward active lifestyles. He first introduced his new brand through a kickstarter fund and pop up stores, shortly after opening a retail location in Gastown.  Along with DUER he rebooted Dish women’s jeans, a brand that was popular several years ago.

Dish and DUER’s performance pants are designed for function but don’t dismiss fashion and comfort. The innovative fabrics combine polyester, cotton, spandex and Tencel with integrated Coolmax fibers and moisture wicking technology.  When designing the retail store Gary wanted to bring the adventure in and create a unique shopping experience for customers.  He incorporated a playground to test out their products in a playful way were staff encourages customers to jump, climb and stretch in their pants.  A year after opening it was time for expansion as sales, product lines and the team are growing at a rapid rate. Together Janks Design Group and Dish & DUER came up with some ideas on how to add more retail and test areas while keeping room for an office area for 20 plus employees.

To maximize space, we utilized the buildings high ceilings and built a treehouse! Continuing the existing wooden structure and pipe details helped to seamlessly blend the 2 sides together. The wooden treehouse has a pull-down door that leads up to a suspended net 8 feet off the ground for you to walk, crawl or chill out in. Underneath ample room was free for custom built retail racks and tables for display. To divide the retail and office areas the net was brought all the way to the floor. This creates a partition but keeps the view open to see the team creating away. Extra changerooms and mirrors were added with soft synthetic grass underfoot.

If you are looking for a different shopping experience…. this store is for you! Have a little adventure playing and climbing around and walk out with an amazing transitional pant that will take you from your bike, to work to dinner!

Dish & DUER  @ 118 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC

www.duer.ca
www.dishdenim.com