What goes into, behind and underneath a great interior design?
Chris Deering, managing director
The fruits of our interior design labours and the actual delivery phase of project management receive all the headlines and rightly so. The visible elements of an interior design for a commercial office fit out should be aesthetically pleasing, tactile and confirm to those that interact with it, all the attributes of your company. But there is so much more to a project than the final presentation.
The fact is that we are going to create an environment within a pre-existing structure. In other words, a client’s optimised workplace that addresses all aesthetic, functional and brand requirements will be made to fit within predetermined dimensions. Dimensions that were present and literally set in concrete perhaps decades before the client’s arrival on the scene. That area could be a modest office fit out of around 400m2 in the CBD or something more expansive, say 3000m2 over two floors in an outlaying business park.
In all cases, the handover day will arrive and it will be our pleasure to show the key members of the client group around their brand new office fit out. We enjoy this part of the process immensely as visions are realised and the hand drawn sketches, rendered over a coffee during our initial exchange of ideas and briefs are fondly remembered. But as we walk through the comfortable ambience of an air conditioned, office, reception, foyer or boardroom, occasionally, I’ll pause and remember what we went through to ensure the sustainable practicality of a particular aspect of the fit out. It’s likely we had to address and overcome issues such as:
- Cooling and accessibility to the data room for proper care and maintenance
- Sourcing fresh air for the mechanical (air conditioning) systems
- Increasing the density of floor plates to adequately accommodate increased loads
There are so many aspects, items and issues that demand serious thought and planning beyond the “look and feel”. Many of them fall into three categories:
- Mechanical – refers to air-conditioning and factors associated with it
- Hydraulics – essentially means plumbing and its many, many complexities and sensitivities
- Engineering – covers designs, statutory approvals, floor plate density…
You can help yourself to more detail on this in my article on project management from back in November last year.
If these walls could talk…
It is safe to say that behind every major feature or purpose-built interior structure that looks very much at home in your new office fit out, has been the subject of intense discussion, investigation and sometimes, negotiation. As a matter of course, we, as a project team, routinely consider and deal with statutory approvals, issues concerning water loops and cooling towers, people ratios and access and much more.It can be time-consuming and challenging but it is necessary and save money, effort and face in the long run.
But it’s not so much a case of understanding what will work but more pointedly, how it will work. This is why we favour a measured approach that includes, inspections, investigations and due diligence that goes beyond a cursory glance around the site, tape measure and sketch pad in hand. To us, a measured approach means that well before drawings, boards and concepts are compiled, we can identify solutions that will allow us to construct the brand-fit office fit out your company requires to help achieve your goals and do your best work.
As we see it, there is simply no other way to ensure that the environment we create for you can remain pristine, attractive and functional for the life of the lease or until the time comes to thoughtfully refurbish the workplace. There’s always more to a wonderful workplace design than meets the eye – the difference-maker is the experience, expertise, problem solving and planning that goes into it before you ever set foot inside.