Designing for a condo board.
Designing for condo boards or a property management group presents itself with a variety of benefits and complications compared to working alongside a single rep client. Balancing the interests of many vested partners as well as the people they represent can extend the project timeline, however this extension affords me additional time to explore options and opportunities that may not have been otherwise realized. Below I explain the process I take when designing an elevator for a condominium board or property management group.
"explore options and opportunities that may not have been otherwise realized"
SITE VISIT: When I start a design project I like to visit the site and determine the state of the environment; the materials, the style of lighting as well as the overall feel for the building. This visit provides me the base to which I will conceive the concepts that will inform my final proposal.
Not only will I be able to better determine the expectations that the building is aiming for (approximate budget, overall theme and style, and level of commitment), it provides me sublimentry information that I use in meetings to present and justify my design choices. To me this is the most valuable part of the process, just as much as the final presentation is for the client to understand the final design.
MATERIAL AUDIT: After visiting the site I assemble the Material Ecology Package. Material ecology is a term that I use to describe the existing materials and how they work with each other. What materials work well and what are at conflict. Like any other natural ecology, material ecology acknowledges that nothing is isolated, wall colour and texture interacts with flooring, lighting, and any additional decoration within the space.
How someone approaches the building, through the main doors and across a lobby should be coordinated and harmonized with the elevator and the subsequent floors. I do not suggest that everything needs to match, but that they should work together to create a fluid narrative that expresses a harmonious the for the rest of the building. Keep in mind that the quality and attention to it by the condo board and property management team is often reflected by the tenants. If a building doesn’t respect itself why should the tenants in it?
DESIGN CONCEPT: With limitless options available to designers, I feel curating features is important. It can be exciting to use the latests and greatest fashionable design elements but keep in mind that fashion is the most vulnerable to time. Instead I produce three proposals during the concept phase that utilize the existing material ecology and architectural elements of the building. This process reinforces the value of all the elements instead of installing a single new space that is at odds with the rest of the interior.
PRESENTATION: Lastly presentation is key to ensure there are no surprises throughout the modernization. Ensuring the building has the appropriate materials to present to the boards as well as the vested tenants will reduce conflict and protect all parties involved. While no rendering is a substitute to the real thing, they still remain one of the greatest tools designers can provide to clients to showcase the new design they are investing in. Additionally material boards and concept documents assist in telling the story and thought behind a project so no material, finish or selection is perceived as poorly thought out or half hazardly utilized.
In the end we are here to provide the clients the best possible service and experience during an otherwise difficult and inconvenient process. We should never devalue this and only bring our years of experience and toolbox of services to make them feel comfortable and confident at every stage of the process.