What happens in D.C….

…doesn’t stay in D.C.! Because I’m going to attempt to share everything I experienced and tried to soak in during the first year interiors whirlwind of a trip. Our first stop was a place called Fox Architects. According to their website, “the FOX Interiors Studio continues to be ranked as one of the largest design firms in the region, a testament to our solid reputation, regional expertise and ability to provide compelling office design solutions in one of the nation’s most competitive markets. Our award-winning portfolio highlights our expertise in various market sectors, including corporate commercial, technology, energy, government and government/contractor, academic, legal, association and mixed-use at the local and national levels.” We were greeted with a sandwich lunch and a presentation of their portfolio, then a brief tour of their work space. Our next stop was only a few floors up at Steelcase, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary in office furniture design. I personally found Steelcase to be by far the most interesting office to tour because you could truly see the innovation they were creating. It was exciting, thoughtful, and interesting as each element about a product was described with a full purpose. The table posted below, for example, was not the exact model we were shown but is similar.

 

Notice how the front table legs are bent at an extreme angle. Any guesses why? COLLABORATION. I heard this word so many times on the trip, because it’s such a big deal! With this design, people can easily pull their chairs over to another person’s workspace without the legs getting in the way of them sitting side by side. And notice the tray hanging from the back? That’s for wire concealment, to keep the workspace open and uncluttered. These types of designs are becoming more and more popular with the trend of healthy, open workspaces. This one design was just so amazing to me, that one table could make such a huge difference in someone’s day. A huge thing I learned on this trip was that what we do as designers really matters, which I’ll save for another blog Smilie: :-).

We squeezed in a mini visit to Design Tex, a full surface solution company as well.

That evening, Steelcase hosted a reception with VT Design alums and we got to chat with them about everything from their studio experiences, to internships, to their jobs. It was so much information but it was so helpful!

The next day, we toured the Marriott Corporate Headquarters, where we got to learn about the process hotels go through when designing. It was mentioned that if you like your designs to last, then the hotel business is not right for you, considering designs are changed about every 3-4 years.

We finished up the trip at Gensler, the international architectural giant. Like Fox, they also presented their portfolio but the tour was much more interesting. They had pin-ups of their projects in a hallway we got to walk through as a designer explained the projects in more detail. This is just an overview of what we did, I’d like to spend more time talking about what I learned in other blogs!

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