Contract - Contract Design Forum Repositions Design

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Contract Design Forum Repositions Design

12 March, 2014

-By Cody Calamaio



The evolving role of design in society was the focus of Contract’s annual Design Forum, held in Scottsdale, Arizona, in early November 2013. The event’s goal was to spur a dialogue about how designers can reposition themselves as leaders and change-agents for the industry. Meaningful discussion, thought-provoking panels, and one heated game of bocce ball engaged members of the design community during the three-day event. The forum’s theme paralleled the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) national “repositioning” effort, which is evaluating its own structure and programs. Invited guests included industry leaders, sponsors, and members of Contract’s Editorial Advisory Board.

Two keynote speakers served as catalysts for the discussions. Award-winning graphic designer Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram, gave the first keynote presentation, and spoke about his work in transforming brand identity. Bierut presented recent elements of his portfolio, including work for The New York Times and Saks Fifth Avenue. He and his firm have also been consultants to the AIA in its repositioning efforts by not only developing a unique typeface and logo for the association, but also helping it to reconsider priorities and messaging. David Kuehler, an innovation consultant who has shaken 
up brands like Procter & Gamble and Disney, gave the second keynote address. He encouraged the audience to incorporate innovation tactics and processes within their own organizations and firms.

New to Forum this year was the inclusion of two lively panel discussions, moderated by Editor in Chief John Czarnecki, intended to craft a dialogue about the value of interior design and its relationship with the real estate industry. First, a panel, featuring commercial real estate professionals Roy Abernathy, Sean Black, Peter Ferzan, and Jenny Haeg, gave their perspectives on the state of the real estate industry and relationships with designers. Haeg, founder and CEO 
of Custom Spaces Commercial Real Estate, discussed how tech companies and startups have embraced design as a way to attract 
and retain talent. “I think the biggest change I have seen over the 
past five years is the new buzzword: culture,” she said.

The real estate panelists engaged in discussion with the room 
of designers, and the complicated issue of fees emerged as a key topic. “There is a huge difference between your world and our world,” said 
Kay Sargent, vice president of architecture, design, and workplace strategies at Teknion. “You are at high risk, high reward. We live in 
a world of low reward. So it is very difficult until that model changes.” Black, senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, said that while competitive prices will always be important to clients, the design of 
a space can be a means of lowering the price per employee. “I think that design is a great opportunity for us as brokers and real estate advisors to help change the conversation; to change it from price,” he said.

The first panel discussion flowed seamlessly into the second, 
in which three designers—Pam Light, Felice Silverman, and Michael Bonomo—took the stage to offer perspectives from the other side. 
In addition to continuing a dialogue about the role of fees, other processes, such as the importance of RFPs, were discussed. “I want to thank Contract, because this is such a relevant and perfect topic to put us all in the room. I think we have all talked about the challenges of different relationships for years,” said Silverman, president of IIDA. 
“It is really refreshing and exciting to have us all starting this conversation together.”

The Contract Design Forum was made possible by sponsors BOLYU, HBF, Herman Miller, Humanscale, Mohawk Group, OFS Brands, Shaw Contract Group, Tandus Centiva, Tarkett, Teknion, Universal Fibers, USG, and Wilsonart.




Contract Design Forum Repositions Design

12 March, 2014


The evolving role of design in society was the focus of Contract’s annual Design Forum, held in Scottsdale, Arizona, in early November 2013. The event’s goal was to spur a dialogue about how designers can reposition themselves as leaders and change-agents for the industry. Meaningful discussion, thought-provoking panels, and one heated game of bocce ball engaged members of the design community during the three-day event. The forum’s theme paralleled the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) national “repositioning” effort, which is evaluating its own structure and programs. Invited guests included industry leaders, sponsors, and members of Contract’s Editorial Advisory Board.

Two keynote speakers served as catalysts for the discussions. Award-winning graphic designer Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram, gave the first keynote presentation, and spoke about his work in transforming brand identity. Bierut presented recent elements of his portfolio, including work for The New York Times and Saks Fifth Avenue. He and his firm have also been consultants to the AIA in its repositioning efforts by not only developing a unique typeface and logo for the association, but also helping it to reconsider priorities and messaging. David Kuehler, an innovation consultant who has shaken 
up brands like Procter & Gamble and Disney, gave the second keynote address. He encouraged the audience to incorporate innovation tactics and processes within their own organizations and firms.

New to Forum this year was the inclusion of two lively panel discussions, moderated by Editor in Chief John Czarnecki, intended to craft a dialogue about the value of interior design and its relationship with the real estate industry. First, a panel, featuring commercial real estate professionals Roy Abernathy, Sean Black, Peter Ferzan, and Jenny Haeg, gave their perspectives on the state of the real estate industry and relationships with designers. Haeg, founder and CEO 
of Custom Spaces Commercial Real Estate, discussed how tech companies and startups have embraced design as a way to attract 
and retain talent. “I think the biggest change I have seen over the 
past five years is the new buzzword: culture,” she said.

The real estate panelists engaged in discussion with the room 
of designers, and the complicated issue of fees emerged as a key topic. “There is a huge difference between your world and our world,” said 
Kay Sargent, vice president of architecture, design, and workplace strategies at Teknion. “You are at high risk, high reward. We live in 
a world of low reward. So it is very difficult until that model changes.” Black, senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, said that while competitive prices will always be important to clients, the design of 
a space can be a means of lowering the price per employee. “I think that design is a great opportunity for us as brokers and real estate advisors to help change the conversation; to change it from price,” he said.

The first panel discussion flowed seamlessly into the second, 
in which three designers—Pam Light, Felice Silverman, and Michael Bonomo—took the stage to offer perspectives from the other side. 
In addition to continuing a dialogue about the role of fees, other processes, such as the importance of RFPs, were discussed. “I want to thank Contract, because this is such a relevant and perfect topic to put us all in the room. I think we have all talked about the challenges of different relationships for years,” said Silverman, president of IIDA. 
“It is really refreshing and exciting to have us all starting this conversation together.”

The Contract Design Forum was made possible by sponsors BOLYU, HBF, Herman Miller, Humanscale, Mohawk Group, OFS Brands, Shaw Contract Group, Tandus Centiva, Tarkett, Teknion, Universal Fibers, USG, and Wilsonart.

 


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