In her 40 years designing for corporate commercial spaces, she’s seen commercial interior design evolve both in its technology and its thoughtful approach. Drawing by hand with no 3D tools available, designers’ ability to “visualize architecturally was very limited,” Fownes said.
“Our approach to design was relatively simplistic,” she continued. “Clean, beautiful but it was not very far-reaching. We didn’t really talk about the brand of a client, or really understand what the company was all about. I hate to say this but it was superficial.”
Today, Fownes said designers have to understand who the client is and what they do.
“There’s a richness to understanding who they are trying to bring to work and who they’re trying to keep happy at work,” she said. “It’s about the health and wellness of a client and constituents.”
While many corporate headquarters draw inspiration from one another, it can also create a feedback loop of repeating styles and materials. That’s why understanding a company’s purpose and DNA is key to personalization.
“At IMG College, there’s no question what they do, so every material you see in a sports facility is embedded in that space,” Fownes said. “Autotrader is very much about the car and movement. Carter’s baby clothing has a very airy, warm environment.
“There are no two environments that look alike. Each one reflects who they are and are very branded to who they are,” she said.
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