Thinking about redoing your optical space? Or moving to a new space? What should the design be? Answering these questions as you work towards creating a new space can be a daunting process. Perhaps the first issue to resolve is who to approach and ask for help with the design and creation of the space. As you evaluate the various individuals and teams some of the critical questions to answer are:
- Is this a person, or persons, I can work with?
- Can they help me through the entire process?
- How much will it cost just to get a design?
- What are the hidden costs?
Taking the time to choose the right team in the beginning will be the most important decision you will make and can have the most impact.
Can I Work With YOU?
As you look for someone to work with on designing your new space it is important to remember that this will be “your” space, not the designers. You want to find and establish a team that is responsive to your needs and makes you feel that you are a part of the design, not just the occupant for someone else’s creation. Some of the things to notice as you proceed with selecting someone to work with:
- Do they offer to come see your current space and how you work?
- Have you seen any other spaces that they have designed? Do you feel comfortable in those spaces?
- Are they responsive to your questions?
- Are they equipped to help you through the entire process? Design, construction, installation, beyond.
After you choose a designer the process of creating your space on paper begins. Again, this is a process that you need to be involved in, from understanding and helping to create the flow; to having an open mind when the designer might suggest a different approach to a particular issue. If the design team asks questions, or raises issues that cause you to say “I never thought of that,” then you can have a sense that the team is thinking about “your” space and process. This is also the time when colors, finishes, displays, and furnishings should be considered and selections start to get finalized.
To Construction and Beyond
The design portion of the process is only the first phase. Now you need to satisfy the requirements of the municipality in which you are located and the building or landlord’s conditions. Depending on your location and design team there will be permit, bid, and/or construction drawings needed; the selection of a general contractor, interior designer, display manufacturer; the selection of fixtures, furnishings, and equipment, sequencing, and coordination. Again, some questions for the design team:
- Will they produce the drawings for the permit? Bid? Construction? Do they have staff qualified to produce the documents required?
- Will they help with the selection of a general contractor?
- Do they have resources for selection of fixtures, lighting, flooring, seating, etc.
- Are they ready to help with the design and layout of your display, exam rooms, lab space, etc.
If the answers to any of these questions are no, then you will have to expand your team to include those people necessary to complete the requisite parts of the project.
Wasn’t That Part of the Price?
The hidden fees and costs. I have deliberately left out any discussion about cost or budget until now. For most of us this is probably the most important issue, but it seems too often it is the one that is left out of the design discussion. So, as you re-read this post ask the question “what is the cost of this?” at each phase of the process. Incorporating this question into the process from the beginning will create a transparent atmosphere and effective process. Because everyone involved has one thing in mind – the creation of an exciting space for you.
If you are at the point of looking for a design team, or thinking about it, consider the team at Ennco Display Group. We can help with your space selection and design, are equipped to deal with permit drawings and bid sets; have connections with flooring, lighting, and seating manufacturers; and we design and build displays and casework for the optical space, exam rooms, lab, and other spaces in your optical practice.