Connecting with other people and the surrounding world is a basic human desire. It's also an increasingly important component of modern space design as clients look to build community inside their organizations and engage the community outside their organizations.
Community as Strategy is the focus of a series of discussions hosted by IIDA and KI in six cities. The third stop, held at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. gathered industry professionals, clients and academia to explore and share ideas and examples of projects effectively incorporating community.
Panelists included: Jevelle Branch, Director of Operations at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; Jill Goebel, Design Director and Principal with Gensler; James Kerrigan, Design Principal of Interiors at Jacobs; and Douglas Seidler, Chair and Associate Professor of Interior Design at Marymount University.
Debbie Breunig, KI's Vice President of A&D Marketing, sees a common thread developing.
"There is a strong desire to have this conversation and share practices," she said. "We're still somewhat early, but there is a need to share insights and talk about how designers are having conversations with their clients, many of whom have community as a key element of their planning."
The most recent discussion ranged from integrating community with a client's brand and culture to the importance of creating spaces that elicit an emotional connection among users. Panelist Doug Seidler revealed how Marymount University in northern Virginia provides students community space on campus and highlighted the role culture and community play in student attraction and retention efforts.
Organizations and brands are expected to embrace the idea of community as a top goal in the coming year, regardless of market, said Cheryl Durst, IIDA's Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, and panel moderator.
"As human beings we're hardwired to be part of a community," she told the audience. "Everybody is trying to figure out how do you create it? You know it when you feel it and you know when it's genuine and authentic."
The conversation continues at upcoming tour stops in New York, Boston and San Francisco. Panelists will build on insights gleaned from earlier events in St. Louis, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
IIDA and KI, a Wisconsin-based contract furniture manufacturer, will publish a summary of key points from all six events – including discussion highlights and examples of designs promoting community – at the end of the tour.
Both KI and IIDA are sharing thoughts and images from events on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. You can follow along using the hashtags #community, #ispyki, #kifurniture, #iidaiseverywhere and #iida_hq.