“There’s no better feeling than seeing the look and excitement on your client’s face when we nail the perfect design and color scheme. As a designer, if I can create a space where people actually want to go work, I feel accomplished!”Kara Treen, National Office
Office design is about finding the right balance between functionality and aesthetics that will boost productivity while keeping employees happy. We interviewed Kara Treen, winner of this year’s 2020 Office Inspiration awards in the Orangebox category, to find out how she got started in the office design business, what her favorite trends are, and what she likes most about using 2020 Visual Impression.
What inspired you to become an office designer?
My inspiration to become a designer in general was my parents. I grew up in a mid-century modern style home; where Eames, Wakefield, Alto, Saarinen, and Calder were common names. In design school, we learned about Herman Miller’s Action Office, and I saw all the furniture I grew up with…the rest was history!
What were some of your struggles when you first started off?
I grew up in a smaller city (Akron, OH) and there weren’t many opportunities for a young designer with no experience. I moved to Cleveland, and my search in the historical field continued with no luck. After about 2 years of applying and interviewing for jobs all over the design map, I happily accepted a position at my current employer, National Office.
What are your favorite office design trends?
My favorite design trend right now is the shift to open team collaborative areas. These spaces are always fun; with a mix of high and low seating, smart technology, and writeable surfaces. This is a great way to bring some color, texture and life into the office!
What are some of your favorite paint colors?
My favorite colors change often, but right now I would say Cyberspace by Sherwin Williams is my new obsession. Network Gray (SW) is my most suggested neutral this year; Reef Green (SW) also makes a beautiful accent.
What do you like most about your job?
There’s no better feeling than seeing the look and excitement on your client’s face when we nail the perfect design and color scheme. As a designer, if I can create a space where people actually want to go work, I feel accomplished!
What should someone starting an office design career know?
Be adaptive, resilient and resourceful! Having a creative eye is helpful, but listening to your clients’ wants/needs is by far the most important thing.
In your opinion, what will be the top office design trends for 2019?
The biggest trend I’ve seen so far is the want/need for height adjustable work surfaces. National Office manufactures height adjustable supports that we use in almost every project.
Do you have any design accreditations?
Aside from winning the 2020 Inspiration Awards this year and the last… not yet. But my design career has just started rolling!
What are some of your favorite features in 2020 Visual Impression?
My favorite feature of 2020 Visual Impression is the ability to make my own finish library. Using the snip tool, I can bring in any color, pattern, or wood grain I want. Also, being able to adjust the settings on the custom finishes I create. Making an item translucent, reflective or matte can make a big difference in the finished product.
Is there a 2020 Visual Impression trick/hack you can share with us?
The change 3D height button in CAD is a massive time saver when using 2020 Visual Impression. Not all blocks from the manufacturer come in at the same height. Also, when in 2020 Visual Impression, adjusting the overhead lighting placement and HQ light settings makes a huge difference. It can create washed out/blacked out spots on your rendering if the lights are in the wrong positions.
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