It’s All About the Experience [June 2017 Breakfast Recap]

presenter headshots - June 2017 breakfastOur June Breakfast Meeting, It’s All About the Experience, explored the design drivers for residential, retail and commercial. The breakfast was sponsored by Juniper Capital, Rushing and Graphite Design. We sincerely thank them for their support.

President Kristin Jensen related information about a NAIOP Washington State PAC fundraiser on June 28. She also spoke about the real estate excise tax potential increase. We had a new member update and heard about the Property Tour that will take place in Bellevue on July 20.

Clair Enlow of Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce moderated our panel which included:

  • Ryan Mullenix – Partner, NBBJ
  • Brian Runberg – VP, Runberg Architects
  • Michael Lee – VP, Callison RTKL

Brian began by talking about apartment design and introduced the concept of analytics and artistry in motion. This seeks to capture the northwest experience. He gave a couple of examples of new apartment developments that embraced this. The goal is to foster a sense of community via design, innovation, and energy conservation.

Michael discussed how the experience relates to the retail sector. He outlined that customers are searching for:

  • Authenticity
  • Sense of Community
  • Technology Innovation that blends all aspects of retail – a marriage of in-store and online

Michael talked about the Dover Street Effect, retail areas in London and New York that create and curate a changing experience, and about the Fremont Collective.

Ryan spoke of the commercial office environment and the changes that are being addressed by design. Some of these are:

  • Developing a sense of community (do you see a theme here?)
  • Achieving common goals for diverse individuals

He also mentioned that increased density on a floor is getting very common. The results are:

  • Fostering teams
  • Serendipity
  • Visibility
  • Efficiency

But density does bring along stress and noise, which have to be addressed. Technology is deployed in some cases to address these, such as Faraday Rooms, which eliminate electrical signals to provide a refuge from our hyper connectivity. He also mentioned cultural approaches such as in France, where culture dictates when e-mail and work phone calls can be ignored.

Clair asked how projects address authenticity. Brian responded that the local community and its factors drive design. Michael talked about unique experiences and how flexible designs support those experiences. Ryan opined that community evolves organically but is supported by design.
In response to a question about community, Michael talked about retail as a destination that attracts and enhances the sense of community.

Clair also asked about the impact of technology on design; Ryan brought up proximity impact. The distance that will cause us to go speak with someone in person versus writing an e-mail is only about 65 feet.

The discussion opened up to what is happening outside the urban core. Brian stated that the GMA is driving critical mass towards the urban core. Michael talked about the challenges faced by suburban shopping malls and Ryan spoke of the unique advantages that the suburbs have to support an open and natural environment.

A member of the audience asked the panel where in the world they find inspirations for the evolution of design. Brian talked about Scandinavia, Michael of Seoul and Ryan about Singapore.

Kristin closed the meeting and sent us on our way mulling over the unique and changing environments that drive our design community to new and better approaches.

This article was written by NAIOP Washington State and Programs Committee member Edward Scherer, Account Executive, Avidex Industries, LLC.

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