Our Director of Design Dishes on Projects, Inspiration, and The Value of Good Design
blog

Our Director of Design Dishes on Projects, Inspiration, and The Value of Good Design

From FroYo Cafés to Big Tech HQs and Every Space In Between – Our Director of Design Dishes on Projects, Inspiration, and Adaptability

Here at Infinity Group, our talented team members have diverse backgrounds. Together, our mosaic of individual experience and experiences propel us to make work beautiful. This week we sat down with our Director of Design, Laura Merrill, as she shares her insights on the world of design and why now, more than ever, is not a time to cut corners. Merrill has a broad range of experience as an educator, retail business owner, and an interior designer. As a business owner she has developed design for a franchise, La’Berry Frozen Yogurt Café, with 8 locations throughout Southeast, which included conceptual design, construction drawings, fixture design and detail drawings, promotional materials, finishes, and color schemes. Her current position as Director of Design at Infinity Group allowed her to pour her expertise into the creation of thousands of square feet of human-centric spaces, designed according to the client’s program and inspirations. She also prides herself on getting the work done on time and on budget.

How did you get into your role at Infinity Group and how long have you been here?

Merrill: I got hired by the Infinity Group almost two years ago after I moved to Connecticut from South Carolina and was promoted to my current Director of Design position one year ago.

What are the benefits of clear and accurate project costing throughout an entire project?

Merrill: When you go about the construction project using the traditional approach, it burdens you with a complex logistical undertaking involving many separate parties (architects, designers, engineers, construction project management companies and others) that you have to manage and coordinate. Every entity has their own business interests and schedules that may or may not align with other trades or the interests of the client. As a result, there is no way of knowing how much your project will cost in the end. Your architect may give you a ballpark number that oftentimes is not even close to the number that your project manager can build it for. We all know horror construction stories where projected budgets ballooned 2-3 times more than the original projected budget. Infinity Group combines all the trades and that means one company becomes one point of contact for the client and there’s no coordination nightmare. This approach lets us accurately project the cost right from the beginning with no surprises for the client, saving time, money, and a few nerves in the process. We are like an easy button for a construction project.

What were a few projects from Infinity Group’s 2021 Look Book that you really enjoyed working on?

Merrill: TaskUs has to be my favorite. So much young and fun energy and 17 different colors! Who doesn’t enjoy playing with colors?!

When designing the TaskUs workspace, did you have total freedom to design the space yourself or was it more of a collaboration between the client and our team?

Merrill: When designing a space for somebody, it is rarely a “cart blanche” situation. A designer will always have to collaborate with her client as well as other team members. They are the ones that will have to live with the outcome after all. Lol. The client at Task Us provided us with their design program as well as the concept and the rainbow color scheme. We provided them with many ideas to choose from. Some of them were rejected but the most prominent design features did survive the client scrutiny as well as budget considerations (there is always that unglamorous part of design) and those are the ones that made the biggest statement and visual impact.

 

Do you think good design is important – not just for commercial workspaces but also for medical offices, senior living, and industrial settings?

 Merrill: Yes. Good design is not just some stylish color schemes and furnishings. Good design supports human needs and human psychological and physiological health. Good interior design should help in healing, improving mood, and making everyday tasks at work or home easier through evidence-based design. For example, there is a well-documented research that natural views through windows speed up recovery of the surgery patients, improving their mood and tolerance to pain. Good design is also good for ROI: it increases productivity, work satisfaction, and stimulates creativity while decreasing sick days, absenteeism, and workplace complaints. See some of Infinity Groups work for Active Life Communities here.

What will 2021 bring when it comes to design? Check out our recent blog to start dreaming with us! You can also learn more about our Future of Work Blueprint here.

 

From FroYo Cafés to Big Tech HQs and Every Space In Between – Our Director of Design Dishes on Projects, Inspiration, and Adaptability