Month: August 2013

As the economy continues to improve, businesses are beginning to expand offices and redesign older corporate locations to meet new modern standards. Trends in office design and configuration are having an impact on commercial investments and changing how the world looks at the traditional corporate office. 

At ASST, we understand the changing needs of an office environment. A corporate location must meet the needs of many different people who have very different job descriptions and responsibilities, which means it must be designed as a versatile space. Our SCULPTCOR® solution is a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system that is fabricated from a non-porous, durable and easy-to-clean surface. As a result, it is the ideal solution for an office environment because of its aesthetic qualities and functionality. 

Here are three office design trends impacting corporate locations and how SCULPTCOR® is applicable:

1) Shared private enclaves. Gone are the days of large private offices in every office environment. Instead, many more companies are organizing the creation of private enclaves or sections of the office for teams so that everyone can work together in a collaborative environment. One team is sectioned off in one area of the office, while others are likewise using private areas for their work. The SCULPTCOR® wall panel system can be used to section off these various alcoves for a comfortable and sophisticated look. 

2) Technology friendly. Mobile technologies and data wiring is crucial in any office environment. As we have seen over the past two decades, advances in technology occur every day and offices need to remain friendly to changing needs as the expansion of mobile devices in the workplace continues to thrive. In addition, all meeting areas should be outfitted with the appropriate support technologies to handle streaming video, conference calls, projections and wireless. 

3) Conversation areas. With the decrease in private office space being a key trend in design, there has been a rise in need for meeting rooms. Create organic conversation areas that are both comfortable and private so that business can be conducted without the hassle of struggling for a meeting room. SCULPTCOR® can help line the walls of these meeting rooms and provide a modern look to conference areas that will be used for a wide range of purposes. 

Many medical centers across the nation are under construction or being renovated to provide patients and staff a superior space to inhabit. However, how are those designs working to promote the safety and comfort of the individuals being treated? Various sections of a hospital or medical centers with one designated treatment purpose may have differentiating needs in terms of design. 

Creating safe and comfort at psychiatric hospitals
For most architects and designers in charge of creating a psychiatric hospital, the focus is on eliminating potential safety hazards. However, that must not be the entire purpose behind the design or the therapeutic qualities of the treatment there will be reduced due to the institutional atmosphere of the structure, reported Healthcare Design Magazine. 

In 1812 Samuel Tuke wrote a description of York Retreat, an institution for the mentally ill in York, England, that was founded by his grandfather William Tuke. His description of the design of the structure indicates a belief that the atmosphere and interior of the structure was hindering patients' treatments. 

"Many errors in the construction, as well as in the management, of asylums for the insane appear to arise from excessive attention to safety. … In the construction of such places, cure and comfort ought to be as much considered as security," Tuke wrote, according to the source.

Designers for medical centers, especially those for psychiatric facilities, must keep in mind both safety considerations and creating a therapeutic environment. Even the healthiest individual can feel glum, tired and anxious due to atmosphere – a facility that doesn't foster healing could be even more damaging to those who are already suffering. 

Use durable, nature-inspired materials in medical centers
At ASST, we are dedicated to providing designers and contractors with access to the high-quality materials that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Interior finishes in healthcare centers require both characteristics, which can create some challenges. ASST can help design professionals and architects meet these challenges by providing quality solutions. We have a complete product line that includes solid surface, translucent resin materials as well as millwork and plastic laminate.

Listed below are just a few of the design solutions we offer our healthcare clients:

• Full package Division 6 casework 
• OR paneling
• Trespa™ wall panels
• Toilet partitions
• SCULPTCOR® wall panel system 
• Modular Vanity™ System
• MatchLine™ Stainless Sinks
• Cradle™ Baby Bowl

For further information on ASST's comprehensive offerings for health care, visit www.asst.com or contact ASST architectural support 717.630.1251 x305.

Patients and caregivers are hardly the only ones spending a considerable amount of time in healthcare facilities. Family members and friends gathering in a hospital room is a common image in media, but it is also a very real situation for many. Families of a patient can spend days at a time at a hospital and after sitting on uncomfortable chairs built to accommodate no one with comfort, finding little privacy to talk or grieve and sitting in a sterile environment devoid of personality, anyone would feel worse for wear. 

Hospitals designed to accommodate families and  friends
Interior designers, architects and other professionals in charge of creating hospital spaces should consider the family when building or renovating a healthcare structure. Improvements in accommodations can drastically improve people's outlook during a time that is most likely already filled with stress. 

Healthcare Design Magazine reported that in India, which prides itself on its family and community-oriented lifestyle, medical centers are designed with the understanding that patients will be arriving with multiple family members who become part of their care team. As a result, architects make sure that every space, from the foyer to the patients' rooms, are designed for comfort and include soothing features. 

"As part of the design process, we thought of the design of all the public spaces as being underpinned by this notion of community," said Mark Erdly, principal, Cannon Design, according to the news source. 

How ASST can help design strong healthcare facilities
Hospitals and other medical centers looking to help promote comfort and community in a facility should consider including a number of high-quality, durable solutions. Comfort in a healthcare facility must be tempered with practicality. At ASST, we have more than a few solutions for constructing a high-quality center that includes expertly crafted furniture and wall panels.

Listed below are just a few of the design solutions we offer our healthcare clients:

• Full package Division 6 casework (available in a variety of materials)
• OR paneling
• Trespa™ wall panels
• Toilet partitions
• SCULPTCOR®  wall panel system (with hard seam joints)
• Modular Vanity™ System
• MatchLine™ Stainless Sinks
• Cradle™ Baby Bowl

ASST offers a comprehensive listing of quality solutions for healthcare facilities. If you're looking for more information, visit www.asst.com or contact ASST architectural support 717.630.1251 x305. 

Office spaces are getting facelifts across the nation as building operators and businesses look to incorporate new materials for greater efficiency, durability and style. Retail Design Blog reported that many of the older factories and brick buildings present in mill communities or in older sections of cities are being renovated for office space. The large square footage of these structures provide architectural features of previous decades that make them unique and sought after. 

Diverse use of textured materials in office designs
Many designers are working to incorporate portions of the original building's features in office spaces. For example, concrete columns, steel-roof beams and brick accent walls are all style components of these modern spaces. The use of a wide variety of materials allows for greater texture to enter the design. The mixture of concrete, steel and wood creates warmth in the design and provides it with both modern efficiency and historic flare. 

The CREATIVE OFFICE! REPUBLIC is an office that was constructed last year to include wood and solid white walls with fun accent colors on the floors and walls of bright red and blue. The source reported that the structure was outfitted with a partition system so that workers could have a stable environment in which to conduct business. 

Invest in proven surface performance
Regardless of the design aesthetic an office is trying to achieve, there is a durable, stylish solution available to businesses. SCULPTCOR™ by ASST is a durable wall panel system with proven performance characteristics. The versatility of the material provides someone with the ability to achieve a unique design, which means various textures and hues are available to pick from. SCULPTCOR™ is a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system. It is fabricated from a non-porous, durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean solid surface. This provides an office with a wall unit that is both aesthetically pleasing and highly durable. 

The wall panel sizes are 24"x64" nominally and are currently available in three standard patterns: Twist, wave and smooth. Panel reveals can be specified as either straight or curved in five standard colors: Pure white, cream, warm white, frozen white and white lotus. The color selection available, combined with the various patterned options, really makes designing a multi-textured office space easy to attain. 

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project-estimating assistance.

As we learn more about the impact of interior design on health, architects, contractors and designers have been altering their projects. Contract Design Magazine reported that Americans on average spend 90 percent of their time indoors. As a result, it is crucial that these spaces are designed with our health in mind. There's a growing focus on promoting good health with proper design, which can include ensuring natural light is present in a space and the compositional use of healthy building products.

Incorporating natural light in office spaces
Various organizations, like the Illuminating Engineers Society of North America, have set a minimum level of footcandles appropriate for a work surface in an open office environment at 30 fc, with a maximum recommended level at 50 fc, according to the source. This standard is often considered the bare minimum by those who support healthy lighting practices. 

Light impacts human health and performance in four main mechanisms, according to Health Design Magazine, including:

  • Boosting performance on visual tasks
  • Controlling the body's circadian system
  • Impacting mood and perception
  • Facilitating the appropriate absorption of critical chemical reactions with the body

Improper lighting in an office space can create a number of health issues for a worker. Eye strain, fatigue and headaches are all common, as well as sleep disorders and dementia, reported Control Design. Studies have been and are currently being conducted on how to build better office spaces in terms of allowing the most natural light in a business without negatively impacting productivity. 

Incorporating healthy materials in office spaces
The inclusion of healthy materials in the office is another crucial component to designing positive structures. By including SCULPTCOR® by ASST, an office space will feature healthy building materials that are also aesthetically pleasing. The patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system is fabricated from a non-porous, durable, stain-resistant and easy-to-clean surface. The material is both durable and sustainable because it will not negatively impact the health of workers who spend a considerable amount of time in a space. SCULPTCOR can be used in a variety of project applications for an office space, such as wall panels, column covers, retail facades, elevator cladding, casework, ceiling panels and furniture. Complete Autodesk 3D REVIT file and 2D standard details and specifications are available for download to those who wish to see how the solution can be incorporated into a space.

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project estimating assistance.

The growth in interest in green construction is changing the way commercial property owners are looking at design. No longer is an office space intended just for meetings and conference calls, now it is also acting as a corporate sustainability statement. Companies are being asked by stakeholders and the greater public about how green their offices are. As a result, green construction is on the rise across the nation as interior designers, architects and contractors look to install features into office buildings that are durable and economical. 

How much is the green construction market worth?
According to the McGraw-Hill Construction's 2013 Dodge Construction Green Outlook report, the value of green building has seen considerable growth. In 2005, approximately $10 billion was spent on green construction, by 2011 this had risen to $78 billion. In 2012 the green share of the construction market increased more to $85 billion and by 2013 it is expected to be worth between $98 and $106 billion. By 2016, this number is predicted to rise even more to between $204 to $248 billion. 

"We're seeing tremendous growth in green building, providing a bright light in an otherwise uncertain economy," said Harvey M. Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction, according to the press release. "Not only does this mean a strong outlook for green building, but also the benefits that go along with that: more jobs, greater financial benefits from green and high performance buildings, stronger competitive positioning for those firms that build green, and healthier work and learning environments for our population." 

Invest in smart, durable materials with ASST
Bathrooms are very obviously some of the more disease and bacteria-prone areas in an office. The number of people using the space, plus the presence of water can result in the growth of mildew and mold and the spread of viruses. ASST's Modular Vanity™ System can help reduce this and promote greater sustainability in an office environment. The durable solution utilizes a sturdy aluminum and polyethylene support structure and a solid surface material for the backsplash, side panels and integral sink bowl. The construction of this innovative solution is solid, which leads to increased durability and thereby increases sustainability. To learn more, contact architectural support at ASST: 717.630-1251 x305 or go online and visit www.asst.com.

Designing for the aging population is becoming increasingly important for a variety of facilities. Hospitals, offices and other commercial structures are adapting their designs to ensure that seniors are better able to navigate spaces and live an independent life.

Why is it important to design for the aging population?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the elderly population is expected to more than double between now and 2050. This will bring the number of seniors in the nation to 80 million or roughly one out of five adults over the age of 65. One of the greatest challenges facing architects and designers in the next 30 years will be to meet this new demand. The American Society of Interior Designers claims this will require modifications to senior housing, hospitality structures, retail stores and healthcare facilities.

Because of the confusion, the ASID Design for Aging Council has been created to help designers better meet the needs of seniors and those who are caring for them. The agency is looking to how the age wave is expected to impact interior design practices for all types of structures and will look to create guidance on issues like accessibility, visitability and universal design.

ASID Design for Aging Council's goals
▪ Identify and develop information to teach interior designers about the needs of seniors and how to work effectively with other professionals who provide them care and services.
▪  Work to share information to the media and public about how interior designers help meet the needs of an aging population and improve seniors' quality of life.
▪  Use and develop case studies about the many needs a structure will have to meet for the various stages of aging in both private and public spaces.
▪  Create partnerships with other industry professionals who will also be working to develop better spaces for seniors and foster collaboration.
▪  Improve communication between the various groups working to build, design and work within spaces that serve those older than 65.     
▪  Assess current and future opportunities for interior designers that relate to improved education about the needs of seniors and key trends in the field of aging.

Design considerations for a hospital
As healthcare facilities play a crucial role in the treatment of seniors, they are a primary concern for those who wish to update structures to better serve this growing portion of the population. Healthcare Design Magazine reported that senior-friendly design is increasingly necessary and those working in this sector are becoming more aware of the changes to current facilities that need to happen to better meet these needs. Some senior-friendly features are becoming more familiar to the acute care side of the healthcare sector as more seniors are walking in the front door of facilities. These include reduced-glare flooring, the training of cleaning staff to avoid over-waxing floors, more sensitive lighting, color contrast in design and nature-based art. Providing quieter, comfortable waiting areas that are devoid of the blaring sounds of a television are also part of an interior design that is intended to service seniors. 

How ASST can help interior designers create senior-friendly hospital spaces
Smart medical centers that are designed with seniors in mind will easily become favorite magnet locations and symbols of a dedication to high-quality care. To make sure that a hospital is able to meet the needs of seniors, officials can bring in the experts at ASST. 

Listed below are just a few of the design solutions we offer our healthcare clients:

• Full package Division 6 casework (available in a variety of materials)
• OR paneling
• Trespa™ wall panels
• Toilet partitions
• SCULPTCOR®   wall panel system (with hard seam joints)
• Modular Vanity™ System
• MatchLine™ Stainless Sinks
• Cradle™ Baby Bowl

Spaces for higher education require smart design. The sheer mass number of people from all walks of life makes it necessary to use practical durable solutions and materials to promote community. Architects designing colleges and universities are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to plan structures that are accessible for everyone, but sometimes, Gizmodo reports, the deaf are left out of the equation.

For example, Gallaudet University has recently built a new structure that puts the unique needs of deaf students first. Building program guidelines stipulated that deaf students should be able to communicate more easily. Because communicating with others relies on hand motions, stopping to open or close a door can often interrupt the flow of a conversation. Design solutions for this include doors with motion sensors that slide open. Wider walkways also allow students to talk with peers or professors side-by-side with ease. Too often hallways in are too narrow and hinder those using sign language to communicate because each party is unable make visual contact with each other's hands.

"Deaf culture centers around the language," said Bauman a few years ago, according to the news source. "The language has all the elements of architecture-the spatial kinesthetic of sign language, the desire of deaf people for the visual access that open space affords-lends itself to express the deaf way of being."

To promote community in common area public spaces, design professionals can create interior environments that all students, regardless of how they communicate, can use. Boston's Shepley Bulfinch utilized SCULPTCOR® for their award-winning Brody Learning Commons for Johns Hopkins. Taking inspiration from diverse elements and forms in nature, SCULPTCOR® by ASST is a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system that is fabricated from non-porous, durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean solid surface. Appropriate for a variety of uses, the wall panel sizes are 24×64 nominally and are presently available in three standard patterns: Twist, wave and smooth. Panel reveals can be specified either straight or curved in five (5) standard colors: Pure white, cream, warm white, frozen white and white lotus. Additional colors and special panel sizes are available. The largest uncut pressed panel size available is 29.5 x 72.

SCULPTCOR by ASST can be utilized in a variety of project applications such as wall panels, column covers, retail facades, elevator cladding, casework, ceiling panels and furniture. Complete Autodesk 3D REVIT file and 2D standard details and specifications are available for download.

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support or x307 for specific project estimating assistance.

In times of difficulty, like a recession, innovative thinkers are the ones who thrive – regardless of industry. In the case of retail, brands that are succeeding are putting their best foot forward by investing in innovative spaces that architecturally and aesthetically communicate the main principles of the product or service. As a result, concept stores are breaking out and becoming a trend.

Contagious Magazine reported that concept stores are succeeding because they provide consumers with a stimulating experience on multiple levels. High-end brands have known for years that the atmosphere of a retail space is almost as important as the product. As a result, companies have invested large sums of money into creating unique spaces to attract and keep the attention of consumers. Brands are focusing their attention on making radical and attractive spaces with the use of explosive architectural vision, reported HongKiat.com, a design blog. Nothing proves the existence of a product, service or brand like the physical embodiment of that entity.

For example, the Chevy Chase Mall Pavilion in Maryland has recently been completed by ASST. Working closely with the design firm streetsense and general contractor, Hitt Contracting, ASST assisted with the design, fabrication and installation of a 3Form translucent media wall, escalators, stair wells, walnut wood casework, upholstered seating and a new prime location for Starbucks Coffee in the middle of the action. ASST is proud to have been awarded a Washington Building Congress Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship on this challenging project. Be sure to visit ASST's new website www.asst.com to view more images of this innovative project and to learn more about the product solutions and fabrication services ASST offers.

The corporate lobby is the front of a business and is an important element to the reputation of any organization. According to Buildings.com, an online contractor magazine, if your lobby is outdated or looks tired, it could impact your business. Clients who show up for meetings or potential employees are going to judge the quality of your operations and the corporate culture by the look and feel of a lobby. As a result, it is important to ensure that this space is impressive, practical and sends the right message.

"Your lobby is your front door – it's the first and last impression for your employees, tenants, and their customers," explains Charles McClafferty, chief operating officer with Sage Realty Corporation in New York City, according to the news source.

The Economic Times reported that a lobby should incorporate the right blend of materials, practical and personality. The space should catch the eye of a visitor, but it shouldn't be so filled with personality that the lobby is shocking or insults potential clients or partners.

For most businesses, the lobby should be reflective of the goals of the brand. "Which style you emulate depends on your business goals," said Mark Stumer, principal of Mojo Stumer Associates, according to the news source. "What kind of tenants are you trying to attract? Or are you hoping to appeal to existing ones? If you're looking for corporate clients, you want a traditional lobby look. If you hope to attract a young company, like a Google or an Apple, then you may go with a more creative feel."

Both types of office lobby spaces might benefit from a wall panel system that is both professional, yet visually stimulating. SCULPTCOR® by ASST is a thermoformed architectural wall panel system that can offer the right blend of durability and beauty. The wall panels are available in three standard patterns. This durable and easy to clean solid surface system is a highly practical solution and has been used in DuPont's corporate offices in Wilmington, Delaware. As an ideal solution for both new and renovation properties, the wall panel system is easily incorporated into almost any space and it can quickly transform a simple, outdated area into a one-of-a-kind space.

"You want to keep your lobby upgrades in line with your building's existing architecture, particularly with respect to a historical property," adds Scott Spector, principal for the design firm Spector Group, according to Buildings. "There are easy ways to blend in new and modern trends without being at odds with the original design."

Branding experts recommend that business leaders keep in mind the classic design elements. Using overly trendy features throughout the space will date the design in just a few years. However, a mix of modern and classic will allow the space to remain fresh.