Are you anxious that instead of your dream office you may get a new Expectation-vs-Reality meme example?
Your anxiety is well-founded — not every final result of a design project coincides with the initial idea. It happens if:
- a designer does not consider the technical part and project execution (just “makes it beautiful” instead);
- a customer decides to deal with everything by their own and sends the interior construction documentation sets to some handymen they know (those who have once repaired their house well);
- the materials specified in the project are replaced with others (found in a DIY store);
- workers change the project (instead of following the guidelines they work in a way that is habitual for them).
To prevent such outcomes, it is important to follow a certain sequence of working process stages. In this article you will find interior design work steps DESIGNIC specialists use. Our checklist might come in handy no matter what interior designer of public spaces you work with.
Step 0. Choose a Design Studio
If you need the interior design of an office, cafe or shop, look for professionals who specialize in public spaces — such projects require an approach different from working with living accommodations: other space planning, materials, furniture.
Where and how to look for a design studio:
- Ask the owners of properties or sites you like, who made and brought to life their design project.
- Google for “office / meeting room design”. To get most relevant results, specify the query.
- Check social networks or specialized websites: behance, office next, archiprofi.
- Come to events hosted for – including but not limited to – designers, FF&E specialists, contractors, builders, and brokers.
How to choose a design studio:
Check the portfolio. When you look at the cases, pay attention to the designer’s style. Do you like the visual aspect of the solutions in that particular design studio? That aside, we noticed that customers usually explore projects for companies with the same profile as theirs. For example, IT companies are interested in design projects for IT spaces. It is a good strategy. Specialists who have already worked with similar companies know the details of the work process and common preferences. That’s why specialists will come up with most suitable design solutions.
Find out what education the designer has. It is great if the designer majored in architecture, construction or engineering. Such specialists are more likely to cope with design projects of public spaces.
View documentation and drawings for other projects. You may ask designers to bring to the meeting their previous documentation and drawings sets. Look through them carefully, check if there are plans for every section. A good idea is to look through the section with furniture and equipment: if suppliers or manufacturers are given for every item, you might be sure that these are not just pictures from the internet but real objects. You do not need to be savvy in drawings and diagrams, the manager of the design studio will help.
Call previous customers, visit ready sites. Ask previous customers how the work with this design studio went, if their initial vision was brought to life. If the customer does not give any specific information, go to the finished sites with the designers and the manager: take the concept sketches and drawings, compare the initial idea and the result. Designers shall tell you what the idea was, how it was implemented, what they used, how long it took.
At DESIGNIC we always bring concept sketches and construction documentation from previous projects to meetings with potential customers. Examples other projects showcase what the designer’s job is and what the client will receive in the end, demonstrate in what style we work and how we deliver projects.
Do not fall for awards and certificates: lots of them might be hung along the walls, but assessing professionalism only by titles is deceptive. It is better to see the real work results.
How to create a design project?
Step 1. Make up a Detailed Brief
At this step you tell what you want to the specialist, who then suggests how to zone and decorate the type of space you need.
Throughout step 1 at DESIGNIC we:
● study plans with the overall state of the site, electric wiring and HVAC schemes. Usually, it is the owner of the premises or the administration of the business center who keeps the documents;
● visit the site, take pictures of it and make measurements;
● together with the client fill out a brief with all necessary information: from the number of employees to the suggested materials.
We recommend that you invite a designer at the stage when you choose the future office building: the specialist will compare the sites and choose the most suitable one.
Remember to bring your brand book and design guide to a meeting. Designers will use them to choose space planning, colours, design techniques and so on. Share the information on how work is organized in your office: what specialists communicate closely and need to seat nearby, who should occupy separate areas. It helps designers make the space more comfortable.
To avoid misunderstanding, discuss from the very beginning the set of work that the designer or the studio undertakes. For example, we do not provide graphic design and drawings of internal communications (electrical wiring, heating, etc.), but we can outsource engineers and graphic designers who do this type of work.
In DESIGNIC it takes 1-3 days to finalize the brief: we meet with the client, interview them, then complete, correct and prepare the document.
Execution of an interior design project
Step 2. Develop the Concept
Concept is the starting point for the whole project.
Throughout that step designers:
- zone the space,
- think over furnishing location,
- choose colour solutions.
Specialists do everything to make the site both beautiful and ergonomic. That step provides the base for further decoration.
If you skip the concept development step, you will have to contact suppliers, choose materials and furniture all by yourself. As a result, vendors can «load» you with different confusing options. Thus, you will lose time, money, and most importantly – the resulting interior may differ from your initial vision.
Some believe that builders need nothing more than looking at the picture and then can do everything. That’s far from truth: every room has its own parameters that should be kept in mind while creating a project. For each room we make up technical drawings, plans and development nets with location of electrical appliances and erected structures. For example, a plan with calculated installation height of sockets and switches.
The images of interiors you like will help designers create the concept. If you want the final result correspond with those images and your vision, you’d better discuss all the details with your designer, explain what «beautiful and stylish» means to you, share your ideas.
Proper design project
Example of DESIGNIC interior concept plans
Step 3. Ask for a 3D Visualization
When the concept is approved, it is transferred to a 3D artist who converts the design of the entire premises and each functional area into 3D. At this step you see what the room will look like.
With 3D visualization you can avoid countless further adjustments: you see realistic photos of your future office and understand what you like or what you want to change.
The project can be changed at any stage before the approval and signing of the final set of drawings. That’s why visualization helps – you can decide whether you can move to another step or need to work on the project more.
Interior design project implementation
Example of DESIGNIC interior visualization
Step 4. Discuss Construction Documentation
Construction documentation for builders is made up by designers based on the developed concept. The basic set of technical drawings has two formats — printed and electronic. These drawings contain space planning, location schemes for sockets, lighting and furniture.
At step 4, designers should consistently approve intermediate work results. We monitor the process and can suggest alternative finishes or furnishings for you to save money or meet the budget.
When the drawings are made, the designers will arrange a meeting for you and contractors. That way all participants understand what they will be working on and can clarify all necessary points.
Step 5. Agree on Construction Documentation
In addition to the designers and the customer, the general contractor of the facility and subcontractors (designers, builders, engineers, material suppliers and other project participants) are invited to the meeting.
General contractor is the company responsible for the work on the project. It monitors the deadlines, the work of subcontractors, gets the project approved by the owner of the premises.
At the meeting every party studies the project, signs it, and only then can move to the next step. We do not recommend skipping that part and that’s why. If the builders have uncertainties, the final work might be a low-quality one. Sometimes builders say: «We do not know how to do that, let’s do it another way.» It is important to insist – there is the project and you need to stick to it. We provide 100% feasible solutions and add comments to each step so that everyone understands what to do.
Transferring the project to another contractor at that stage is risky. The designer who makes the construction documentation is responsible for the implementation of the project and makes sure that the builders stick to the initial idea. If someone else makes up the documents, they may introduce their own adjustments, and as a result, you will get a completely different project.
When the documentation has been agreed upon, you receive two copies. One you keep for yourself, the other give to the contractors.
Step 6. Assemble the Project
When you have all necessary documents, it is time to find and buy furniture, fittings, lighting, materials, etc. You can control the process on your own, delegate it to one of your employees or to the manager of the design studio.
As in any other field, the best option is to delegate to professionals. Throughout that step, questions that require participation and deep understanding of the process constantly arise. It is difficult to combine the project surveillance with the main job, especially if you occupy an executive post. In addition, reading the documentation requires expertise to avoid tricky situations with financial consequences.
Here’s a real-life case. The project had a phone booth for telephone conversations, which was quite expensive. While bringing the project to life, the booth was replaced with a mini-cabinet, fenced off by a curtain. Someone wanted to save money. The cabinet did not meet the intended purpose — everyone who was outside the «cabinet» could hear what people were talking about inside.
The customer who ordered the concept from designers, the working documentation from project manager, and assigned employees to buy the furniture may receive a patchwork quilt with ill-fitting tissue. Try to avoid such strategies if you do not want to be disappointed in the end.
At DESIGNIC we have project assembling service. Project managers purchase furniture and communicate with suppliers. These specialists join the project at construction documentation development stage. They can estimate the deadlines in advance and choose suppliers to contact. We may always launch a tender to find suitable options, meet the budget and stick to the project.
Any project changes during the implementation process are best to be introduced by the person who has worked on that project. Your designer sees the whole picture: the combination of colours and materials, space planning. The final adjusted project will be as good as the original one –compatibility and ergonomics preserved.
An example of materials selection in DESIGNIC concept, where designers indicate which materials and furniture are suitable for the project
Step 7. Bring the Project into Life
Author’s supervision is not an obligation, but rather a handy service. It will prevent spoiling everything at the last moment. Designers or project managers visit the site, make sure everything is performed as planned. They can make fast adjustments without hindering the project.
In addition, designers do the accounting in electronic and paper versions. Accounting documents show when the work was done, what work exactly, if anything went wrong etc. At any time, you can see why the deadlines were not met or what you spent your money on.
Record sheet No.1
How to create a proper design project?
Supervising author’s record sheet with data on execution process
To illustrate the whole work on a project, we included several examples of finished sites. They show the initial idea, its visualization and the final result.
DESIGNIC’s sketch of a meeting room
DESIGNIC’s reception area concept
If you take control of the work yourself: assign employees with searching and buying furniture, outsource for drawings someone who did not work on the project, you may get a patchwork quilt. Employees will buy something to their taste or try to save money, the outsourced specialist will draw elements not intended due to the concept or will change important details. Even such small changes alter the initial image.
To make the design project match the final interior, one and the same designer should work from the beginning till the end of the project.
The designer will draw up the concept of your interior and will make the space not only beautiful, but also comfortable. Then they will supervise the work of builders and talk to suppliers. During the construction process, they will be able to make fast adjustments without hindering the project.