Category Archives: Article Analysis

Miami Innovation Disctrict

I am not sure what to really think about this article. At a glance I think the concept of having an Innovation District, similar to a Silicon Valley of Florida, seems like a great pull to bring the city together towards one attraction. But as I look at the rendered design I am not sure if I like the complete technology feel of the exterior, an active skin. I think that architecture and design have completely advanced with new technology to be able to create more complex designs, but this building might be taking it a step too far for my liking.

The purpose of the mixed-use district is a success for the area. The article stated that Miami is a hub for beaches, culture, nightlife, art scene and technology. I think that this district will positively impact all of the above items. The building is also planned to have space for retail, office environments, living opportunities and performance and public spaces, a truly mixed-use building. I think the building is positive to be able to take advantage of the Miami weather and design large amounts of indoor/outdoor space.

Overall, I like the usage, but not the design. I am curious as to how the active skin will function. If one part has an issue will the whole area go down? Once one building experiments with actives skins a whole new area of technology in architecture will be introduced. I don’t think that I am familiar enough with futuristic technology to be able to feel comfortable with this design.


Nieminen, Robert. “Miami Innovation Disctrict.” Interiors & Sources. Stamats Communications, Inc., 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 5 Aug. 2015.


Can Classroom Furniture Improve Student Engagement?

The title of this article grabbed my attention because it deals with the education market. I have been emerged in the education market working at Hollis + Miller. I used this article as more of a comparison of how we design our schools as to what studies have shown work well with students and learning.

The first word that stood out to me when dealing with furniture in the classroom and classroom engagement was collaboration. The article stated the the number one factor in student-engagement was collaboration. Most classroom furniture is set up in a style to be movable and manipulated for each different activity. The most common learning surface is a table that can be designed to have movable writing surfaces as well as different dividers to be used for privacy. The table is easily morphed from lecture mode to team work mode. Hollis + Miller uses these sorts of tables often, especially in K-12 when collaboration is key. Hollis + Miller also creates areas called “a collaboration stair” which is similar to the concept of Pierce Commons. This area can be used for presentations or for individual or group projects.

Another common piece of classroom furniture is the individual desk. This is what I sat in all through high school. These desks are made for right handed writers and have a small storage space below the seat. This product has been updated to work well again with student-engagement factors such as physical movement and stimulation. A table system has been created by Steelecase that is designed for individual and collaborative interactions. This maintains personal work space, but the rollers on the chair allow for movement if the learning style needs to be moved.

I believe that current classrooms are focused on change and adaptability. Many different studies, including this article, have shown how engagement while learning increases participation. Teachers are able to consistently change their learning styles to adapt to their students current needs.


Bergsagel, Victoria. “Can Classroom Furniture Improve Student Engagement?” Getting Smart. Getting Smart, 29 Jan. 2015. Web. 30 July 2015.

Plug ‘N’ Play Offices Impact Design Culture

This article was very interesting because I have never heard of a Plug ‘N’ Play office before. A plug ‘n’ play office is a space that a startup company can rent to use as their office. The members of the renting company have to only provide technology. Furniture and finishes have already been completed.

I think that this service is a very handy from the consumers point of view. It gets the user into a very modern, workable office space that they did not have to design themselves. The offices also seem to be smaller in size, perfect for a startup. I believe that this type of office would also be easy to sell for realtors. Theses spaces have all of the perfect amenities.

A plug ‘n’ play office, I think, would be hard to design from an architects perspective. There isn’t a defined client, although the trend is more in marketing, advertising and technology. The design field is based on the product the client wants, and with these offices there is no client to specifically tell you “yes” and “no.” Most design oriented careers seem to enjoy more of a modern aesthetic; exposed ceilings, open collaboration spaces, solid wood furniture. All of the previous are also very expensive. Prices poses as another issues, there is not a client to tell you what you can eliminate and what needs to stay. I think that this could be a very interesting project for a new or younger employee at a firm. There isn’t too many constraints, and open to new design trends. I think I would enjoy working on a project of this type.


Interiors & Sources. “Plug ‘N’ Play Offices Impact Design Culture.” Plug ‘N’ Play Offices Impact Design Culture. Stamats Communications Inc., 1 June 2015. Web. 22 July 2015. <;.

Can Starbucks Make 23,000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?

As per my usually choosing for articles, I chose one that had an interesting title. I also understand how many thousands of Starbucks there are worldwide and I was interested to read the article. At the beginning of the article many different facts are stated from the business side of Starbucks. Behind every design and company there needs to be a strong backbone of leadership. Without an innovative lead designer, your business cannot be as successful as wanted. If you think of every restaurant that is popular towards the public, the face of design is constantly changing in order to grow with the public.

In the beginning, Starbucks had 4 different design themes based on feelings turned into coffee lingo. Depending on the community of the local Starbucks, one theme would be chosen. Towards the beginning of Starbucks’ existence this was a great plan; until the company reached thousands. Now, Starbucks has an idea bank of millions of individual light fixtures, furniture pieces, color schemes, and store concepts. In the design stage for each store, the local environment is used as an inspiration for the store theme. Local materials can be seen through the coffee shop. Starbucks has changed their design to be unique to each and every store instead of being another cookies cutter shop.

I believe that this concept can be applied to any type of design. Every architecture firm is known for at least one specific field of work. No matter how many schools or office buildings they design, they cannot be cookie cutter. In the design development stages of every project the client is interviewed and studied to determine what they want out of the building. In the end, the building is for the client, not for the actual firm.

In school we also have a design style that we tend to gravitate towards. As much as we like to sick to our style, we need to create each project based on what the user wants. Design technology and styles will always come and go helping us to update our preferences. Each client wants the building to be their own, and as designers its our job to provide that.


Wilson, Mark. “Can Starbucks Make 23,000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?” Co.Design. Fast Co. Design, 18 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 July 2015. <;.

For Adults, Coloring Invites Creativity And Brings Comfort


All of the articles that I have read up to this point pull me in starting with the title. I am very interesting in how creativity can activate other feelings or moods in a physical manor. This article is right up that ally. This article is one person’s personal experience with how coloring has helped her and research she has discovered through her new interest in coloring.

The article states that a university science professor created a coloring book for her students to learn concepts of the class. This is how the author found her love for coloring again. Adult style coloring books are used as a form of meditation and learning. It is a physical and visual style of learning that people can have a personal interaction with. Is it considered meditative because of the physical sensation created when you are holding the pen in your hand and fill in space. The repetitive movement can be meditative.

I think that coloring could have been an excellent way for me to learn. While I study I usually write things over and over, I am more of a physical learner. I think that with the repetition of coloring and reading something more visually appealing then text I could learn better. I also believe that this method of learning or meditation only works on certain types of people. This method is for the visual learner that likes to constantly be moving and doing something. I think it is a concept though completely worth trying.

King, Barbara J. “For Adults, Coloring Invites Creativity And Brings Comfort.” NPR. NPR, 11 June 2015. Web. 09 July 2015. <;.

Why designers need to step outside design

“We are not engaged in rocket science. It’s safe to bring Notdesigners into our world.”

The phrase above accurately sums up this article. It talks about how designers need to know how to speak “their language” to Notdesigners (everyone that isn’t a designer). The article spoke about a NASA scientist explaining the failure of a the Space Shuttle Challenger. Richard Feynman described the material of the space shuttle as “stuff.” He was able to reach the audience because they wanted to know what happened, not what the shuttle was made out of.

I believe that this article is completely applicable to our every day life as a designer. Every kind of project that we are awarded as firms has to be presented over and over to the client. We design for the client. If the client doesn’t understand, our design fails, no matter how good it is. I have gone through the process of “dumbing” down my work several times just to my family. Every time I come home I have to be able to tell them what my project means and what it is in a language they would understand.

The article also made a good point that without Notdesigners, there would be no one to tell us that we are wrong. Designers have a bad habit of not taking criticism well and believing that everything they do is right. Thankfully all of these bumps can be smoothed out starting in college. We present and design every day, I believe this article made me more aware of what Notdesigners may think when we present. It will just make us a better designer.


Sharples, Jonty. “Why Designers Need to Step outside Design.” Why Designers Need to Step outside Design. Hactar, 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 June 2015. <;.

Does it come in black?

This article was not what I was expecting while reading the title, but I completely understand the purpose of the article. The author talks about struggling with the decision of what to wear every morning because she has so many options in her closet. She was used to a boarding school uniform every day until she entered the working world. With opting to only wear black clothes the author decreases the amount of options and regret she has with her outfit every day. The author states that because she works in a design profession, making design decisions every day, she has “design fatigue.” Thus allowing her to focus her decision making on more important things such as her job.

This is very interesting to me. I completely understand the difficulty of choosing an outfit to wear every day after wearing a school uniform from K-12th grade. I also understand the amount of decisions that are needed daily for a profession in the design field, but I have never thought about “design fatigue.” I think that the concept makes complete sense. I am aware that in the design profession every decision is very important and builds off one another. I am also aware that I can make design decisions for work a lot easier then personal decisions.

I think the answer to my indecisiveness also could be found in this article. Don’t give yourself as many options, thus making your decision easier. This is why the author only wore black. I also believe that your work shows in what you do, and not necessarily how you dress. The other stated examples of fashion designers and their monotonous clothing choices while designing spectacular lines for other people.

In the design industry I believe that we put more time and effort into our work then ourselves. We want our work to be cutting-edge and top of the line, while we put ourselves on the back burner sometimes.


Holbrook, Tanya. “Does It Come in Black? One Opinion on Why Designers Only Wear Black.” Medium. 101 Advertising, 08 May 2015. Web. 26 June 2015.

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Design is…

Design is.. as important as technology, brand, simplicity, timeless, the details, empathy made tangible, intent and thoughtful.

This article emphasized every point perfectly that I believe we deal with and strive to work towards every day in any design field. It spoke about the process that CEO’s and technology company strive for in bettering their brand. The first step is perfecting the mechanics of how the product is made, then improving the physical look to speak to the purpose of the users. Design is brand and creating all of the company products with the same design elements carried through the generations. Design is simplicity, it may take companies, such as Google, 15 years to make their homepage “simple.”

Each of the different points under Design is.. is something that I believe designers, and students in any design field, assess every time a new project is issued. This article reminds me of our studio project from Spring of 2015. There were so many different aspects to our restaurant retail store that we had to start designing simply in the beginning before we could add the smaller intricate details.

I believe that this article would be perfect for a CEO to understand because all of these definitions of what design is cannot be achieved in a few weeks or even a year. These are company goals to set and be achieved years into the future. I completely agree with the subheading of this article stating, “what CEOs should know about design.”

Au, Irene. “DESIGN Is…” Medium. N.p., 20 May 2014. Web. 22 June 2015. <;.

Illuminated Carpet

Wayfinding is a problem that needs to be solved with every new development. Philips Lighting has created new carpet tiles to be used with wayfinding, colors, patterns and even the news.

Philips Lighting has created with Desso carpet manufacturer to create the “Luminous tiles.” Both of these company’s are constantly looking for innovative ways to push the boundaries creating a natural working relationship. Philips has already implemented LEDs onto many different surfaces and textiles, making carpet an oncoming option. This carpet will be soon available in the second quarter of 2015.

The successful method behind the illuminated tiles lies in the carpet backing. For most generic carpets a black backing is used to help fill in the color spotting. This carpet has an LED backing that allows light to shine through the carpet. This allows for now wiring or bulking equipment to be in the way of foot traffic.

Illuminated carpet has been used so far in places such as banks, office lobbies and hospitality buildings. It is a way to increase wayfinding and also provide users with quick knowledge facts. I believe this product could be a hit in the correct applications. As long as the prices are competitive, it could be a new contender for wayfinding techniques.

Sharpe, Shannon. “Illuminated Carpet.” Metropolis Magazine. Susan S. Szenasy, Jan. 2015. Web. 29 May 2015.​