You Can Do This!

It’s time to create your home office. It looks like working from home is here to stay for a long time. Returning to the workplaces that we knew before Covid-19 will take on a different arrangement. If working from a shared office space is in your future, working from home will most likely be a portion of your work week. For the rest of us, our homes will continue to be our place of work.
Here is an idea to pull together a dedicated office that can fit into a small corner of your apartment or home. We have kept the idea easy to assemble for those who have limited tools and carpentry skills. The basic pieces can be found at your home improvement store – I went to Lowes and found this Pipe Shelf – it was easy to assemble. For the desk top I found a 24″ x 72″ pine panel and asked the guy working in the wood department to cut the length down to 62″ long. This gave me a 48″ wide desk and 14″ of length to ride under the middle shelf and secured it in place with clamps on the back of the shelf. One coat of black stain on the desk top created a finish that blended well with the laminate on the shelf unit.  The legs are called Hairpin Legs and come in many different finishes including white, copper and black. Here are the spec’s and also some additional ideas using the same components to create additional office solutions.

From Lowes:
  Whalen 5-tier Pipe Shelf, model#WSL5IPS – the shelves are fixed and do not adjust up and down   $179.00
  Spruce Pine Fir Edge Glued Panels, 3/4″ x 24″ x 72″                                                                           $ 36.64
  Irwin Quick-Grip Clamps 6 Inch, 2 pack                                                                                                $ 24.98
  Minwax Polyshades Stain – Classic Black Gloss, 8 FL OZ                                                                    $   8.58
  RGI Home, Water Hyacinth Bin/Basket 10.70 in x 14.15 in x 5.5 in                                                     $ 15.98
From The Hairpin Leg Co.
  Black Hairpin Legs, 28 inch-table/3 Rod/ 3/8″ Classic, set of 4 legs                                                     $ 69.95
From Urban Outfitters
  Calisa Block Printed Rug, 6′ x 9′                                                                                                            $219.00

Welcome, weary traveler.

TCondon_Airport_fltJust a bit of hospitality to welcome visitors to our home city. TCondon partnered with Steelcase, Experience Grand Rapids, and the Gerald R Ford International Airport to create a small welcome center for those arriving at the airport. This space has a concierge, info boards, ipads, charging stations, and some nice seating options for anyone looking to relax, recharge, and discover Grand Rapids. It was a true design challenge to pack a lot of usefulness into a pretty small footprint, but it is a very functional little space.
It was nice to work with Steelcase, who donated the furniture, in contributing to our community.
Check it out next time you are coming in to town!

Happy New Year! 2014 Pantone® Color of the Year.

Pantone_Color of the yearAs a designer, I live and breathe color. You know what I mean. I have to make color decisions every day as we design breathtaking client environments! And, even though I have a color “palette” that speaks to me personally —  in the clothes I wear, the colors I paint with, the pieces I may select for a room in our house — I have to park those biases when I consider the spaces we design. What I personally like may not be the right solution for our clients. I consider the mood and attitude of the space, the purpose of  the space, the desired energy we are tasked to create. There is color psychology around that. Plus, we are constantly investigating color trends, and how any of those colors may harmonize with, or complement, the choices we are making around the product color and material options that will be in the spaces we are creating.
Pantone, which has been an industry-leading color resource for designers, has been digging into color trends for a little while now. I enjoy seeing their take on future color thinking, and their pick for 2014 came off a bit polarizing. I have seen reactions from “sweet!” to “really, Pantone?”. It is a purplish tint they named Radiant Orchid, and they describe it as a harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink, and claim it “emanates great joy, love, and health.”
My take? It’s all about context. Am I a fan of that color on its own merits? Not necessarily. But, I don’t think about color that way. Could we use it in a space we are designing as part of our holistic color solution? Absolutely. The entire mix is key to supporting desired behaviors and the intent of the space. If the strategic “feel” of the environment calls for a color like this, it’s part of the solution, whether or not I would pick it out as a sweater.
In case you are wondering, yes, I do own a sweater with some stripes very close to this color. I picked it up last year and I love it. Is Pantone tracking my color preferences? Well, I have a hunch that a range of medium blues will be trending upwards  — let’s find out next year!

Back Stage, Kennedy Center

A vital step in the planning of any event is a thorough feeling of the space. For an event at a new space a site visit is an absolute necessity. No matter what pictures you may have seen, once on site your vision and imagination begin to connect with the physical and emotional feel of a space. I went to The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. which will be the venue for the upcoming TEDMED. This facility is unique in that it is a performing arts center and also a monument to JFK, the Kennedy Family, and their many contribution to the arts. The building is beautiful, and it is a great space for the event, but what I want to share with you is what I found on the walls back stage. Over the course of 40 seasons of presenting theater, dance, ballet and music, an interesting collection of stage sets and theater posters have been lovingly saved and displayed on the walls. To take them in is to walk back in time. You will recognize many of the images, they are icons in the art of entertaining the world.


Evolving the interactions at TED.

TCondon crafted a great social space for TED in Monterey in 2008. We created a similar experience in the Cromdale Hall at TEDGlobal, and now you will find a space at TED in Long Beach that is reminiscent of these great spaces. We are utilizing a ballroom on the first floor of the Terrace Theater and have designed it to be one large lab of connectivity and collaboration. There will be ready access to simulcast spaces, immersing everyone in the content coming from the stage while allowing great connections with fellow TED attendees. This will facilitate rewarding interactions in a space that people will want to hang out in all day. It’s not magic – just a lot of thoughtful planning and pulling in the best dynamics from successful past TED spaces. If you are going to be there, make sure to spend some time in the Creativity Lab on Level 1. If you can’t make it, we will post some shots from the event soon there after.


The planning for TED is complete. After months of designing the many space at TED in Long Beach CA and TEDActive in Palm Springs, we are ready to roll. The trucks are literally loading up. 13 trucks of fantastic furniture will begin the journey from Grand Rapids Michigan to the TED destinations in California. The energy is in the air. It’s thrilling for us to be part of an event that has the power to change lives and improve our world. These TED events promise to be as amazing as the rest – I have heard there will be opportunities for people to be a kid, a scientist, a designer, and so much more. I’ll be sharing pictures from Long Beach soon. Stay tuned and let the convoy roll!

In a Conference Experience Interaction is Key.

Check out the link below. I collaborated with some other conference experts and this white paper from The National Conference Center is the result. The paper examines the trends and future-state of innovative conferences. I shared my insights about the connectivity and experiential aspects one finds at the most successful conferences. I truly believe the most moving conference moments occur when people interact and share experiences; the learning and growing beyond simply absorbing a presenter’s subject matter. I approach the design of an environment to encourage rewarding interactions. While the challenge continues to be to create fresh solutions while considering the parameters of the conference and the space, our drive for innovative conference design continues. We are currently at work on three 2012 conferences that we are sure will be benchmarks for future success.

Why Certain Conference Innovators are Winning.

New, New, New

I was inspired to use big, bold, new Designtex fabrics for TED 2012 in Long Beach and Palm Springs. Interestingly,  these new fabrics were influenced by a clothing collection acquired by The Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe. Lots of patterns and textures, a little retro but all new. They have some interesting shots and descriptions on their site that are worth checking out.