enrolled in Siba‘s Commercial
Design class this winter are learning real-world lessons in
conceptualization, budget, and client consultation. They are working with Gateway to Dreams on the “Business Lodge
for Women,” project, an incubator workspace that is being designed for female
entrepreneurs in the community. After visiting the 6400 square foot retail
space at Chesterfield Mall formerly occupied by Hollister, the student
designers have taken on the assignment of contributing their ideas on ways to
re-imagine the existing floor plan into a co-working space.
Students toured the site and met with with some of the minds
behind the Lodge--Becky Noelker and Karen Hoffman, founder of Gateway to
Dreams. They learned about the organization, its goals, and the Ms. Noelker’s
and Ms. Hoffman’s visions for the workspace.
Students face some unique challenges with the space. Since
it was designed for retail, there is a large open area where the sales floor
used to be--as well as the much smaller spaces of former fitting rooms-- that
must be transformed into workable office and conference spaces. Students have
been tasked to think of ways to convert the fitting rooms into pods for individual
workspaces, designate a conference room space, and conceptualize a shared area
in which members can collaborate.
Another challenge the student designers face is budget. They
have been asked to look for frugal ways to implement their ideas. That will mean
utilizing donated furniture and finding creative, yet inexpensive, ways to
transform the space.
Students will present their ideas to organization leaders at
the end of the March. Stay tuned for updates on their design process!