Norma Escandon Michaels of NM Interiors Group wins ASID Design Award for TASC Inc. Corporate Offices

NM Interiors is excited to announce that Norma Escandon Michaels has been awarded Honorable Mention for Business Office over 5,000 sf at the recent ASID Awards Dinner.  Her award winning project is: the renovation of TASC Inc. Corporate Offices.

Norma Escandon Michaels, ASID
Norma Escandon Michaels, ASID

TASC Inc. is a non-profit drug testing and treatment service provider. After years of piece-meal expansion in various locations, this drug-testing and treatment facility headquartered in Phoenix found a building to house their corporate headquarters. The corporate leadership concluded that significant business efficiencies could be achieved by consolidating the multiple offices and facilities housing its corporate leadership, clinical laboratory and behavioral health services programs in a single, centrally located facility.

A 41,600-square foot building constructed in the early 1970s was found, the structure had been remodeled at various points and served as the headquarters for the local Channel 5 TV station. Nonetheless, much of the existing office space was dated or evidenced significant neglect. Its main elements consisted of a single-story office wing, a two-story office wing, and a high-bay area. award photo revised

To accommodate and welcome the range of clients and associates using the facility, the original lobby was expanded. As part of the built out, a drug testing and urine collection facility was created. Several large, asymmetrically located, circular surface-mounted light fixtures housed in a custom soffit area constitute the outstanding design elements in this area – bringing light and increasing the overall visual space. Extremely durable lobby seating was provided which was needed due to requirements requested by the client.

TASC Main Lobby
TASC Main Lobby

A corporate administration area takes full advantage of the existing office space, re-purposed to provide a significant variety of office configurations and the flexibility that a growing organization needs. The new spaces include private and shared offices; an executive conference room; a secondary break out area, two multi-purpose meeting/training rooms; a large break room with a full kitchen; a mail, file and copy room; and staff restrooms. A large lounge seating area just outside of the boardroom serves as a private lobby and break-out space. This has proved to be a high-use area.

TASC Administration Area Waiting Area
TASC Administration Area Waiting Area

The first floor of the two-story office wing assigned to Counseling was re-designed to provide private and shared office spaces; a customer service “fishbowl;” a group meeting room with an operable partition; a large corporate training center; a small break/coffee room; and public restrooms.

Much of the second floor of this wing was gutted. The resulting reconfiguration resulted in the creation meeting rooms and offices. An elevator was added to provide accessibility to the second floor, and the stairs were modernized with frosted glass panel and stainless steel railings.

The furniture package created for this busy, high-traffic facility emphasized extreme durability, personal comfort and safety. To ensure visual consistency and comfort, the client was provided with a standardized color palette. This color palette is now used at all of the client’s new facilities and coordinates with the corporate brand.

TASC Boardroom
TASC Boardroom

Throughout the design process, special emphasis was placed on security. Distinct security requirements were defined and implemented for private spaces and public spaces, with strict attention to HIPPA regulations and specifications. Applicable security features included secure file rooms, quadrant-specific, key-cards for doors ensuring limited access to approved individuals, and appropriate monitor-installations.

 

Tenant Improvement Checklist by NM Interiors Group

I have been asked so many times over the years, what is the process involved in designing and building a commercial space, a Tenant Improvement.  So I collaborated with a contractor to create a checklist which explains every step of the process.  Below is the first page of the checklist.  For the full checklist refer to our Tools page on the www.nminteriors.biz website.

Later!

Norma…

Construction design process

Tenant Improvement Process

 

 

Interior Design Review of Best Western Premier Property-Santiago, Chile

Was in Santiago, Chile to review a Best Western Premier property and extended my visit time and was able to spend a week in Chile.  The hotel was lovely, below are some photos.  This property is located in a upscale area in Santiago not far from the main business district and a few blocks from a very large mall and park.  The views from the hotel were stunning. The Best Western Premier Marina Las Condes Hotel was a wonderful experience!

NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 12 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 14 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 13 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 15 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 16 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 17 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 18 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 20 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 2 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 1 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 25 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 26 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 24 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 22 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 23 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 21 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 19 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 4 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 3 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 5 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 6 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 7 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 8 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 10 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 9 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile BW Premier Property Visit 11

Architecture – Santiago, Chile

The architecture in Santiago, Chile was contemporary and beautiful. Green practices were incorporated in most of the buildings – predominately high rise buildings.  Both business and residential buildings were multi-level.  The infrastructure and transportation system for the city was amazing. 

NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 5 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 1

NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 18 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 17 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 10 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 8 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 7 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 6NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 13 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 14 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 15 NM Interiors Travel Santiago Chile Architecture 16

Interior Design Sketches-Retina Group in Mesa, AZ

I have been working on a total remodel of an Eye surgeons office in Mesa over the last several months.  Quite excited as the design is developing nicely and the colors/finishes/textures are going to be fantastic.  The waiting room desk was a challenge.  The client/Dr. wants a nice separation between the waiting room and office area.  The solution is custom sliding glass window system which will serve to create some privacy and also give the client the spa-like appearance she wants.  See sketch above! Some of the glass panels at the sliding windows will be frosted.  I am excited to see the final product!

 

Later!

Norma…

Retina Rendering

The Retina Group- Sketch at Doctor’s Office Workstation

For the doctors private office the goal is to create a space that is somewhat flexible and open.  I designed an L-shaped workstation in order to keep the space open in the center of the room as much as possible.  The Doctor will have a small table in the center of the room for small meetings.  She likes wood furniture, but for her needs a wood-look plastic laminate is the answer.  See my rough sketch below and a photo of a similar workstation she liked.  So nice that the options keeping increasing so that we as designers can truly create a space that is specific to the needs of the user!

 

Later! Norma…

The Retina Group_Sketch at Doctors Office Workstation_Blog Post Photo

Remodel of the Glendale, AZ Civic Center – signage and carpet design package

We recently completed the partial remodel of the Glendale Civic Center.  The design services included custom carpet tile at the common areas and ballroom – the carpet manufacturer is Milliken which has great color options and a new signage program – Century Signs.  This provided a fresh look for the existing facility.  The Glendale Civic Center is a lovely facility which has large interior and exterior spaces which are available for corporate events, weddings, reunions and other functions.  Located about 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix with ample parking I was impressed with this gem when I was first approached by the city for assistance in improving their facilities.  

 

Later!

Norma…             

DSCI0195

DSCI0193

DSCI0194

DSCI0192

DSCI0199

Hotel Design Review for Best Western-Quito, Ecuador

I am back from my trip to Quito, Ecuador where I evaluated a hotel for Best Western.  It was a short trip, but very memorable.  I was able to stand on the equator, the yellow line is the dividing line, “Mitad del  Mundo” (the middle of the world).  Smack dab in the center of the world.

What an experience.  The hotel that I visited is the only Best Western in Ecuador and located in the center of Quito.  Across the street from the hotel is the city’s largest shopping center, and the historic colonial district is not far away.  Quito is the highest capital city in the world, with a population of about 2.5 million.  When I arrived I was told that many experience some real issues due to the altitude.  Lucky for me, I felt fine.

The people I met with were lovely, and I was able to get some insight into the country and culture.  They use the US dollar for their currency, it is my guess that has really helped to stabilize the economy, etc.  The cost of living seems high, discussed some basic items with the locals as far as costs and for instance a head of lettuce runs about $3.00, homes average between 80K and 100K with pent houses in the center of town costing around $1,500.00 per month.  However, the average wage is $300.00 per month.  Autos are more expensive there it sounds like they run about $5K-$7K more than in Phoenix, and most don’t have the necessary safety features that are required here, i.e. airbags, etc.  Getting around town in a car involves some forethought.  Due to the city’s density , pollution, population – they have restrictions on dates/times of car travel based on license plate numbers.  They have a new airport, small by our standards but nice, which just opened about a week before my arrival, and is about an hour out of town.  I arrived late at night, and as we drove to the hotel – I saw many homes and businesses along the sides of the road.  Most looked more like shacks from my vantage point.  Almost no lights on, aside from the street lighting which was pretty intense.  Hardly any graffiti.

We arrived at the hotel – it is about 19 years old and has an old world design feel, which included ornate interiors and an extensive art collection in the lobby with impressive colonial style pieces. This is a city of such history and beauty.

The hotel is a nine story structure with incredible views of the city from each story. Soon a Sushi Bar will open on the 9th floor which will have stunning views as well.  I was shown such hospitality by the hotel and the manager and staff could not have been nicer.  I was given a private tour of the Equator which is located not far from the city and is situated in a park with museums, gift shops, restaurants, etc. where the art and culture of Ecuador can be enjoyed.  I was not familiar with the local art and artists.  I saw a small museum with the artwork of Oswaldo Gyayasamin, who I was told is the most famous of Ecuadorian artists – world renowned.  The museum was small, but I was quite enamored with his work.

After the visit to the equator, we went to the Colonial part of town.  I was short on time so it was a car tour.  I did take a few photos along the way, and the architecture was amazing.  See photos below for some examples of the old town area.

We drove up to a mountain, Mirador de Panecillo.  The statue of the Virgin Mary stands on top overlooking the city.  Visible from most of the city, and based on a colonial statue of the Virgin of Quito, the 134 ½ foot tall aluminum monument was erected in 1976.

Had to take a flight back with a 7AM departure – way too early, but must say I will always remember this trip and the wonderful hospitality I encountered.

While reviewing the hotel  – I provided some ideas/sketches,  below I have shown a few of the ideas I had.

The exterior parking lot had a variety of plant types – not of a clear theme. As  seen below.  As a suggestion for providing a more upgraded consistent appearance I have shown below a suggested look for that area of planting.  Note: provide planting of varied heights, nicely trimmed with rock and other ground covering.

NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 14_Planting for blog

In the lobby there are several seating areas with furniture which is identical in style and fabric.  It is necessary to replace the sofa with a fully upholstered sofa.  Ensure that the sofa incorporates the cream tones of the lobby as well as blue or green tones such as are provided in other areas of the hotel.  Provide side tables to coordinate with this arrangement.  A new large area rug which coordinates with the color scheme should be added as well.

http://www.bwpremierquito.com/index.php?id_lang=ES

 

NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 15_sofa sketch for blog

 

NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 1 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 2 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 8 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 9 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 10 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 11 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 7 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 6 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 5 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 4 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 3 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 13 NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 12

 

 

Art in Costa Rica

Lovely Art in Costa Rica.  The downtown area in San Jose had several museums, I was particularly taken with the sculptures and tile work! The existing interior walls were left to original condition in the museum shown below.  Lovely architectural textures with centuries of layers peeled away in spots. I was in San Jose on a South American design training session for Best Western International.

 

Best Western Irazu, San Jose, Costa Rica

Travel link to San Jose Costa Rica

Travel information on San Jose Costa Rica

Later!

Norma…

DSC00093 Revised DSC00094 Revised photo 14 Revised photo 17 Revised DSC00048 Revised DSC00051 Revised DSC00068 Revised DSC00075 Revised DSC00076 Revised 2 DSC00076 Revised DSC00077 Revised DSC00078 Revised DSC00081 Revised DSC00082 Revised DSC00092 Revised