Louer Facility Planning just completed work on three renovated offices for Global Brass & Copper – dba Olin Brass – in East Alton. Olin Brass, which traces its roots in East Alton back to 1892, embarked on the office renovation in order to reorganize office space to make it more modern and efficient.
Louer Facility Planning worked directly for Olin Brass but as part of a team with the architect and general contractor. Its focus was on interior finishes and furnishings that would not only meet the needs of the different work groups but also provide consistency across the three buildings.
The process begins, according to Jane Louer, company president, by meeting with the employees to understand their needs and requirements.
People are busy doing their jobs day in and day out, according to Louer, and don’t have the time to sit down and think about how their office functions or how it could function better. Office redesign is always an opportunity to look at how you work, she says, how groups interact and whether you ought to provide more privacy or more collaboration – which are the two ends of the spectrum. Once we understand people’s work requirements, Louer adds, we can make recommendations on the best designs and systems for their particular usage.
For the Olin Brass Project, Louer Facility Planning worked with three distinct groups: engineers who were directly involved in the manufacturing process; general administration personnel; and the information technology team. Each group had different interests and requirements and the work was phased over a year’s time to provide for an orderly transition.
Part of the challenge was that there were so many people that Louer Planning had to meet with and satisfy, according to Louer. The goal was to provide each of the groups with ample voice in the renovation and configuration of the space, yet maintain a level of consistency of design, materials and furnishings.
Three-fourths of Louer’s staff is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited. She is proud of the fact that the furnishings used in the Olin Brass office renovations, manufactured by Haworth, support LEED requirements, and that they’re made in America.
One important reason to hire a furniture expert like Louer Facility Planning is to make intelligent and informed decisions about layout, materials and furnishings, according to Louer. Selecting furniture that is durable and has a long life cycle – not a product that gets used up, worn out and thrown in a landfill after a few years – is important. Louer says she has clients who purchased Haworth products in 1982 and the products are still in use today.