Robyn Gonzalez, Interiors
Castle Rock, CO
Robyn joined the firm’s Castle Rock Interiors team in April 2020 in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, but was able to hit the ground running utilizing her 12 years of industry experience to help shape the interiors of our educational spaces. An expert in furniture and its integration into spaces to support users, we asked Robyn a few questions about furniture integration and how it lends itself to flexibility and comfort for both students and educators.
How can furniture impact a space?
Furniture impacts a space in a lot of ways, from choice to flexibility and aesthetics. It really completes the space and solidifies the overall design while providing added functionality. For students and educators, furniture is a great flexible option for various teaching methods. Whether choosing large group learning, individual study or small group collaboration, furniture makes it easy and comfortable to seamlessly flow between various activities.
How does furniture integration work with our co-create process?
We begin furniture discussions early in the process, incorporating feedback from the Design Advisory Group and stakeholder groups to explore the wants and needs for the spaces we are designing. I really enjoy hearing all the feedback from teachers and administrators to help us support various curriculum needs, bringing design and education mindsets together to achieve a common goal. This feedback and our co-creation process identifies potential problems early and ensures the end result is a functional space where everyone can feel comfortable.
Renovations can be a challenge – tell us how furniture can make a difference in renovation projects.
Furniture integration is vital to renovation projects. Even something as simple as updating a desk changes the spaces and how they are used. New layouts and furniture can introduce new options to meet needs and increase function in a space, without having to completely rebuild a space or make major changes to the structure. Taking it one step further, our graphics team is incredible at creating a cohesive mood or experience in a space with environmental graphics complementing our interiors and furniture.
How has furniture integration changed in the past 10 years?
I have noticed in schools specifically that classrooms are shifting from individual seats to collaborative spaces with different seating options. Whether it be desks that can be maneuvered to fit together, or larger tables where students can sit at and work collaboratively, the standard individual desks many of us grew up with are evolving. Many clients now incorporate comfortable seating options like wobble stools and seating at various heights. I also see it happening in all other spaces in their own ways.
What do you see coming next for furniture?
Technology, careers and lifestyles are evolving quickly and we have to adapt. Furniture has come a long way and continues to evolve, but I think we will see a lot of changes in the design, functionality and thinking of spaces to be used in different ways we haven’t necessarily seen before. Multi-use spaces and flexibility are key, and technology integration will become more prevalent as we continue down this digital path.
What’s been one of your most memorable projects?
I enjoyed working with the Cherry Creek School District on a number of renovation projects. It was really inspiring to work with each school and their respective committees to be a part of the discussion. They brought a lot of passion to the process and it was awesome to see their desire to design spaces and provide tools to best support students so they could succeed in this ever-changing world. It is incredibly rewarding to be a part of projects where you can see the impact your designs are making on people.
Note: this work was completed while with a previous firm.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not designing at HMA?
I enjoy spending my time with my family (our two pups), friends and traveling – hopefully we can get back to doing that freely in the near future! I also enjoy being involved in the community to make change and volunteer my time with Women in Design – Denver.