Sun setting behind the Frisch Welcome Center

February 8, 2021

Interior Design Is Part of the Fabric of Haskell Projects

Collaboration from the project design phase through construction allows efficient and holistic integration.


Typically, interior designers do not exchange multiple phone calls per day with construction project managers. But that sort of close collaboration is how Haskell executes projects more quickly, efficiently and with greater attention to detail than other companies.

While many think of interior design as a “back-end” service, Charlotte Haines, Lead Interior Designer at Haskell, and her team work with clients from the project’s inception to develop their vision. Sitting at the table next to architects and engineers from the beginning ensures an integrated design and faster results.

It also prevents contractors from having to interpret design details in the field without assistance -- or worse, having to design the project as it is being built, which can occur with other design firms.

“Communication and integration really sets us apart,” said Haines.

In Ericsson’s 300,000-square-foot 5G factory in Texas, a command center was designed to have illuminated light from the ceiling. Tasked with realizing this vision, Haines designed a light fabric system to make the ceiling “glow.”

Her job didn’t stop there. She then needed to work with mechanical and electrical engineers, the fire protection engineer and an AV consultant to integrate the fabric ceiling with air conditioning, sprinklers, fire codes and suspended monitors.

“That’s the type of design detail that other disciplines may not think about as closely,” Haines said. “If you don’t get those details established from the beginning … you may have a design disaster that could cost Haskell time and money.”

Creating Designs that Work

Interior design as a support service touches every market and delivery group at Haskell, from Infrastructure and Transportation to Consumer Products, Healthcare, government projects and more. Designers work on various project types, from boat maintenance facilities for the U.S. Coast Guard to daycare facilities to high-end office buildings, and everything in between.

Working on a variety of projects expands the interior design team’s knowledge base and creativity. It also provides ample opportunity to implement design trends like ergonomics and sustainability.

Ergonomics is the science of fitting a workspace to the user’s needs, aiming to increase productivity and comfort. Today’s ergonomic trends, such as sit-to-stand desks and adjustable monitors and keyboard platforms, focus on combating the effects of sedentary behaviors such as sitting all day.

This trend has also resulted in the creation of “work zones,” which allow employees alternative working environments to typical workstations or private offices. Offices are implementing zones for meetings, breakout spaces, resources and social areas, such as a break room with foosball and ping pong tables.

Workplaces may also implement resident zones to make the office feel more comfortable. Haines said resident zones would be more important following shelter-in-place orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

“People got a taste of working from home. When they come back to the office, they are going to want it to feel safer and more like home,” she said.

Zones provide flexibility in school designs, as well. This is done through walls that open between classrooms for multi-class learning or flexible learning environments that use bean bag chairs in addition to desks to suit individual learning styles.

Sustainability is also top-of-mind for clients who want products that minimize overall environmental impacts and contribute to a healthier living space. Haskell designers are careful to select finishes that have low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that contain recycled content and that are recyclable or renewable. Consideration is given to products that have an impact on energy savings and acoustics, too.

Haskell Interior Designers design sustainably with another trend, biophilia, the human desire or tendency to commune with nature. Biophilia inspired a green wall for a cafe, “living, breathing” vertical garden that improves air quality and acts as artwork, Haines said.

The desire to connect with nature also informed Haskell’s design of the Jacksonville University Frisch Family Welcome Center, which won the AIA Excellence in Design Award.

The 12,000-square-foot welcome center’s design is a subtle play on the university’s oak tree logo and dolphin mascot. The building’s up-and-down shape mimics dolphins jumping, while inside, a two-story wall of windows resembles waves catching sunlight.

Internal Growth and Change

As demand grows for interior design, it is clear the department needs to grow, as well.

Haines joined Haskell more than 20 years ago and was recently named the Jacksonville office’s first Lead Interior Designer, and the designation is one she hopes to use to grow her department, pass on knowledge through mentorship, and expand work with Haskell delivery groups.

“It’s all about educating others,” she said. “Once other team members understand what we do, they better understand how we can create well-thought-out spaces and add value to projects.”

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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