Read Time: 3 minutes
With a whopping two weeks on SEGD staff, Clive asked me to pack my bags and head to Las Vegas in support of the 2019 Branded Environments. Having supported an array of associations in my professional tenure, ranging from academic primary care physicians at SGIM; interior designers at ASID and even manufacturing professionals at SME, I knew what I had to look forward to… a chilly room and banquet-quality coffee.
Once I settled in with my cup of Folgers at the convention center, what I found was a dynamic group of professionals that are transforming spaces to meet their clients’ demands ranging from boutique storefronts, public utility center and sports arenas. With over 150 attendees and a slate full of innovators, I was blown away by the quality of the presentations and conversations.
Below is my attempt at summarizing a truly impressive meeting.
Eric LeVine, principal at NBBJ highlighted how modern cities are embracing their constituency by leveraging EGD, public art and the core values of their citizens through the Seattle City Light project. Focusing on Seattle’s Denny Substation, a stunning addition to the South Lake Union neighborhood sets a model for other cities to emulate by blurring infrastructure into an expanding cityscape while creating an engaging community hub.
The next session, "Reflecting Workplace Culture Through Branded Environments,” was tackled by two separate presenter duos. First, was Jill Spaeth and Nathan Hill of Spaeth Hill, followed by Joe Lawton of Media-Objectives and Lacey Engelke of Adobe Design. These presentations demonstrated how corporations are manifesting their principles, ideologies and culture in their workspaces. While these offices facilitate productivity and functionality in modern spaces, they also act as recruitment and engagement tools that improve brand valuations and foster success.
Rounding out the morning was Braulio Baptista, partner and Jenny Lee, associate principal from ZGF and their “Grizzly-sized” challenge of bringing together architecture, interiors and graphics in the 2018 SEGD Global Design Awards Honor Award-winning Wasserman Football Center on the UCLA Campus. With just under 75,000 square feet, ZGF created a memorable experience that connects visitors to the long and proud heritage of the UCLA Bruins.
Post lunch, the participants broke out into small groups for more intimate roundtable discussions on topics, which included: setting client expectations, recruiting and maintaining creative talent, and “going digital” with technology and media development. These lively conversations allowed all involved to learn from each other and connect on a deeper personal level.
After an hour of discussions, the participants focus returned to brand and sports with Section 127’s Angela Hill and Kevin Gormal. This SEGD award-winning firm addressed how they have been helping sports and entertainment venues elevate their fan experiences. As an emerging leader in their marketplace, they showcased their focus on their brand activation development process and the particular value proposition they bring to their clients’ spaces.
Next, Keith Curtis, principal at Perkins+Will, spoke about how his firm has expanded its digital capability to surpass their client’s expectations. Furthermore, Keith highlighted what’s on the horizon for corporate consumers of EGD and how they expect to engage in a digitally transformed space.
Concluding the first day of Branded Environments 2019 was a talk on the “Future of Retail” with Eli Kuslansky, founding partner and chief strategist of Unified Field and Katie Sprague, Senior VP of CRTKL. While everything isn’t doom and gloom for brick and mortar retailers, they highlighted what traditional storefronts will need to update to remain competitive. These modifications include leveraging new technologies, embracing personalized digital experience, and repositioning brands to drive growth in retail.
The second day commenced with SEGD’s signature Insider Show Floor Tour of DSE by Jeff Everson of Daktronics. In its 5th year, Jeff highlighted the latest digital innovation in products and platforms for over 40 participants. Jeff’s approachable style help curate and emphasize new innovations and customizable solutions for your next digital project.
And that’s my summary of Branded Environments 2019! A sincere thank you to everyone that participated and made it such a memorable first meeting.
And now, it’s time for a non-Folger cup of coffee.
—Chris Wojcik, SEGD Chief of Professional Learning and Business Development
Photo credit to Kimberly Graydon, Designer, Spaeth Hill