Did you know that our Kolar team is comprised of experts with rich and diverse backgrounds? It’s part of what makes our workforce so unique. We’re a group of experts, strategic thinkers, brand experience gurus, creative designers, and project managers. But at our core, we all do the same thing. We translate a discovered truth about your business into design strategies that solve your business challenges while we optimize your costs and make your vision a reality.
Today, we’ll introduce you to just one of our extraordinary team members–Blake Kishler. Blake is a Senior Designer at Kolar, with experience across 2D, 3D, and virtual projects that allows him to communicate design concepts in a variety of ways. From dynamic media to murals to masterplan strategies, Blake enjoys assisting clients with developing a holistic approach to their environments, drawing meaningful connections between physical and digital.
Let’s get to know Blake and understand his perspective on workplace design, the new way of working, and his future ideas for Kolar.
How can workplace design impact brands and employees?
People are always delighted when a workplace reflects the personality of its brand. It’s what we’ve come to expect, and it feels exceptionally authentic, because it’s a commitment that extends all the way into the employees’ environment. Employees feel respected and empowered when they don’t feel a separation between a brand’s public image and the space and tools that they work with each day.
What is the new way of working and how has it changed companies’ cultures?
Of course, flexibility is key. In the migration back to the physical office, companies have found that employees overwhelmingly prefer a hybrid setup (60%, according to a 2022 Gallup poll) over fully in-person or fully remote work. Collaboration tools have become more streamlined to be equally useful to in-office or remote employees. The pandemic created much needed respect for the challenges of balancing work and life, and successful companies invest in the materials needed to keep employees happy and productive regardless of their preferred work environment.
How do you think Kolar is impacting design across different environments?
Designs always originate from the values of the client. Because of the timing of construction projects, a client’s digital presence is often far ahead of their physical presence, and it’s our task to make their spaces welcoming and reflective of (or hopefully beyond!) what people expected before they arrived. Over the past few years Kolar has fine-tuned the discovery process to provide insights that identify the areas of greatest impact, so we can zero in on what will be most valuable (hint: the answer isn’t always “more graphics!”). With experiential graphic design and interior design capabilities on our team, we’re able to envision and execute the whole experience.
That process translates across our sectors, whether it’s a workplace, a healthcare facility, a university, or an entire community. That’s not to say it’s “one size fits all” – quite the opposite! The insights phase makes the design phases more targeted and efficient, and centered around each project’s unique needs, so it’s clear to our clients how they will benefit from our partnership. That is one of the greatest compliments we receive from our clients: that we are a true partner to them.
What inspires you most as a leader at Kolar?
Seeing the meaningfulness of the work we get to do. We collect pre- and post-project surveys to capture quantitative data and qualitative statements, but often it’s the observed outcomes that bring the greatest validation. When a child in intensive care smiles at a mural we’ve created, every second of hard work was worth it.
Has anything you learned through your experience at Kolar surprised you?
Our ability to connect the dots when bringing a project to reality. It’s easy to get a client excited about a rendering, but it’s rare to find a firm like Kolar that can talk to zoning commissions, donor groups, artists, and engineers to ensure that every aspect of a project moves in sync, and the final result looks and feels smart.
Where do you envision Kolar in the next ten years?
We have added so much multidisciplinary capability over the past few years, and I see that continuing to grow!