Transform Design Workshop from VP Creative Shannon Cochran's Perspective



At Patcraft, we are curious observers, taking intentional steps to not only observe the world around us for inspiration, but also to reflect on how we engage with our customers and the design community. Our partnership with Design Milk to co-host the Transform Design Workshops has, for three years, been a way for our team to engage on an intimate level with designers.  Through these events, we have connected with people from across the country, and through thoughtful conversation, we have learned more about what motivates and inspires them and how they seek mindfulness.  We’ve asked the questions to better understand their processes, as well as any challenges and needs.  An important part of these experiences is making connections, and we’ve made many lasting relationships over the years.
Lyuba_home-office-coworker-Aria.jpgThe 2020 Transform Design Workshop provided an opportunity for us to reimagine the format, which we took online and broke into two virtual events, allowing us to broaden our reach and connect with a larger audience. The first workshop was similar to our previous events from 2018 and 2019, as it was a smaller, more intimate group of participants. This initial conversation helped to shape the content and discussion for our larger second event, which was attended by more than 300 people.  

For both of the events, Jaime Derringer, founder of Design Milk, moderated a panel discussion that I joined with WGSN Consultant Director, Jennifer Edwards, and we had two different interior designers with us for the separate workshops.  During our October workshop, Nujhat Jahid-Alam, senior occupancy planner, CBRE Global Workplace (Coca-Cola), shared her perspectives on design, and in December, Jenna Sheingold, creative director and principal interior designer at Jenna Sheingold Studio, joined the conversation.  
Our focus this year was on consumer drivers-- those innate feelings and emotions we all have that really impact how we experience the world around us-- and how these drivers influence and inform design.  To introduce and provide background for these topics, Jaime asked questions of Jennifer, who defined consumer drivers, sharing insight into the forces and events that shape specific consumer sentiments, and ultimately, drive their behaviors.  For those not familiar with WGSN, they are a subscription based research company that identifies trends for a variety of business segments including fashion, food, automotive, and of course, commercial interior design. We have subscribed to their services for more than a decade to understand what the current trends are and how consumer drivers impact the way people feel and interact with our products and within the spaces our products are used.
T1-Balnce-IRL-Tech-Sound_Off_Yoga.jpgDuring our conversations we discussed how this year, the consumer driver of wellness has really accelerated.  Today we’re seeing this both in terms of a focus on personal wellness, and also in expectations for how spaces can help to keep people feel safe and comforted. More than ever, people want to be connected for the human experience through aesthetics, patterns, lighting, flow of the space, and design that mimics nature. Biophilic design has been on the rise the last few years, and that again has been accelerated by this need for patterns and textures that are rooted in nature to help create a natural sense of place. Our inside-out approach to design allows us to ensure we are creating products with the type of colors and textures that help us to connect emotionally to a physical space, while also ensuring we use ingredients that are safe for people and the planet.
T2-AdaptaSpace_03_A_Little_Design_A_Little_Design_micro_apartment_Taipei(1).jpgWhile wellness is a big consumer driver, we also had great discussion around collaboration and connection and what important pieces those are to an organization’s culture. Flooring is a great solution for creating spaces that promote connectivity and help people feel more comfortable within changing environments. By using products in a more intuitive and thoughtful way - shapes for subtle control of movement, color for visual cues and guidance, texture and pattern for connection - we are able to set the tone for a space, promoting the functionality and productivity for the end-user.  

How a space is designed has such an impact on the emotive experience of individuals, and as we are living in this wild - and uncertain - time that began in 2020, it's important that we are creating products that incorporate calming colors and soft and welcoming textures.
It was an honor to share how our Patcraft Product Development team works through design ideas based on consumer drivers and other feedback we receive from our customers, and also to hear how others on the panel use this information in their own work. I encourage anyone who missed the Transform Design Workshop to take a listen here

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