Home: New York, NY
Education: B.S. in Interior Design, University of Bridgeport
With more than 15 years of professional experience and a diverse portfolio, Connor explores multi-sensory environments that combine sustainability with research-based workplace strategies. A graduate of the University of Bridgeport with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, Connor is an Associate Principal and Senior Designer at Perkins Eastman, a global design giant and New York’s largest architectural firm.
Q. What are your core design beliefs with regards to selecting and applying materials?
A. I believe materials should reflect the power of the institution in which they are being used. In the context of corporate interiors, specified finishes should relate to both the culture of the organization, the surrounding community and the geographical location. Also, all finishes should be sustainable and responsibly manufactured. When looking at finishes on architectural features and furniture with a long life span, care should be taken to avoid being too trendy. I believe that the more trend driven and fashion forward examples belong in accent pieces and easily updateable elements.
Q. What do you need to know about a client before materials can be defined?
A. We always ask “why” at every turn. We want to know what the client’s goals are before we begin and how these goals will drive various design choices. These goals can be business-related, such as improving culture and performance to improve speed to market, or more related to budget limitations. We also want to understand a client’s brand, including what has worked and what hasn’t in the past. This could help determine what finishes and/or colors have proven to be more durable.
Q. What role do materials play in your overall design, and at what stage do you introduce them?
A. Materials play a very important role in supporting the architectural design narrative. They can often take a project from good to amazing, depending on the successful use of things like color and texture. Simple concepts like these two elements are introduced immediately after (and sometimes during) the planning process. What comes after that is the definition of the details like a specific color, fabric or wood selection.
Q. How can material selections impact the mindset of workers?
A. Materials can greatly impact the health and well-being of workers. The value range of a finish can reduce eyestrain in work areas by limiting brightness contrast with exterior windows and on systems panels where eyes will bounce on and off a digital display screen. The right finishes can evoke connections to nature through non-rhythmic patterning, or create direct connections to nature through the use of real hardwood finishes. These biophilic elements are proven to reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning.
Q. What material trends have you noticed in the office?
A. Materials have become more approachable in that they often feel more residential or hospitality driven. This creates more variation, and sometimes more risk, with bolder use of color and patterns. There is also a trend toward creating more warmth by using textiles with a softer natural hand or wood finishes. Large corporate workplaces have recently become much less cookie cutter, with a cultural shift that is demanding more tailored and bespoke solutions. The tolerance for working in any environment even remotely resembling a cube farm has ended. This has allowed for more exciting and layered environments aimed at improving productivity and well-being.