Workplace consultancy (a design perspective)

Three years ago, I started working in KVA Architects Ltd in Helsinki as an interior designer. This is the field of expertise that I had studied in Lahti Institute of design. However, soon after starting in KVA I found myself working in different work projects and even participated in a workplace manager course. I work with architects and designers. Our head of the team in the KVA is Ritva Kokkola. She is playing a huge role in mentoring me in this fascinating field of workplace consultancy.

In my opinion, as a designer, I can understand the processes of a workplace design project quite well as it doesn’t differ so much from a normal design process. I love to engage users and participants in order to be able to create spaces that serve its users the best possible way. I am blessed to be able to work on projects within schools, laboratories and offices. My biggest passion is in the learning environment development which I have been researching during my studies and also in an ongoing book project.

But what do I actually do from day to day? Let me give a peek to one of my workday’s:

8.30: I started the day in our office where I attended a morning brunch with clients. My role was to speak about the workplace and learning environment developments in schools. As I enjoy lecturing a lot, this was a real energy boost for my day.

10.00: I sat down to our working café, answered some e-mails and had a bite to eat before my next meeting.

11.00: I had a meeting with one of our school-clients. On the agenda, we had the planning of a workshop to the personnel and a discussion on the pedagogical vision of the school.  My role was to present the project situation, agenda for the workshop and visualize their ideas from the last meeting to create discussion. I had made three scenarios of the learning space which will be a starting point for our workshop. We have these so-called work meetings every two weeks to involve the user in the process and its development.

12.30 I headed to my home-office, continued planning the workshop for next week and answered some e-mails.

15.30 Before the end of the day, I wrote down a to-do-list and three main goals to organize my next week.

Like one can see, my workdays can be full of meetings and co-designing with users and clients. Mostly, my role is to organize and create project schedules, frames for workshops, meetings and seminars. I do a lot of visualization of ideas to create discussion which can mean diagrams, 3D models or summaries. Normally, in these kinds of development projects, the end-document is a concept and in some cases also room programme. The best part of my work is definitely the overall participatory design process. This means that I am in contact with the users and we create visions of the future together.

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