A Touch of Graham

Kimery Wealth Management

When asking a potential client to entrust you with the fruits of their labor – their wealth and financial well-being – they will consider a number of things: a company’s track record, reputation, the institutional knowledge, competency and professionalism of its staff. And, believe it or not, a company’s physical environment holds a significant amount of sway in establishing confidence in a wealth management firm.

Our task with Kimery Wealth Management in Memphis was to impart a feeling to visitors that they are walking into a well-established, solid and successful business. Kimery is a privately-owned investment advisory practice that specializes in family wealth advising and institutional consulting for individuals, family groups, and non-profits. They provide sophisticated investment strategies; likewise, the space from which they provide these services required a sophisticated approach.

Clients entering Kimery’s offices step into a refined receiving area in which marble floors and tasteful lighting impart a timeless aesthetic. We avoided trends in colors and accents, opting instead for a neutral palette and the understated elegance of lilies. By telling a cohesive design story throughout this commercial space, we achieved our client’s vision for a space that conveys a sense of roots and stability, qualities that go a long way in establishing trust when finances are involved.

Art and Function of Lighting

Flip a switch, the light goes on. Flip it again, the light goes off. We do it almost mindlessly, taking for granted the strategy involved in properly illuminating a space. Whether residential or commercial, a great deal of thought goes into the art and function of lighting in environmental and architectural design.

Humans need to see clearly and comfortably to function, and generally the activity that will take place dictates the way in which the space will be lit. In all cases, the scale of the space is a primary consideration, and we establish contrast by varying the light levels throughout, creating lighter and darker areas – not just for aesthetic purposes but also for the distinct uses within the space. In commercial design, however, the space is lit in a fashion that isn’t always task-oriented, but directionally oriented in order to highlight a product or create atmosphere.

In restaurant spaces, lighting helps achieve the mood one is promised with their dining experience. There is a delicate balance to strike, with too much or too little lighting causing frustration in customers whose meal is marred by a garishly lit table or the inability to see their food or dining companion. We find that too often dining rooms are over lit and believe that as a general rule the most soothing lighting strategy for restaurant patrons is one in which just 25 percent of your light is utilized. Color palette, surface textures, available natural light, hours of operation and focal points/points of interest are just a few of the factors taken into consideration when developing an overall lighting strategy as the goal is to achieve a cohesive look and feel in mood throughout the entire space.

Much the way proper lighting enhances a customer’s experience in a restaurant, it also can create a positive experience in a retail setting. The same basic principles apply, with shoppers’ perceptions of the space and merchandise influenced by a well-executed lighting scheme. Again, levels of brightness should be varied. Spotlights are used deliberately, as are backlit panels, to showcase certain merchandise, with the overall lighting design appropriate to the brand and vibe of the store.

The art of lighting involves creativity, of course, but knowledge of its effects on a subjective level indicates a true professional. Graham Reese Design Group marries art and function to ensure that from every angle your business is seen in the best possible light.

Considerations in Commercial Design

When it comes to commercial design, one size does not fit all. Every project is unique, with its own style, brand and function to consider. While there is no cookie-cutter solution, one can approach each project with a philosophy that guides the design. The core of the philosophy is functionality, around which the various other elements of commercial design will take their cues.

Typically, Graham Reese Design Group’s clients seek an upscale, boutique feel in which rich materials, understated design elements and sophisticated lighting are prominent. Regardless of the scale of the project, a business’s fundamental purpose will serve as the launching pad for our job of interpreting their brand identity in a physical space. After the primary function has been determined, we are tasked with making the space serviceable as well as visually pleasing.

Exceptional commercial design will result in an innovative and inviting branded environment with minimal wasted space. Appropriately laid-out corridors that make navigation easy is vital for customer experience. Design that is conducive to employee productivity is also imperative. Graham Reese Design Group likes utilizing glass where possible to take advantage of the benefits of natural light, which are not only aesthetic but also known to play a part in worker efficiency. Additionally, it is wise to consider incorporating areas that allow people to gather by providing employees with perceived “support spaces” in which coworkers can congregate.

Finally, but certainly not last, Graham Reese Design Group places an emphasis on creating a signature lobby. It is not only a customer’s first impression, but it also marks the beginning of an enterprise’s entire space and sets the tone for the experience one can expect beyond the lobby. If commercial design is executed properly, the foundation of functionality will naturally support a business’s personality as expressed through its brand story.

The Art and Function of Floating Ceilings

Floating ceilings are a trending design element, and they bring both style and function to any space. Adding a floating ceiling to a space will engage corridors and rooms, so that it isn’t just a plain and flat ceiling. This design upgrade is also relatively inexpensive to do, for the impact it will have.

Adding a suspended ceiling has a two way design function. Not only can you dress up your flat ceiling, but you also have the opportunity to conceal any wiring or piping, to avoid negative visual impact. Using a suspended ceiling will also add an engaging and dramatic impact, incorporates a way finding tool, and adds importance to an area of your space. An example in my portfolio is the High Cotton Brewery Tap Room, where I added a floating ceiling above the bar, utilizing colorful wood planks for design, while also highlighting one of the most important areas of the room.

Adding a floating ceiling to a commercial building can also highlight prominent areas for guests, like a reception area or a conference room. When I am designing a commercial office, I prefer to use floating ceilings in design, as the floor and walls need to remain functional. A suspended ceiling allows room for “play” in my design, and helps add an essence of contrast and design without compromising the function of the office. One of my favorite commercial spaces where a floating ceiling added a powerful design element to the space is at Metropolitan Bank, above the reception desk.

Adding a suspended or floating ceiling adds an incredible impact to the design of any space, while also easy on the wallet. I appreciate this design element’s ability to not only add dimension to any space, but provide function to those who use it.

The Orchid

A quick way to tell if Graham Reese has designed a space, is to look for an orchid. This flower is a go-to with this design group, because no matter the space, an orchid will add a sensual and simplistic element to any space; commercial, retail, or otherwise.

This flower will instill a zen or comforting feeling to your guests, which is why it is the flower of choice in our spaces.