Clients Want to Differentiate Their Properties and Are Looking to Custom Solutions to Do It

Benefits and Drawbacks

As noted earlier, companies need to set themselves apart from the competition and, as such, custom design solutions are a benefit unto themselves as a point of differentiation to attract customers and employees.

A long, sleek reception desk was inspired by the forms of cruise ships and custom-built for Virgin Voyages by the design team at IA Interior Architects.
A long, sleek reception desk was inspired by the forms of cruise ships and custom-built for Virgin Voyages by the design team at IA Interior Architects.

“I think that’s one of the benefits of definitely making that statement and making that impact with a space,” Reid says. “If you’re a company that has a lot of guests in your space, you want to impress them,” and custom-designed products are an effective way to do it.

Even for companies that don’t entertain guests, the need to make a statement with unique space design is equally important given that employees can now choose to work from home rather than come into the office. “You have that temptation to work from home every day, but you really want to get your employees back into the office and give them a sense of community,” Reid explains. “There are a lot of benefits to being in the office and collaborating with your coworkers and learning from people. If you’re giving them a nice place to work, then they’re going to come into the office rather than work from home.”

Amador agrees a distinctive space that speaks to a client’s brand and culture is a huge benefit of doing custom work that can’t always be achieved with off-the-shelf products. “When it’s custom, it’s tailored to that client,” Amador points out.

While bespoke furniture, products, and designs are attractive and create one-of-a-kind looks, they often do come with a bigger price tag.

“It definitely impacts budget,” Amador says, noting custom products are typically more expensive to manufacture than standard ones. As a result, she says it’s important to offset custom solutions with standard products to stay within budget. “If done correctly, you can still get the high impact [of custom work] and balance the budget, which is very important.”

To reduce costs, designers often choose off-the-shelf products but work with
manufacturers to change certain details to give them a custom feel. Reid recalls one project in which she chose a stock carpet but asked the manufacturer to create a custom-colored yarn for the client. “Since the pattern was standard, it didn’t increase the cost of the carpet at all. That was something the client was very excited about,” she recalls.

Another potential challenge with custom work is longer lead times, depending on the type, size and number of products ordered. “You definitely have to be mindful of schedule,” Reid notes. “But if you make sure to incorporate those custom pieces early on in the design process and you’re making sure you’re on top of those pieces on a weekly basis with the company, then it shouldn’t be an issue.”

Lastly, Amador says the biggest drawback to custom work is client expectations. “Drawings and 3D renderings can often be very different than the final product,” she says. While it’s easy for designers to envision how a concept will look installed, clients may not fully understand what they’re getting or how it will look, so communication is essential. “It’s really important to set expectations with your client and let them know this is a rendering,” Amador explains. “It’s important to point out how colors and other details may vary so when they are onsite, they’re happy with the end results.”

Manufacturers who can help designers arrive at a design that's as close to their vision as possible, as well as provide solutions when problems arise, are invaluable.
Manufacturers who can help designers arrive at a design that’s as close to their vision as possible, as well as provide solutions when problems arise, are invaluable.

Other Factors to Consider

For a custom design solution to be successful, Amador says finding a good partner is key. Manufacturers who can help designers arrive at a design that’s as close to their vision as possible, as well as provide solutions when problems arise, are invaluable.

“I’ve had wonderful partners I’ve worked with where sometimes the end result isn’t what we wanted, but they’ll work with you instead of saying ‘bye’ and leaving you with the product. They’ll try to fix it and try to come up with a solution,” Amador explains.

Reid suggests requesting multiple shop drawings from suppliers and holding regular review meetings with clients to ensure everyone knows what to expect with the end product and that it meets their needs. “Because it’s custom, you never know what you’re going to get unless you’re requesting to see multiple drawings and renderings and elevations of the product,” she says. “And because the client is spending money and time on this item, it’s important they feel it’s authentic to the company’s brand, and it’s really representing what they were expecting so in the end they’re going to be happy with the final product.”

Ultimately, the more product manufacturers can give designers the ability to customize, the more likely designers are to reach out to these manufacturers as a source, Reid says, because it gives the ability to put more creative flair on their designs. “It gives us the flexibility to put a little bit more creativity into the project,” she concludes.

PHOTOS: ROBIN HILL

About the Author

Robert Nieminen
Robert Nieminen is a freelance writer; the former editor of Interiors & Sources magazine; and retrofit’s editor at large, specializing in interiors. Under his direction, Interiors & Sources was the recipient of several publishing awards, as well as a pioneer of sustainability reporting.

Be the first to comment on "Clients Want to Differentiate Their Properties and Are Looking to Custom Solutions to Do It"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*


%d bloggers like this: