Hiring an architect to design a space and pull quality elements together into a cohesive look should not be seen as extravagant. Good Design is always in fashion.... and choosing beautiful, quality, sustainable materials and finishes is a responsible use of the missions money. It enhances the morale of those serving the mission as well as giving those who are served dignity.
There is a disconnect in our world that if it looks good that it costs too much, or is only for those of wealth. It has been my experience that it can cost more to purchase a thin designer tee shirt with well placed rips and tears and designer jeans than a classic well designed little black dress. The tee shirt and jeans will be seen by some as cool and others as rags and will never get you into an establishment with a dress code and will be out of style next season, while a little black dress of quality fabric can be dressed up or down and worn for years along with the investment I made in a pair of classic Ferragamo pumps 20 years ago.
The same goes for architecture and furnishings. You can spend thousands buying the newest cool thing for your space in increments of 15-100 dollars yet an investment in a piece of furniture or art is often seen as extravagant. Yet the furniture and art work will hold its value, last longer and can often be sold for a profit.
The photo on the left shows the working conditions of a Not for Profit reception area before the project renovations, an on the right is the expression of the receptionist when given a preview of her new Reception Desk. Completely overwhelmed, she is speechless.
In this area of the renovation, the terrazzo floors were cleaned and polished. The glass partitions allow natural light to flow into the space and views out. The walls were painted a cheerful yellow recalling the colors of the vivid colors of the containers in the Port of Newark where the building is located. The Statue of Liberty Photograph like the receptionist is always there greeting the visitors to this Not For Profit Outreach Mission. A well-designed reception desk offers organization and privacy. The wood veneer finish adds warmth. The black granite counters are durable while being responsible as one of the most affordable colors and comparable in price to other solid counter top materials.
Not-for-Profit means that the members or owners are not to make a profit. There is a misunderstanding that they do not need to generate money. The do, donors can only do so much. They are giving seed money and that must be used to make more money to advance their stated mission and reinvest to sustain the mission. Advancing the mission includes having a motivated and engaged staff. And the quality of the space provided for their staff may make a difference in who they are able to attract and the retention of that key staff.
Don't let the For Profit/Not For Profit 'Status' trick you. Really in the end it is not that different than a fancy for profit law firm. Why do the partners have great offices? Because the partners work hard for the firm and their clients and they need to be comfortable so they can continue to produce quality work. They need to attract quality talent and retain them as well as attracting potential clients. How do they do that? By looking good!
My blog is dedicated to residential work and being an architect...my practice is diversified and includes Not-For-Profit clients like the Seamen's Church Institute, public and private schools, and the Maplewood Jewish Center.