Designing Laurier

When walking across campus, it’s easy not to notice the design details of classrooms, offices and public spaces. However, for Carol Kego, a co-ordinator for Laurier’s interior design and renovation department, that’s the point.

Referring to students, Kego believes that, “They’re not there to appreciate the décor, they’re there to learn.”

With this in mind, how does one perfect the paradoxical task of designing a space not meant to be noticed? It is truly a balancing act between cost, style and quality.

“At the university, cost is important, but within cost you want to make sure you’re getting quality,” said Kego.

The furniture, the carpeting and the flooring all need to withstand the constant pressure of Laurier’s students and faculty.

The lighting and the color are also important when considering a room’s needs. For instance, Kego knows that a bright red, which accelerates a person’s heart rate, is not ideal for a classroom. Instead, a minimalist yet complementary style is preferred. “You want things to go well, but nothing to be flashy,” said Kego.

The design process at Laurier is one rarely acknowledged or understood by anyone not part of the department. Needless to say, it is more complicated and meticulous than most would think.

The first step in the lengthy design process is to discuss the vision of those who will be using the space. After this, preliminary drawings are prepared and then it’s onto the difficult task of deciding what designs are best.

Next, the elements of the room are ordered. Kego and her co-workers consider the warranty, manufacturer, fabric – as well as its “double-rub” count (interior design slang for a quality test method) – and the stitching of carpet or furniture.

Having the opportunity to design some unique rooms in her 17 years in the profession, Kego relishes in the idea of working on the “fun projects.”

The new Prism Lab and the Grad Lounge are both spaces in which she was able to go beyond any of the normal, simple designs by including bright strips of paint, a fireplace and a wood cabinet bar.

A self-proclaimed expert in the visual elements of a room – the “colors, furniture, carpeting, paint and setting things up” – Kego is dependent on the rest of her co-workers to balance out the project with their strengths, such as layout and building architecture.

Having completed the design of the outside pathway construction by the library and the new quad area in the summer, Kego can now look forward to a table of paperwork.

This, however, doesn’t bother her.

“I love my job, I really do,” said Kego.

“I find it’s interesting to go and find new things that can improve our environment, whether it’s in a classroom, in an office or in residences.”

Kego’s recent projects

John Aird Centre furniture

Second floor Peter’s building
The Prism Lab

202 Regina Street
Human Resources office
Physical Resources office

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