Elevating Brands Through Experiential and Immersive Design

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Imagine a space where every detail and every interaction is carefully curated to evoke specific emotions. Your customers are fully present and engaged in the moment. They are transported to what feels like a different time and place. They are genuinely connecting with each other. They are writing a piece of their story. Everything else is forgotten. The feeling and the memories will stay with them long after they’ve stepped out of the space…and they’ll have your brand to thank for it.
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*The Backdoor Saloon – the client was looking for a velvety, sexy, historically accurate western saloon feel. No detail was overlooked in creating a design that transports partons to a completely different time and place. (experiential design)

In an age where experiences matter – and are craved – more than things, where attention is fleeting and distractions are the norm, the businesses that can deliver these kinds of engrossing and all-authentic moments rise to the top.

That’s why experiential design has become so important. It’s about honoring the uniqueness of your brand, the desires of your customers, and the values that bring the two together.

To really do it right, though, you have to go all in, thinking even beyond the creation of unique and custom environments.

That’s what d+k does for brands with its immersive design services.

d+k’s Experiential and Immersive Design Process

In d+k’s immersive design approach, the focus is not solely on the structure and finishes of the space but also on how each user or customer will interact with your brand in its environment. Every detail is carefully thought-out to tell a particular story and amplify the experience, so the customer stays fully engaged with no moments of disconnect. Nothing is left to chance.

When you do that, the space becomes a destination that is not just physical but also lives in the mind and heart of the customer.

Here’s how d+k helps you bring that to life.

STEP 1

The d+k team spends time with you to truly understand the brand, its backstory and what it stands for, your business goals, and your ideal customers/patrons. There is a certain language associated with every client or business, and by learning how you speak about your brand, we are able to translate that vocabulary into a framework for the immersive design plan.

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*The Darling – Every client or business has a language around their project, and by learning how the client speaks about themselves, we translate that vocabulary into a framework for building the design concept. 

STEP 2

We discuss the different levels of engagement that your customers should experience to allow the interaction with the brand to get deeper, more meaningful, and more memorable as they move through the space.

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STEP 3

The d+k team creates a comprehensive design concept with curated elements to exemplify the brand and elevate the customer’s experience of it, while fulfilling the business goals.

Elements can include: branded graphics, signage, art installations, the customer’s journey within the environment, how service will flow, food or merchandise presentation, music, employees’ presentation and clothing, and more.

The elements included are unique to your project and whatever is needed to deliver the vision and the feelings you want the space to evoke.

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*Another example of immersive design, in which our process works with the client to identify their ideal customer, the experience they will have, and the feelings they want the space to evoke. 

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*After the goals for the immersive design process are outlined, elements above and beyond the physical space are outlined and curated to elevate the entire experience. For this client, food service items, server clothing, merchandise, and presentation were all part of the package d+k brought to the project. 

STEP 4

The d+k team helps you execute the entire concept, taking care of all the details.

By unifying the brand activities with the architectural and interior design, d+k delivers a cohesive concept that creates a memorable and well-executed space and a completely realized business installation.

The Darling, Chicago Illinois*The Darling – Intimate, Instagram-worthy, theatrical speakeasy. 

What memorable experience is your brand waiting to create for its customers?

Let’s have a conversation.

How To Increase Occupancy Rate in Old Office Buildings

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For owners and managers of old office buildings, it’s becoming increasingly hard to keep occupancy rates and property values high. In the age of creative Google-style offices and cool co-working spaces like WeWork, outdated buildings retain little appeal, dredging up images of an office life from bygone eras.

Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem and is one that doesn’t just help the commercial property but also its tenants; a win-win situation.

The idea is simple: Revitalize the building’s common areas by turning them into modern, amenities-driven spaces that improve the work experience and answer a variety of functional needs. Places that even the most demanding Millennial will approve.

It’s the kind of “space activation through design” that d+k love doing.

Interior Design, Architecture Design

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Revamping an Old Commercial Property Through Its Common Areas

Jason Simon from Colliers International and Adam Firsel from Core Acquisitions came to d+k facing such a challenge with the Chatham Centre (1901 N Roselle Road in Schaumburg, IL). Their goal was to create value by increasing the building’s occupancy rate from 70% to 90% or more. The Centre, however, was far from the true Class A office building they were envisioning.

The common areas hadn’t been changed since their construction nearly 30 years ago. The lobby, in particular, felt cold and lacked energy. Jason and Adam wanted something appealing and functional that would bring people together to create a sense of community in the building.

Melissa Lockwood, d+k Director and manager of this project, immediately saw there was a lot of potential to create a more experiential space.

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From a Static Lobby To a Dynamic, Multi-Functional Space

Taking a cue from their hospitality design experience, the firm developed a concept that included a variety of different seating options and multi-purpose gathering hubs. “Think of inspiring places that function as fun break rooms, meeting pods, and alternative work stations…all within one lively space that you can truly enjoy.” Melissa explains. “You can go to the common area to read a book, have lunch, and even work or meet with clients and coworkers.” It gives people a chance to rejuvenate and re-focus, breaking the monotony of working at their desks.

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For employers, this brings many benefits. It makes for happier employees, which translates into increased productivity and higher talent retention rate. An amenities-driven workplace also makes a company more attractive, giving employers a leg up when it comes to hiring top professionals.

d+k were able to create a design that included pre-existing elements, like the finishes for flooring and walls. The old lobby plants, which were too overwhelming, were eliminated and replaced with others that would feel more organic to the space. Melissa’s favorite part of the project was actually figuring out how to preserve the large planter boxes while having them contribute to the flow of the environment, instead of disrupting it. This was done by adding built-in reading nooks and meeting places within the planters.

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The design accomplished its goal. It increased the value of the old office building and helped increase its occupancy rate to the targeted 90%.

Adam says he now understands how common areas with amenities can shift the entire dynamic of an office building…and the economic impact that comes with it. “I learned how to take an existing cold space and activate it through design.”

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Join our team! – d+k is Hiring

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d+k is currently hiring and looking for passionate Architects and Interior Designers to join our collaborative team. d+k is a full service boutique design firm that specializes in hospitality, corporate, retail, medical and high end residential design with Architects, Interior Designers and Project Managers on staff. d+k is passionate about developing responsible solutions from concept through completion. One of our core beliefs is that we strengthen our team by focusing on imparting knowledge during all phases of our projects. For full description of the open positions, please click on the links below.

Open positions:

If you are interested please feel free to submit your resume & portfolio to Human Resources Manager at careers@dk-arch.com with the appropriate position title in the subject line.

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Simple Mills – A Clean Design for a Chicago Clean Food Company

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As an entrepreneur you always dream about your business growing and becoming something so big that you get to share it with the world. That is what happened with our client Katlin Smith, founder of Simple Mills. Simple Mills is a Chicago based, #1 clean food company in the United States that Katlin, herself, started in her own kitchen at home. As her business grew, she grew out of that tiny kitchen and this is where the d+k and Simple Mills relationship began in 2017.

Chicago Interior Design

Simple Mills found a 10,000 square foot space in downtown Chicago that was raw and had the character they were looking for. What drew them to this space was the location, square footage, natural light and of course the exposed brick and timber throughout. They wanted a space that not only met their want for their employees and a test kitchen, but a space where they could grow as a community. The bright and sunny space makes the environment happy and exciting to work at Simple Mills. Their show stopper in this design is their beautiful demo kitchen. The natural light that pours into the space is a perfect spot for them to create content. They knew they wanted a beautiful space that all their employees could enjoy, and they could utilize for their social media and website content.

Chicago design, Interior Design, Kitchen Design,

d+k listened to what Kaitlin and her staff wanted out of their space and our design team had fun integrating Simples Mills branding and bright colors. Simple Mills loved the elements that d+k recommend including adding pops of yellow throughout their space on the light fixtures and the funky wall paper.

Corporate office, meeting space, exposed brick, pops of color

Our overall experience with Simple Mills was great. They are a great company to work with. They had the pleasure of working with Ted, one of our lead project Architects who has been with d+k for over 14 years. Simple Mills enjoyed how thorough Ted was and how well we explained things that weren’t common sense to them. At d+k, we pride ourselves with making sure our clients are well informed throughout the process by sharing our knowledge and setting realistic expectations relating to their project and their vision.

corporate office space, sketch work , interior design, architecture

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Please check out their feature below on the Today Show.  Congratulations to Katlin and her team for this great feature, and for all their success to date!