Design Center Stresses Collaboration


It’s a designer’s job to inspire. But with the current economy, increasing influence of Gen Y and other factors, the way designers inspire is shifting. Collaboration is becoming a more critical part of the design landscape, and this is a key factor behind the creation of the Indiana Design Center (IDC).

Designed to encourage collaborative interaction and appeal to Gen Y, the 85,000-sq.-ft. complex brings consumers and professionals together to form creative partner-ships in one location, according to Sarah Reep, CKD, ASID, CMG, and long-time KBDN columnist, who was actively involved in the project.

“Armed with technology that offers immediate information, the next generation of consumers is more interactive than ever. Gen Y tends to desire urban flavor and downtown amenities in nearby suburbia. The IDC, located only 12 miles from downtown Indianapolis, offers a perfect fit for this generation,” Reep notes.

“The IDC offers residents and visitors access to high-quality design resources in showroom settings within a single building,” adds Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

Discover, Learn, Connect

Established on the theory of “Discover, Learn, Connect,” the IDC offers retailers, design professionals and consumers a plethora of product and showroom opportunities.

Resources and programs include:

n Portfolio Library, which makes it easy for visitors to identify professional designers and review their work. The IDC helps match professional designers with new clients.

n The Design Resource Library, which encompasses 4,500 square feet and showcases a collection of design resources, providing designers with a single location for research and specification. The library and building also include event space for educational workshops, networking and client prospecting events.

n Design Reading Room, which offers a collection of design periodicals from around the world.

n Designer and Vendor Membership Programs, which allow these professional groups to connect through business development, networking, educational and promotional opportunities. Design Professional Members enjoy access to all of the benefits of the Indiana Design Center plus the use of a full-service, staffed resource library for research and specifications.

n Designer On Call Program, which is a complimentary service that helps link a consumer planning a home project with a designer.

“We have a designer on staff on the morning shift and one on the afternoon shift,” says Andrea Kleymeyer, marketing director for the IDC. “Suppose somebody comes in and they have a kitchen remodel and they don’t know where to begin. That designer will provide a tour of the building, an overview and a free one-hour consultation. It’s a way to facilitate professional design projects for the consumer market and let consumers understand the advantages of working with professional designers.”

The IDC also incorporates social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The facility’s blog is updated twice weekly and the IDC Web site features a robust calendar of events that includes educational workshops and continuing education classes geared for the professional design community.

Strong Partnerships

Looking to form association relation-ships and obtain additional buy-in from design, trade and business professionals, the IDC formed strong partnerships with six major trade associations, each of which serves on the IDC’s advisory board. These include the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Interior Designers, the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis, the International Interior Design Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

“These associations help to make sure our programming works for their membership base,” says Kleymeyer.

The IDC has also cultivated strong relationships with nearby universities. Indiana University, in Bloomington, IN, and Purdue University, in West Lafayette, IN, serve on the advisory board as well.

All of these partnerships are expected to play a key role in the IDC’s continued success.