Thursday, January 16, 2014

Health and Beauty: The Redesign of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Hospital design involves much more than aesthetic functions. The architectural characteristics, technological amenities and quality of the materials used can have a profound effect on overall healthcare, including efficiency of hospital workers, patient care and the comfort of families during their times of need. 

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Photo credit: Perkins+Will
The new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston opened in 2013, designed by Boston-based architecture firm Perkins+Will. Acting as the Harvard School of Medicine Teaching Hospital and having been ranked 6th among rehabilitation hospitals for 2012 / 2013 in the United States by the US News & World Report, this facility serves a great purpose in the community. Designed to be a center of healing for both rehab patients and the surrounding public, this modern and sustainable building features many remarkable characteristics, including 378,367 square feet, 132 private patient rooms, eight floors, curved architectural elements and an exterior modeled after ship-making material.

Photo credit: Perkins+Will
The former Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital building layout included steps in the main entrance, compelling people in wheelchairs to use a ramp located at a side entrance. However, a main goal for the new facility was to be inclusive for all, no matter the physical capabilities. Now, six-foot wide corridors and floor-to-ceiling windows provide accessibility and openness. A management system also opens and closes windows depending on weather patterns, ensuring the space is well-ventilated as well as utilizing the benefits of natural light.

Photo credit: Architect Magazine

Uniquely situated, particularly for a hospital, on the waterfront of the Boston Harbor in the city’s historic Charleston Navy Yard, the natural amenities surrounding the hospital were employed to further aid rehabilitation patients. Architects integrated additional therapeutic equipment to allow patients the opportunity to perform physical therapy in an array of landscaped surfaces, combined with the Boston Harborwalk, which consists of various trails and avenues to the waterfront. Also near the water is a state-of-the-art therapy pool, which boasts panoramic views of the harbor and Boston skyline.

Photo credit: Perkins+Will

Owner: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Partners HealthCare
Architect and Interior Designer: Perkins+Will
General Contractor/Construction Manager: Walsh Brothers
Environmental Consulting: Haley & Aldrich Inc.
MEP Engineering: Thompson Consultants Inc. (lead engineers) and Buro Happold
Structural Engineering: McNamara/Salvia Inc.
Lighting Design: AKF
Medical Equipment Planning: Source Atlantic
Landscaping: Copley Wolff Design Group and Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects (roof terraces) 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Outdoor Living Space Growth and Trends for 2014

Outdoor rooms are in! - The improvement of the national economy and housing market has had a great effect on the outdoor furniture, landscape and hardscape industries, as homeowners are gaining confidence and investing in their backyard spaces. In a recent issue, Casual Living, a leader of the leisure market, declared that the outdoor room trend that began nearly five years ago is seeing steady growth as the economy recovers.

Casual Living December 2013

Landscape designers and architects, stay ahead of the game and implement outdoor living space trends, sourced from Casual Living, into your next project.

3 Trends for Outdoor Living Spaces

1. Add fire pits for a touch of luxury. Due to the surge of consumer confidence, outdoor living enhancements and luxuries like fire pits and fireplaces are becoming more prominent. The addition of fire pits is attractive, in that they call for accompanying cozy seating furniture and arrangements. Try wood-burning fire pits for a more authentic feel, or convertible fire pits. Some convertible fire pits can be transformed from a pond to a planter, making them perfect for year-round use.

Casual Living December 2013

2. Introduce better outdoor lighting. The lighting industry is also catching on to the improvement of the outdoor landscape and hardscape industries with lighting systems appearing more in pavers and walkways. Use well-placed, long-lasting LED lighting outdoors to softly and subtly illuminate your design.

Photo credit - McKay Lighting

3. Expand with outdoor rooms. Consumers are taking their typical indoor home activities outdoors. Design their spaces to meet these needs. Provide adequate seating and gathering room, countertop space for cooking and even technology amenities like televisions. According to Joe Fields, director of contractor services and sales for EP Henry, a New Jersey-based hardscape company, homeowners are no longer building on a second story or room; outdoor spaces are now being built as an alternative. “This is their addition to their home,” says Fields. “It’s becoming an extension of the family room.”

Casual Living December 2013

For more information about outdoor rooms, or to read the full Casual Living article, click the link.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 New Year’s Resolutions: It’s Not Personal…It’s Business!

The New Year is now here and many of us are embarking on the journey to achieve personal resolutions that will overall enhance our quality of life. Much like our desires to accomplish our own individual goals, large and small businesses also jump on the resolution train to help improve operations and increase productivity.

In the ever-changing world of public relations, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations and trends of our industry. PR News is one, among many, go-to sources for public relations professionals to learn about industry happenings, strategies and tactics. To lay the foundation for a productive and successful 2014, Susan Howe, president of global consumer marketing at Weber Shandwick, shares her expert tips in an article titled “PR Insider: Planning, Engaging and Improving for 2014,” which recently published on PR News’ website. Below, we have taken her helpful insights and applied them to the industries in which our firm represents.

Measure, adjust and be honest with yourself about last year

Before planning for the future, we must evaluate the past. By analyzing the data outcomes of programs or promotions or the value of certain services or products, a company can determine what was successful, what needs to change and what can be removed. The analytics process should not be about simply looking back, but to gain insights into what consumers care about and what products and services will engage them moving forward. Two good examples of thorough data analysis are Furniture Today’s 2013 Consumer Report and the 2014 Construction Market Trends, details for both can be found in previous blog posts our team completed. The analysis of this data allows companies to appropriately plan for the future.

Click the links above to view the blogs.
Get closer to the consumer

Howe says, “Engaging people means knowing their wants, likes, needs, hopes, and fears…using those insights to incite action.” To increase consumer engagement, a business must be in-tune with these desires. Once accurate data is acquired, marketing and sales teams will be able to create concepts that fuel a change in thinking and drive toward action.

Customer surveys with good incentives are excellent tools for gathering data directly from the source. For example, home furnishings and garden center retailers could provide brief questions for in-store customers or a short online survey, and in exchange for their feedback, they would be eligible to receive a discount on their next purchase. As a result, over time, the customer data collected would be invaluable information for developing new practices, programs and products.

Click the photo to view Today's Garden Center's
2014 Revolutionary 100 Garden Center Survey

Look around the corner for trends

As we stated earlier, it is critical to stay ahead of what’s current and look for what is next. Regularly researching industry news can help a company create a plan that will be successful across various platforms.

Blogs and newsletters from industry associations or publications are essential resources for staying informed. A prime example is our latest ECPR blog post featuring the Pantone® Color Report Spring 2014. Interior designers creating spaces and textile manufacturers incorporating these colors in spring collections are setting their companies and clients up for market sales success, in style! Even greater success could come in taking risks in design and daring to be a tad bit more avante garde in fashion.

Consider the plan in beta

Your 2014 marketing plan is new and in development stages, so it is important to make it adaptable to changes or opportunities, in real time. “What it means is being present for the always-on consumer and sharing a brand story in a relevant way in a relevant moment.” The most successful plans have strategic elements that allow a company to seize advantage of an unforeseen opportunity. A combination of research and a system for quick, active product production and distribution will only increase a company’s ability to react in these moments.

Click the photo to view the full PR News article.
Live collaboratively

A company’s entire team will determine its success in 2014, which includes staff, client and agency partners. Strong leadership and clearly defined roles will help overall strength and competency, while supporting the best ideas will boost morale. At ECPR, we hold weekly company meetings where everyone, from our CEO to our interns, shares their creative ideas on various tasks and client projects. You never know where the next great, innovative idea may come from, so we are always open-minded and attentive to team creativity.

New year, new beginnings. Take these tips, apply them and jumpstart your business’ growth in 2014! Happy New Year!