Why Choose Terrazzo?

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Terrazzo flooring has been around for hundreds of years.  Created by Venetian construction workers in the 15th century as a way to re-purpose pieces of chipped marble, it became a popular method for finishing the floors of terraces, and hence the name Terrazzo.  Popularity of this material expanded throughout Europe and the North America and the material was used in a wide variety of applications in building design and interiors.  Popular again, terrazzo has been re-discovered by Architects and Designers as a cost effective solution with great design potential.  Its popularity springs from an unlimited palette of color and pattern, long term durability and ease of maintenance.

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Variety & Aesthetics

Terrazzo comes in a variety of colors and textures, and this makes the material a great complement to any style or design concept.  Want a more minimal look?  Use a neutral terrazzo.  Want a modern look?  Pick a terrazzo that is colorful and fun.  Terrazzo can be finished with a shine, or used in a more natural, textural finish as well.  This product can be used for flooring, counters, shower stalls, and furniture, so the world really is your oyster when it comes to using this material in your design.  It’s a great design solution in both residential and commercial environments.

 

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Durability

Terrazzo is one of the strongest materials you can use, and it often outlasts the life of an entire building!  This is why it is commonly used in floors and even in high-traffic areas, terrazzo will withstand wear and tear for years to come.  Installed over a stable substrate, terrazzo can be applied and finished in a layer of just 3/8″ of an inch.

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Eco-Friendly & Clean

Terrazzo is non-porous, so water will not soak into it.  The chance for micro-bacterial growth is slim, so harsh chemicals aren’t required to clean the surface.  This is better for you and for sustainable environments!
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Low Maintenance

Typically sealed with an epoxy layer, the material is completely non-porous.  Grout is not part of the makeup of terrazzo, so there are no cracks for dirt to accumulate in.  Therefore, cleaning this material is easy.  Terrazzo is widely used in airports as a tried and true flooring solution.  At Denver International Airport, the floors of the Great Hall are finished terrazzo, and bronze inlays provide a playful tribute to prehistoric creatures that once roamed that part of the earth.  Choose terrazzo for your next project.

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Creative Collaboration Leads to Innovation

Pear talks to potential customers about furniture–how it can foster employee engagement, collaboration and innovation–but that wasn’t happening in their own space. So, the we decided that it was time to demonstrate just that. We invited senior management and all the in-house designers to be part of the design team, of which we became facilitator.


“Mark helped us to discover the potential in our space, and in ourselves. We’d been in the space for over ten years, and renovated multiple times, but realized that the space no longer met our needs. Our fourteen designers were located throughout the office, and couldn’t easily collaborate or learn from each other. And, our accounting and HR folks were located in open workstations in the busiest part of the office, which meant confidentiality wasn’t possible.”

John Robbins, the CEO of the Denver commercial furniture dealership Pear Workplace Solutions.


The first task was to give them a fresh perspective about the space and see its potential. We drew two simple diagrams– before and after–which showed space usage and circulation. The “after” diagram was quickly dubbed the “road map” by John, and it guided the design team in their efforts.

The “road map” moves the circulation to the exterior window wall and captures the view to the city. A large design studio and eleven collaboration spaces provide unique opportunities to exchange ideas. The space allows Pear to tell potential customers the story of how they work and collaborate. It also tells the story of how employee engagement and collaboration can lead to innovation. It demonstrates how “walking the talk” can lead to exciting spaces.

The cost effectiveness of the space isn’t dependent on materials or construction; it is the result of shaping space and using circulation as a dynamic design concept. The space, not finish material, impacts the viewer. Walking along the second level glass exterior wall is exhilarating and gives perspective to the city beyond. The remodel was not about putting things into the space, but about creating spaciousness by subtracting—clearing room to breathe.

Says John Robbins, “We learned that through an engaged group process we can create innovative solutions for ourselves and our clients. And by innovative, I mean people walk into our space and see transformation. They can see a different way to work and a better way to work.”

Lobby Design: Transforming a Liability into an Asset

When Vector Properties’ Wendy Williams, General Manager of 1001 17th Street, contacted McPherson Architecture, she said, “The building owner wants to activate the Lobby.”
Nick Pavlakovich, leasing broker for the building, described the request in more emotional terms, “Potential tenants think the lobby is cold, sterile and out-of-date.”  Although beautifully designed, the lobby was from a time when large oil companies dominated the tenant market.  It didn’t connect with the growth tenants of today’s market, the entrepreneurs in technology and services who are inventing the products of the internet age.  Those tenants seek amenity rich buildings where the lobby is an extension of their own office space, and a marketing tool to help attract the workforce of the millennial age.
Franklin Street Properties, the building owner, wanted to make changes but also wanted to be smart about their investment.  Working interactively with Wendy and Nick, the McPherson team took stock of what existed and developed a design that turned negatives into positives.
Color was added to existing architectural features, and lighting was used to brighten the elevator lobbies.  Area rugs were added and expansive circular seating units designed to bring warmth to the expanse of existing granite.  Plants were added and a TV monitor to help activate the space with a view to the outside world.

The end result is an energetic, engaging space that is warm and friendly.  The budget was modest when compared to most “lobby renovations,” and best of all, the tenants have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.  “Adding color to a space can be an emotional thing for people, but we worked with Wendy and chose colors that were crowd-pleasers,” said Mark McPherson.
What did Wendy Williams appreciate most about the process?  “We all appreciated the collaborative approach with the McPherson team, and best of all they stuck with it and helped us get the project done.  When the seating unit installation didn’t go as expected, Mark appeared, took charge and got everyone organized,” remarked Wendy.  “I really appreciated that!”
See the full gallery here.

 

 

Discover Potential: Marketing Slogan or Belief?

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“We help people to discover the untapped potential that exists in every home, business or organization, and use it to create designs which energize people, places and life”. That’s what we say in our marketing, and it’s a statement which resonates with me, and with people who know me well, particularly clients. However, a recent acquaintance and prospective client asked me if that was just a catchy marketing slogan or something that I really believed in.
It’s been a decades-long road to finding a simple way of communicating my design process, and the phenomenon we use to accomplish great things for our clients. Past attempts were wordy or had complicated explanations that never really connected with people. Often, these marketing explanations did more harm than good. But, what we do is more powerful than just conjuring up designs for people, because it comes from a place that’s unique and at the heart of each client. Yes, we design tangible things like, buildings, interiors and brands, but the process is the thing, and that differentiates us from many architects.
I’ve always avoided being labeled with a particular style or brand of design because our work is as varied as our clients. They are all unique individuals or organizations, and our design work reflects that. Early in my career I learned that the most successful designs and rewarding experiences came from a process of client interaction and information-gathering which uncovers the unique goals and needs of each client.
Do our photos of nicely designed projects look that much better than another firm’s photos of nicely designed projects? No, not really, but it’s the spirit that’s infused in them which makes them great, and the effect that it has upon the people is evident. It’s rewarding for me to see a company energized by their new headquarters, or individuals happy and comfortable in a home which truly reflects their personality and lifestyle. So, how do I clearly explain our process of design in a single sentence?
One day two years ago, I was talking with a long-time friend about my inability to express what I do for people. She looked me squarely in the eye and abruptly said, “Well you’re an architect and designer, so that’s fairly clear isn’t it?” That must have been the jolt I needed because suddenly the words just rolled out of my mouth, “I help people to discover potential”. My friend looked a bit startled at first, but paused thoughtfully and continued to stare at me. Then, with a reassuring smile she said, “You know…that’s exactly what you do, and that’s why you’re successful”.
We help people to discover potential, and that’s what we believe in!