Industry Insights – Part II

Industry Insights – Corporate Design

Four designers. Four specialties. One industry.

This summer, Corporate Design Interiors will be giving you some insight into the interior design industry through four very talented designers. Each week, we will be featuring a new designer and specialty. Not only will you have the opportunity to hear about recent trends in various aspects of interior design, but you will also have the opportunity to get to know four distinguished, seasoned designers in the Milwaukee area.

Heather Balistrieri

Company: Korb + Associates
Favorite Materials: glass and wood
Favorite Kimball piece: Boyd – “I love the classic lines.”
Advice to young designers: Get involved with ASID and/or IIDA and network as much as you can.
Interesting Fact: Heather was one of the original founders of Feed Your Soul, a charitable art auction raising money for Feeding American Eastern Wisconsin.

A veteran designer from Korb + Associates Architects, Heather has over 14 years of experience in the commercial design industry. She has worked for HLA Business Interiors, Zimmerman Architectural Studios and now Korb + Associates (formerly Korb Tredo Architects). Heather is a member of ASID and has been awarded the ASID Wisconsin Gold Award and the Award of Excellence from IIDA Wisconsin for her work on the Midland States Bank in Effingham, IL.

Tell us a little about your hometown and family?
Most of my childhood was spent living in Fort Atkinson, WI.  We lived in 3 different houses during the course of 10 years.

I think my parents were addicted to remodeling houses.  Once the house was remodeled, we would move on to the next one.  It was fun watching the houses transform into something new and exciting.

My dad is a pastor and my mom is a teacher so I suppose both of those professions require some creativity.  My dad is a fantastic storyteller and writer and my mom loved doing crafts like knitting and sewing.  My parents always encouraged me to be creative.

What was your first job in the industry and what led you into corporate design?
I was an intern at Ethan Allen Furniture.  It was during that internship that I realized I did not want to go into residential design.  My next internship was at BSI and that is where I fell in love with corporate interiors. One of my first jobs out of school was working at Manpower and designing their field offices around the country.  I did that for about a year and then got a job at HLA Business Interiors where most of their work was TI projects.

What is one of the biggest trends in corporate design right now? What is your most requested furniture piece?
Large open plan break rooms, having a coffee shop feel instead of a traditional break room.  Giving the staff options to sit and get away from their desk for a few minutes. [Most requested furniture piece is a] comfortable, ergonomic task chair.

What are some of the expectations you’re seeing with newer companies versus companies that have been around for 20 years? Millennials versus baby boomer generation?
The only difference I am seeing right now is bringing the offices off of the windows and giving that space back to the workstations so that everyone can enjoy the natural daylight. [With other companies] however, once I designed it that way [some clients] realized that it would be culturally difficult to make that leap.

Most of the companies I work with have a president or CEO who is a baby boomer and they then do stick to what they know. Some are becoming more open to addressing the needs of all the different age groups that work at the company, but not usually.

Dream client?
It would be great to have a client who isn’t afraid to take chances, open to new ideas and have an unlimited budget! I usually end up with 2 out of the 3.

Join us for Industry Insights – Part III when we discuss Hospitality Design with a local area designer.