“I think you have to be obsessed with design to be a designer”, says Design Director, Kailee Snowdon-Lane.
Kailee Snowdon-Lane is one of the newest Design Directors to join the team at Maris.
We always love it when new team members join because it’s a great way to add to the vision and dynamism of what we do. Kailee has a very artistic background and lives and breathes each project she works on. Here she explains where she draws inspiration and why being people-focused is the pathway to the future.
She says: “I take a lot of inspiration from nature. I’m constantly taking photos – it’s a big passion of mine – and I use them as a reference whether it’s an image or colour – for projects I’m working on. It’s the built environment as well as nature – I’m constantly bumping into people on the street because I’m always looking up! Often, I am in the midst of a project, and I’ve got that client’s branding and values or requirements in my head. So, when I’m looking around, I am drawn to things I think would be great for them. I think you have to be obsessed with design to be a designer.”
Passionate about people
Kailee’s first job was an internship in interior design, and she credits that with her passion for workspace interiors because of the impact it has on peoples’ wellbeing and happiness.
She says: “That’s a huge thing to be a part of. Post-pandemic the office has to be even more carefully considered. I think a lot of designers are seeing 10 years of change in the last few years. No one wanted a pandemic, but a good thing in terms of workplace design is that it’s a lot more human centred than it was before. Previously it was all about the brand and the clients coming in. Now, it’s a lot more organic and human centred, otherwise why would people come into the office because their actual human needs are being taken care of at home?”
What that human centric focus looks like in terms of specifics ranges from the flow of the space to the design details. There’s a psychology to the choice of colours that affect the senses, aspects that help people to be happier, and things like plant life, layered patterns and textures, and artwork – all of which bring an element of comfort that you might usually associate more with home.
She says: “Neurodiversity is a massive thing – how can we design a space that’s more conducive to focus time? You don’t necessarily focus when you’re at home and in offices we can proactively create spaces that are designed to support the ability to concentrate. There are so many triggers in the workspace that can be quite hurtful to people who are neurodivergent, so it’s essential as designers that we think about those environments on a more human level to help people and businesses thrive.”
A powerful position
Considering human needs can be a source of great strength for a company. Post-pandemic many businesses have had an exercise in trying to encourage people back into the workplace without forcing them. It’s essential to ask: ‘why are they staying at home?’, and usually it’s because they’re more comfortable in their own homes – possibly because they’re neurodivergent. That means we have all had to take a hard look at how we design spaces and improve them.
Kailee says: “Embracing human needs can be a real source of strength for a company. One client called it their ‘contract of trust’, where employees have 100% flexibility about when they come into the office, how much holiday they take, they have an incredible maternity and paternity package and other amazing benefits like a yoga space, quiet space, parents’ rooms – all built into this design. If I was looking at three companies to work for, that’s the one I would choose – that people-focused energy is really built in on every level.”
Raising the bar
That seems like a great note on which to ask why of all the places she could work, Kailee chose to join the team at Maris – after all, she’s good enough to go anywhere.
She says: “The biggest thing that drew me here is the intensity – how far Maris will go for a client to make them happy, achieve a really successful design and raise the bar. You want to work with people who will push you to be the best you want to be.”
Do you want help creating a working environment that’s designed to support your team?