Design Impacts Lives- Real World Stories


HKS, Inc. Sensory Well-being Hub (Chicago, IL)

WINNING PROJECT: ASID 2020 Outcome of Design Awards (Category: Social Impact)

The Sensory Well-being Hub by HKS, Inc. is an open-source, affordable, scalable, modifiable and sensory diverse solution that can fit various needs, and be installed anywhere, with accompanying research on the comparative effectiveness of different elements, to allow informed decision making. It is designed to help diverse learners experiencing behavioral issues to recuperate and find equilibrium. It provides data-driven insights on designing spaces with audio, visual, kinesthetic and tactile features for people with sensory sensitivities to reset from hyper- or hypo-stimulation.

The Design Challenge

Create a space for adolescents with developmental disabilities to recuperate and find equilibrium from an environment with uncontrollable sensory inputs. Provide data-driven insights on designing spaces for people with sensory sensitivities, with a goal to help designers improve environments in other places, too.

The Design Solution 

  • Sensory zones with an active zone including musical instruments, rolling pins and a peg wall; a respite zone with nature scenes, beanbag, weighted blanket, a Lite-Brite and fidget wall and a sensory “cocoon” providing a user-selected experience.
  • A free-standing sensory cocoon serves as a mobile micro-environment dampening sound and light. Users have control of a digital media wall that has interactive sensors for gestures and touch, color-changing lights to match the screen and a sound system.
  • Variety of sensory affordances of design elements considering tactile, visual, kinetic, and acoustic were included to allow choices for students with hypo- or hyper-sensitivity.
  • Fidget wall including various sensory interventions were included in the design based on investigative research that found fine motor skill actions could be soothing for students on the autism spectrum.
  • Modular structure solution with items that are nonproprietary for easy replication or replacement makes the hub construction inexpensive, quick and easy to modify over time or replicate for various scales and budgets.





M Moser Associates Living Lab (New York, NY)

M Moser is a united, cohesive company that works seamlessly through technological advancements and practices to solve global companies' most pressing people issues. The new Moser workspace in New York represents an agile, future-proofed “living lab” for ongoing adaptation and change. Strategy and design teams created a workplace that reflects transformation and addresses individual needs through new digital strategies, space planning, flexible furniture and technology to achieve a high-performing workplace. The office serves as a co-working space and enables M Moser to test and develop a broad range of workplace strategies to ensure the best results for clients.

The Design Challenge

The vision for the new M Moser workspace was an agile, future-proofed “living lab” for ongoing adaption and change.


The Design Solution 

  • Dynamic work environment where the staff simultaneously owns every space and yet owns none of it. The team is empowered to choose how and where they need to work each day.
  • Mobility enabled with mobile battery power packs, rolling desks, large mobile screens and green walls on wheels allow the team to be more agile.
  • WELL Design (Platinum Certification level) allows for the team to leave work healthier than when they came in a Landmark building.
  • Technology equipped to create a future-focused approach to creativity, including a VR Lab, 3D printer, Innovation Lab and upgrades such as high speed, trading-level Wi-Fi, a fully cloud-based network, a U-Rack server and a biometric fingerprint reader entrance.
  • Living Lab workspace that embodies the spirit of freedom and experimentation, empowering people to adapt and innovate.




  • With circadian lighting and Naava walls included in the space, M Moser observed that people were able to stay longer and work longer hours within the office due to comfortability and healthy surroundings.
  • Due to the air quality and health-consciousness of the office, M Moser has seen a marked decrease (50%) in sick days within the year of moving into the new office.
  • The office can accommodate nearly 75 (with desks and seating available), but with additional furniture designs M Moser may be able to extend and encompass alternate working points.
  • After the move to the new office, M Moser saw a 75% increase in client visits to the office and 75% increased win-rate on projects.




  • Design: June 2017
  • Construction/Approval: April 2018
  • Project Completion: July 2018



  • Design & Strategy: M Moser Associates




Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

In an effort to evolve its brand and strengthen the patient experience, Nemours embarked on a significant expansion of its Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. Designed to take family-centered care to new heights, the expanded facility introduces two new inpatient neighborhoods designed around a central atrium -all designed with input from families of this very special patient population. 


The new five-story, 547,547 square foot patient care pavilion is located adjacent to the current hospital and features expanded services to meet the growing needs of children and their families. The building stands out for access to daylight, light harvesting, and bright interiors, and is celebrated for its colorful facade, innovative almond-shaped buildings, cost-saving solutions, and the children's influence on the overall aesthetic.


Located on Alfred duPont's 300-acre estate, in Wilmington Delaware, the building represents duPont's innovative spirit. The exterior fenestration animates local historic floral gardens using an arbor pattern skin, while arbor supported frames strengthen delicate growth -symbolic of Nemours mission of supporting children.

The Design Challenge

As a patient centered institution, emphasis was placed on the overall patient experience. Facility design and many of the amenities were developed to respond to requests from patients and families, including consideration of private vs. shared rooms, improved accessibility and navigation, more family space, and extended concierge services. In the innovative spirit of Alfred DuPont, the project team was tasked to utilize the expansive natural setting of the mansion gardens and provide access to daylighting for patients, family, and staff.


The Design Solution 

  • The overall building form evolved from the patient room configuration and operational flows through the unit.
  • The eight-bed units increase the amount of clinical attention patients receive, and reduce patient count per clinician when compared with most hospitals.
  • Caregiver area was corralled and condensed for convenient clinician access and limited patient disruption to respect the patient's privacy and ownership, as well as their medical needs.
  • Large family gathering area in each patient room was designed to be a "home away from home" and provides a comfortable environment.
  • Monthly Inpatient Environmental Satisfaction Index rose by 33.97 percent in 2015, a significant 20-percentage point increase in raw scores compared to 2013. Contributing factors: the child feels safe and secure; room appearance and cleanliness; function; comfort for visitors; overnight accommodations.
  • Inpatient Monthly Likelihood to Recommend the Hospital to others, Top Box score averages rose by nearly 5.0 percent (in the periods recorded from 2013 to 2015).
  • Monthly Overall Rating of Emergency Department Care saw a 10.9 percent satisfaction rise among patient families.


  • Architecture & Interior Design: CannonDesign
  • Civil Engineer: VanDemark & Lynch
  • Structural Engineer: Cardno Haynes Whaley Inc.
  • MEP: Affiliated Engineers Inc.

To read entire article:




Gradients of Green is a LEED-Platinum certified single family home that referenced the WELL Building Standard in its design. As the personal residence of Laura Britt, ASID, owner and principal of Laura Britt Design, the objective was to implement both environmental and health and wellness aspects of sustainability in a residential space for the family. The building was also intended to serve as a role model for universal design/accessibility in residential architecture, and to be an example of a home showcasing thoughtful 'visitability.'

Utilizing various healthy and sustainable design strategies in the architecture, spatial layout, and overall product selection, the project created a healthy building, inside and out, with strong visual connection between key interior areas and easy access to outside from the main public and private areas.

by Laura Britt Design


Link to Full Article



Capital One Offices in San Francisco


IA Interior Architects and BCCI Construction were charged with creating the unique Capitol One Offices in San Francisco

By Christine Abbate

In a time when disruption and “move fast, break things” are de rigueur, what does it take to be an actual pioneer? Finance giant Capital One is proving it is possible, having led the digital revolution and approaching its business as a technology innovator, not a bank. The company has also firmly planted a foot in the design world, with a Workplace Solutions team that applies Capital One’s innovative take on business to its network of campuses. ASID spoke with Michelle Cleverdon, Capital One workplace strategist, to gain insight into the company’s unique approach.

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ASID is proud to feature the second project in its Impact of Design Series, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We believe this data will inform the work of designers as they strive to create the optimal human experience. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, a Brutalist building fraught with challenges, was selected as the prototype school for The Cambridge Green Schools' "Getting to Net Zero Framework," an initiative to change how the Cambridge school district thinks about energy in its buildings.

By definition a  zero-energy building, also known as a zero net energy (ZNE) building, is a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, or in other definitions by renewable energy sources elsewhere.These buildings consequently contribute less overall greenhouse gas to the atmosphere than similar non-ZNE buildings.

The design team, led by Perkins Eastman, was tasked to create a high-performing building and a community school that responded to the needs of its neighbors. The project was complicated by the school's small and irregular site; the large and complex program accommodating 740 children from preschool to 8th grade; a robust after-school program; and an array of engaged stakeholders. 

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By Renee Gangeness ASID, RID
President ASID CAC/NV

As Interior Designers we profess, live and breathe, in our daily lives, how 'Design Impacts Lives'. It is not only our passion to help make a positive difference in the lives of others, but our responsibility as well...

Thanks to the board members of our chapter, we recently got to see, first hand, how design makes an amazing impact on the lives of many, as we organized a tour of the iconic Las Vegas Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. Anyone fortunate enough to experience the tour of this building and its inner workings would be hard-pressed to leave without a renewed sense of faith in humanity.

Whether this 'funky' looking building, that goes unnoticed to no one who passes by, appeals to one's aesthetic (or not); to get a glimpse into the why's and how's of its 'story', gives the utmost appreciation of the true passion behind the commitment of the people inspired to fulfill its mission.

From Larry Ruvo, a prominent local business man, who lost his father to Alzheimers; to the celebrated architect, Frank Gehry; to the doctors and researchers; to the tour-guide, caregivers, and all who are on staff at the institute; to all who come together within the community to support this mission dedicated to serving those who come from all over the world to receive treatment, there is a level of commitment second to none for the well-being of those who do come here for treatment.

From the orientation of the building to the well stocked library (for those who seek comfort and knowledge of the many diseases treated at this facility); to the use of natural and circadian lighting; to the personal care and safety in navigating patients to their treatment destination; to the slight, undulating corridors; to the genius, open feel of the treatment rooms; to the most sought after medical talent available...this is the kind of experience that we owe it to ourselves and those we serve to constantly seek out for inspiration to demonstrate how 'Design Impacts Lives'.