Spotlight on Knoll Furniture and Office Resources

heather-rowanWe’ve been working with Heather Rowan of Office Resources for years when it comes to the piece of interior design dealing with the furniture. We recently outfitted COVE – Cooperative Venture Workspace in Portsmouth with an array of Knoll inspired furniture options that really make the space “pop” and bring it to life. And while it’s stylish and eye-catching, it also serves its primary function: Comfort.

Not sure what “Knoll” furniture is? Click here to learn more.

Check out our Q&A below with Heather and Office Resources, one of our premier furniture partners!

And definitely stop by COVE to take a tour of the space. It looks marvelous!

SOMMA: Can you give us a little background on Office Resources and how you became the premier dealer of Knoll furniture?

Rowan: Established in 1996, Office Resources has since grown to become one of Knoll’s largest contract furniture dealers in North America. As a full-service office furniture company, we are focused on space planning, design, project management, delivery and installation. We have been providing exceptional product, reliable service and experienced design and project management to clients in corporate, higher education, healthcare and more for the last 20 years. ORI is headquartered in Boston, MA with locations in New York City, Hartford, Manchester and Portland, but we have extensive relationships with clients that maintain a portfolio of real estate across the United States!

SOMMA: What got you interested in design and how it pertained to furniture, and living space?

Rowan: I have always had a love of the visual arts, hence a career in the design field made sense. I also firmly believe that one’s sense of space is very important to their well being. Having the opportunity to help create ones work environment, a place of healing, or their home is very rewarding to me.

SOMMA: How’d you meet our Founder, Jen Ramsey.

Rowan: I met Jen through our networking circles in the industry and more often than not, work as a team with other like-minded industry trades to create amazing end results for our clients.

SOMMA: How did you help with the process of planning for the aesthetic and function of furniture that is currently installed at COVE?

Rowan: We worked with Jen and Developer Steve Kelm of Ten Congress Properties during the conceptual stages on how the space would function and what furniture most suited the needs of COVE. We provided different options and once these were narrowed down, we then worked as a team along with Malloy Interiors on making the final finish selections. This created the dynamic, unique space that COVE is today.

Joe Leddy, Maplewood, Cove, Portsmouth-4

SOMMA: Have you worked with Jen on any other projects? What did you enjoy about working with her/SOMMA?

Rowan: We just wrapped up the first phase of a fit up for a local media group company who is moving to a bigger space across town for their growing company. Jen is a pleasure to work with. She is laid back, yet very detail oriented, driven, creative, open minded and very talented.

SOMMA: Have you done any other places in Portsmouth? The furniture that exists at 3S Artspace comes to mind… It’s pretty interesting and follows a similar aesthetic.

Rowan: We do a significant amount of work in the Portsmouth area including Bottomline Technologies and Prime Buckholz on the tradeport, Wilcox Industries, Calypso Communications to name a few. We just completed a fitup for the new Fred C. Church Insurance office at the Portwalk (Stibler Associates was the Design firm), and in a few weeks we will be installing the new Bank of New Hampshire branch at the Portwalk downtown.

SOMMA: What do you think the importance of a space’s furniture is when it comes to first impressions? I for one was completely taken aback when I first set foot in the main lobby of COVE. The furniture is funky, fresh, and, heck, made me want to hang out a bit. I actually tried out all the chairs. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before…

Rowan: As everyone knows, first impressions are very important. That goes for one’s impression of a workspace as well! When one walks into an office for the first time, you want to be able to sense what that company is about, what their culture is like and what they do. This can be done through branding with images and artwork, and it can also be done through furniture. It needs to be inviting, comfortable, user friendly. For example, the furniture in the lobby of Cove would not be recommended for the lobby of an assisted living facility, as it is not geared towards the end user. For Cove, we wanted the furniture to be inviting to today’s working generations. It needed to be comfortable, to scale of the size of the lobby, and durable yet fun and eye catching as well.

Joe Leddy, Maplewood, Cove, Portsmouth-18

SOMMA: How does the form and function of furniture help “sell” a space (if at all)? In the way of COVE, they’re a co-working environment literally looking to rent space to patrons – so furniture seems like an important piece of that…

Rowan: The furniture is a huge part of COVE. First and foremost, it needs to appeal to a variety of people and age groups. In a space like COVE, there also needed to be flexibility to reconfigure to meet the needs of each and every tenant. This was achieved this by using systems furniture that can be reconfigured in almost unlimited ways, the same components for the private offices, mobile lounge seating, modular glass walls & flip/nesting tables in the conference rooms, the list goes on.

SOMMA: Have you ever met Florence Knoll? She’s a pretty historic figure when it comes to the design of furniture.

Rowan: I only wish I had the pleasure of meeting Florence Knoll. I look at Florence Knoll as a woman who, in a very male dominated field, paved a path for women in the world of architecture and design. She retired back in 1965, and currently resides in Florida.

SOMMA: I read a quote from her that I found pretty interesting. It was something along the lines of “I don’t merely decorate space, I create it.” Can you expound upon that a little bit in regard to how this type of furniture accents a space?

Rowan: I love that quote because it’s very true. It’s not just about making a space look modern or pretty by throwing some paint on the walls or selecting a carpet and some light fixtures. It is a process of thinking about how one is going to feel in the space, how they will function within the room.

SOMMA: What do you enjoy most about your work? What kind of impression are you trying to leave with not only your client, but of your client’s clients?

Rowan: I couldn’t possibly pick just one thing. I love being in the design industry and being able to help create one’s environment, help our clients to be involved in creating their space. In turn, creating a sense of ownership to the process and end result for them.

I love the variety of work we do. No project is ever the same.

I love meeting new people and being able to help them thru a process that often to them seems daunting and overwhelming I try to make it easy and enjoyable for them, allow them to feel a sense of accomplishment when the project is complete. My hope is that our efforts in creating a positive environment will leave a positive and lasting impression on our clients and, in turn, theirs as well.