Minnesota Board of Cosmetology — St. Paul, MN
The Minnesota Board of Cosmetology, the state agency that regulates hair, skin, and nail care services, needed space to accommodate its growth in staff and outreach to its licensees. They wanted the space to feel reflective of the beauty industry’s style and creativity and to integrate 21st century functionality. It was important that the space be welcoming to all and foster collaboration through work spaces and technology. The real trick was the turnaround time: the Board only had 10 weeks from lease signing to move-in.
PlanForce helped create a hip, fashion-forward space that resonates with staff, licensees, and the public. The project represented a very comprehensive effort — from space planning to finishes, and even helping coordinate furniture. The final result is a trendy décor that really sets the tone, providing an office that, according to Executive Director Gina Fast, has “a professionalism that our previous space lacked.”
Along with the improved aesthetics, PlanForce helped create an office that really works. There are a variety of spaces to support the different types of work the Board performs — multiple conference rooms, interview rooms, open collaboration areas, open plan desks, and private offices — all with access to natural light.
This variety is important, as the environment truly affects the tone of each meeting. Fast says that the staff get different outcomes based on which location they use and that all of the rooms are regularly utilized. The office has turned into a place that licensees enjoy, which helps promote collaboration and positive licensee interaction. The staff have enough room to host licensees and to do their jobs well, without any extra space going to waste.
In addition to the different types of spaces, putting each room in the right location was critical to the success of the office. The main entryway includes the Board’s primary conference room, where public meetings can take place. Also, there is an interview room that provides public access in the front and a staff-only entrance in the back. Another open collaboration space serves as a multi-purpose area for full staff trainings, event overflow, and small group sessions.
The office design provides security by structurally separating the public space from staff-only areas, without being unfriendly. A new command center manages the technology in the conference rooms, helping staff feel very organized and adding to the overall professionalism of the space. In addition, the lunch room provides a real break for staff from the hustle and bustle of the office space.
Fast says, “Elizabeth and Weld really listened” to the Board’s needs and helped create a design that met those needs. Even better, PlanForce helped them find cost-effective design solutions that maintained the integrity of the design. Best of all, “the staff are much happier coming into the office now,” says Fast.
Tami Thein, Assistant to the Executive Director, agrees: “It’s a 180 degree difference in the working environment.”
The staff are much happier coming into the office now.
Gina F., Executive Director, Minnesota Board of Cosmetology