Creating great space.
The slogan of Edmonton-based Wolski Design Group neatly encapsulates what this premier licensed interior design firm is all about – taking an empty space, and turning it into something special.
Edmonton businesses large and small have turned to Wolski since founder Marshall Wolski opened M.B. Wolski Interior Design in 1983. Renamed the Wolski Design Group in June 2002 with four principals – Wolski, Michele Roach, Chris Greene and Stuart Tims – the firm has completed 3,000 projects for 2,200 clients, and is the largest licensed independent design firm in the provincial capital.
There are few major buildings in Edmonton that have not experienced the Wolski touch.
|The Wolski team includes, standing from left, Marshall Wolski, Sharra Conrad, Shannon Klaus, Chris Kourouniotis, Kevin Richter, Michele Roach, Jennifer Buchanan and Cheryl Fitzgerald and, seated from left, Chris Greene and Stuart Tims.|
The firm is best known for its work in corporate and medical office design, with an increasing creative presence in hospitality, restaurant and retail design.
“Everybody has a wish list,” says Wolski. “We take the wish list, and start to turn it into reality.
“We have a reputation for being able to come up with good design and excellent value,” says Wolski. “We have a very complementary mix of designers who work as a team.”
The firm’s stellar reputation has made it the design firm of choice for major companies.
“All the big leasing players in Edmonton” – firms like CB Richard Ellis, Colliers, J.J. Barnicke, Royal LePage – “trust us enough that we’ve done all their own offices.”
That bond means Wolski is often the first firm the leasing companies turn to when space planning for new tenants.
Wolski has built a database of more than 300 base building plans for property managers and agents – including all the major downtown buildings, and “anything that’s over three stories high in this town and commercial,” says Wolski. This reduces cost and speeds up the design process, crucial in an industry that is as “time sensitive” as interior design, says principal Michele Roach.
“People want to move in, and they want to do it now,” she says. “Anything you can do to speed up the process is benefit for the client.
“If you need it the day after tomorrow, we’ll do our level best to deliver it the day after tomorrow.”
Respecting timelines and budgets is crucial to the firm’s reputation, says Roach, and Wolski’s practical, cost-effective approach fits the Edmonton marketplace well.
In a business based on design, keeping up with trends and products is a key component of success. Wolski’s design team has a solid working relationship with major suppliers, sending designers to major trade shows and seminars, allowing them to keep up with current design trends.
Wolski’s mandate is to reflect the client’s image to the public. There is no “Wolski look,” says principal Chris Greene. “We want to reflect their culture and their image, not ours.”
The process begins with a blank piece of paper, a wish list and often no more than a one-word description of a desired look.
“Everything from traditional to classic to contemporary to funky to techno,” says Greene. “The key is really listening to our client, understanding them and portraying that in our design.”
There is much more to interior design than just style.
A substantial part of Wolski’s business is devoted to improving workplace conditions for employees, ensuring workspaces are effective and efficient.
When economic times dictate changes to a business environment – everything from downsizing to making more room in existing space – Wolski is called in to solve space dilemmas. For example, the accounting firm KPMG went from a high-rise location to street-level visibility. Wolski found a way to reflect the firm’s new way of thinking.
“That’s an example of where we took a client’s corporate philosophy, and converted it into a space which reflected that,” says Wolski.
There is also the less glamorous but critical area of highly technical design, such as the control centre for Enbridge Pipelines. Very specific designs for everything from lighting and heating to seating was required to keep a wide range of people comfortable in a 24/7 environment.
Hospitality design is becoming an increasingly important part of the Wolski portfolio. The firm has designed over 80 locations of the thriving Booster Juice chain, and over 40 locations of Toronto-based Extreme Pita, helping the fast food outlets project just the right image.
Chris Kourouniotis specializes in restaurant and fast food design. It’s an under-served market, particularly in light of the fact that Alberta residents spend the most money dining out per capita in Canada.
“More and more restaurants opening in Edmonton are design oriented,” says Kourouniotis.
In addition to corporate design work, WDG handles light industrial design that incorporates office planning and warehouse layouts for such clients as Somagen, Positive Projects and ITW Insulation.
WDG offers landlords and building managers first-rate building technical services to assist them in their daily work. Services include BOMA area calculation and certification, as-built building drawings and data management, leasing plans, drawing conversions, fire safety/evacuation plans and a host of other technical services.
“We strive to make our clients’ lives easier with high-quality work,” says Tims.
Indeed, the Wolski Design Group has the people, and the passion, to create great space.
“We’re all very passionate about what we do,” says Greene. “We really care about our clients.”
To find out how the Wolski Design Group can help you, call 780.423.1811 or e-mail email@example.com.