Whether designing interiors that increase employee retention, selecting furniture and accessories that optimize branding, or just planning her next move in a competitive board game with friends, ISG Senior Interior Designer Andrea Kucera, IIDA, leans on her Strengthsfinder 2.0 strengths of Empathy and Strategic. Let’s learn more about Andrea, her experience at ISG, and how interior design can kill or instill culture, values, and brand.

What's your favorite part about working at ISG?

The culture! I have always believed that workplace happiness is not necessarily where you work, but the people you work with and the atmosphere you work in. I believe that ISG's culture hinges a lot on our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) because it cultivates a culture of opportunity where people enjoy being dedicated to their work and want to succeed. ISG celebrates success and that enhances our culture!infographic-stats-02

Speaking of culture, how are companies using interior design to further their culture?

Interior design evokes different emotions for a space, so special attention should be paid to color, finish materials, and furniture selection; these all create and instill culture. Whether you want a space to be lively and energetic or calm and relaxing, interior design can be tailored to fit those needs and leave a lasting impression for clients and positive impacts on employees. Interior design can cultivate a culture within a workspace that employees are proud to be a part of, which produces strong recruitment and retention within the company. According to a joint study by Hassell and Empirica Research, 37% of job candidates will accept a job with a lower salary if the company offers an appealing culture, workplace facilities, and technology.


Some interior design firms don’t provide furniture and accessory selection. Why do it at ISG?

Just like the design and feeling of a space, there are many styles and designs for “furnishings”—furniture and other decorative accessories. Interior designers have a complete vision for a project, not only for the design, but also the furnishings and how they interact for a cohesive project. When furnishings are considered from the beginning stages along with design, it can really be impactful to a space’s intended function and aesthetics. Additionally, the furniture industry is more creative than ever and offers so many options for collaborative and innovative environments, so the possibilities in design are endless.

In what ways are companies using interior design and furnishing selection to create or instill a brand?

Let’s take a tech company that is pushing boundaries with their products, for example. If their office space was designed with outdated colors and furniture, they would not be seen as cutting edge to their employees or clients. So companies are finding that if they create a style in their environment through interior design that brands them, it can have a positive impact on their business culture and position them apart from the competition in a crowded market.


Is there crossover for strategic interior design outside of the workplace commercial market?

Of course! Wherever you have a space, you want to consider creating a space that is optimal for the end user, whether that’s an office, retail store, or school. I find it so inspirational to complete a project and see the owners happily using the new space. It’s especially inspiring to see the students’ excitement and appreciation when we complete a school project.



What industry myths do you want to debunk about Interior Design?

The biggest myth, I might say, is that everyone can be an interior designer! In fact, a licensed interior designer has completed a collegiate degree in Interior Design, has accumulated years of experience, and has passed the licensure test and receive a NCIDQ certificate from the Council for Interior Design Qualification.

The second myth is that an interior designer only selects finishes and furniture for projects and makes the project look “pretty.” While of course our goal is to make the project look “pretty,” we also have an obligation to our clients for projects to function for the end user and maintain longevity. Contrary to popular belief, we spend most of our time meeting with clients to understand the needs of the project. Also, we conduct research and space planning, draft floor plans, ceiling plans, elevations, details, and write specifications for construction drawings. We work closely with all disciplines throughout a project, and there is a collaborative effort with the entire team.5

What is it about the A/E field that you think has the largest impact on our future as a firm, the industry, or the world at large?

The A/E field is all encompassing and affects so much of the world we live in. As professionals we are educated on building cities, communities, buildings, and spaces for people to live. We are largely responsible for the welfare and safety of everyone. When you think about the weight of that control; the A/E field has an enormous impact in the world!

Join the conversation #ISGWaterloo #SeniorInteriorDesigner #EmployeeOwned #ControlYourDestiny

Meet Sam Boeck

Sam leads talent engagement at ISG, focusing on providing innovative and strategic direction for talent engagement initiatives, including professional development, culture, and recruitment. Frankly put, Sam embodies ISG’s culture and...