Everyone loves functional design. These featured Design 2023 submissions are hands-on with the happiness they provide their customers.
DLR Group‘s design for the “North Kansas City Schools Early Education Center” (above) responds to a unique group of early learners. The need to consolidate the district’s early childhood special education program, coupled with the need for more early childhood offerings in general, led the district to hire the DLR Group to adaptively combine and redesign an existing Hobby Lobby and Price Chopper. The result? One of the largest early childhood facilities in the state of Missouri, with 112,000 square feet to house approximately 900 early learners ages 3-5 (50% of who are special needs learners).
The facility’s interior finishes and planning are carefully considered to make sure all learners, both special needs and others, are afforded an equitable learning experience. Being such a large scale, the building is broken down into seven different learning communities designed around biophilic themes in nature, ranging from honeycomb to butterflies. Each community is meant to give learners a smaller cohort to interact and engage with while also having access to the facility’s many amenities, including multipurpose spaces with sensory experiences, expanded outdoor play, and pull out spaces for de-escalation and testing, as well as expansive discovery zones for additional indoor play. Equally important is the inclusion of teacher equanimity spaces, affording educators a space that is intended for adult interaction and collaboration. DLR Group even created a storybook based on the building’s environmental graphics.
So far, the results have been more than could have been expected. According to the firm, one of the greatest fulfillment of this project has been watching the children’s reaction to the graphics when they first see the space. The book that was spun off from the graphics is proudly displayed in all of their classroom windows and is available for the next storytime with the students.
HANA-BANis a curry house based in Toyko that opened during the height of the pandemic. With Covid restrictions making it impossible for indoor eating, the curry house completely switched to take out. Due to this, Mayumi Kato of Legis Design Firm was entrusted with creating a unique and multi-functional packaging design, “Curry House HANA-BAN” (above), for the restaurant’s takeout containers that needed to leave an impression on their customers and bring them back for more. Staying true to the HANA-BAN brand, Kato produced labels and stickers that highlight the restaurant’s original spice combinations with smiling and happy mouths, while also including its logo and contact information. The stickers can also be used as a way to close bags and containers with tamper-evident seals for delivery and takeout orders. With the restaurant’s incredible food and strong individual brand identity, Hana-Ban’s recognition and sales rose steadily over the past couple of years, becoming one of the most beloved take-out restaurants in the surrounding community.
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