by Lisa Johnson, junior, Interior Architecture
Workplace design has gone through some major transformations within the past decade. SoHE’s alumni-in-residence, Candice Balobeck (1988, Interior Design), got the opportunity to share her experience at Cisco Systems with some Interior Architecture students. She is currently a Workplace Solutions Design Manager working in San Jose, California/Silicon Valley at Cisco’s headquarters. From a student’s perspective, this was a special treat to hear from someone who has had a lot of experience specifically with office design.
Collaboration is the new buzzword when it comes to office design. A few factors have influenced this change from private cubicles to an open concept. There has been a shift in the work process and people are encouraged to work as teams rather than by themselves, which leads to better ideas. Technology has also played a large role in making people more mobile and less tied down to their workstations. Most files are electronic now which clears up a lot of space that was previously used for large, bulky filing cabinets.
As a student it is fascinating to learn about these new trends in the workplace that I can use as inspiration for my own projects. Candice showed us many examples of her work and explained the impact of this new design and its effect on people. The amount of amenities that large companies currently offer is over the top. The office environment is becoming more and more inspiring with the use of bright colors and cool patterns. Workplace features available today lead to a better day-to-day experience for employees.
After the lecture we were able to meet with Candice for some one-on-one critique time to discuss our current projects. I always value a new perspective on design and received some great feedback. She gave us some pointers on how to turn our office spaces into a more collaborative environment. Overall my class really enjoyed her lecture and were inspired by her innovative ideas for office design.
SoHE’s first ever alumna-in-residence was Candice Balobeck, who is Cisco’s Connected Workplace’s Solutions Design Manager. With over 25 years of workplace design and management experience in both fast-growing, entrepreneurial firms as well as Fortune 500 companies, Candice brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. As a member of Cisco’s Global Workplace Design and Development team, Candice focuses on program support, solution design and branding for their built environment. Before joining Cisco, Candice’s previous roles included Workplace Strategist, Workplace Services Manager and Client Relationship Manager in the defense, auto and financial industries. Before her corporate experience she worked at several architectural and engineering firms as an Interior Designer. Candice holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Science in Facility Planning and Management from Cornell University. Candice holds certifications from the International Facility Management Association (CFM – Certified Facility Manager), United States Green Building Council (LEED Green Associate) and CoreNet Global (MCR.w – Master of Corporate Real Estate – Workplace Designation). In her spare time she loves to work in her garden, golf and hike with her two dogs.