All Makes’ design team sought to make an entrance a lighter, more inviting space for the Autism Center of Nebraska, the Omaha nonprofit winner of the 100 Year, $100,000 Office Makeover Contest.
The Autism Center of Nebraska (ACN), in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute, aims to “support and enhance the quality of life for persons with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families” through education and employment.
Before the Autism Center of Nebraska (ACN) moved into its current location at 90th and Q Streets over 10 years ago, the facility functioned as a church. The furniture in the lobby/entrance area featured heavy wooden desks, limited seating areas for children and families, and vintage brickwork. One of the key challenges of the project was to select furniture that accounted for sensory issues.. For example, many children on the autism spectrum are sensitive to the color yellow.
Morgan Guy, All Makes design intern, said she selected office furniture that used “fun, interactive fabrics” because of the ACN’s work with children.
“As an intern, it was a great experience and very humbling,” she said. “They were really happy and excited to work with us.”
The other designer on the project, Lorie Roh, agreed.
“We wanted to incorporate colors that are contemporary and fun because the ACN often works with children,” she said. “ACN was very receptive to opening up and modernizing.”
For the lobby furniture, All Makes provided two new Hon Voi and 10500 Series reception desks and Hon Convergence task chairs, a guest seating area featuring Hon Flock Square and Cylinder Minis, Modular chairs and a collaborative table, and Hon laminate end tables and Allsteel Relate guest chairs for another seating area.
The All Makes judges panel selected the ACN as a finalist out of 31 different Omaha nonprofit nominees along with MS Forward, the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition, the YMCA of Greater Omaha-Downtown and Madonna Community-Based Services. The ACN acquired nearly 9,000 votes from the community to in the prize package: $25,000 in new office furniture from Allsteel and Hon, a Kyocera Copystar M5526 copier and a Meeting Owl conferencing solution from Owl Labs.
According to Brett Samson, ACN executive director, the nonprofit office makeover contest brought employees together and amplified ACN’s social media presence.
“When we won, people were happy and felt like we really accomplished something together as a team. It built the team up,” he said. “The services we provide are exceptional, but we didn’t feel like that was coming across when people walked into our lobby. We need it so badly.
“We’ve gotten many more compliments as people walk in. They’re allowed t spread out and we’ve noticed that kids especially are drawn to the newer chairs that rotate. Our Quality Assurance Director Leslie (Hurting) said people using both new areas looked much more comfortable.”
Samson also said that working with Roh and Design Intern Mogan Guy made the process easy and pleasant.
“We didn’t even know what we wanted at first, but they did a great job of putting all of our thoughts together,” he said. “She took what we had and made it look better. We’re just so appreciative of All Makes for this opportunity.”
ACN offers residential, vocational and transitional services, as well as employment connections and caregiver respite.
The All Makes 100 Year, $100,000 Office Makeover Contest occurred between April and June of this year. We announced the winners on July 9.