FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Kirsten Janes
July 9, 2013
When asked what drives her, Kirsten Janes explains she is an avowed believer in sustainable design. Her mantra is “I like creating spaces that improve people’s lives and productivity.” I would describe her as firm, clear, elegant and charming.
I met with Kirsten recently at the Calgary offices of Omicron where she runs the interior design shop. I was struck by one of her opening comments – “secretly, I’m an introvert” – and she then went on to show me how smoothly, deftly she can get a point across. Her background is diverse – architectural firms, developers – joining Omicron two years ago to head their interior design shop in Calgary. Born in Cranbrook, grew up in Lacombe – migrated to Calgary.
She chose the Interior Design program at Mount Royal because Journalism program was full that year . . . it seems journalism’s loss was our industry’s gain.
I asked her what qualities distinguish preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
. . . trust. Being able to convey talent while being humble – not showy. I don’t trust everyone on day-one. I need a team with the skills I don’t have – and the level of trust becomes deeper.
I asked why her clients hire her group at Omicron, over competitors?
. . . open to ideas, offer up suggestions – going deeper than the scope. Opportunity to help save time working with in-house specialties. Being large and multi-disciplined, we can innovate, come up with solutions sooner – saving time and money. We do a wide scope, tenant improvements, landlord’s work . . .
What defines life-work balance for you?
. . . managing a home, family, career – supporting my 11 yr. old son and his father who is unable to work due to a chronic illness, moving dirt in my yard, working with native plants. I’m an active member in the Calgary Chapter of CREW, involved in the marketing committee.
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
. . . not much.
I asked Kirsten how she sees interior design and engineering practice over the next 90 days?
. . . clients are pushing ahead, hard, on projects that have been on hold. The sense I have is that when clients are nervous, there is a tendency to stall. We aren’t seeing that right now, so are very busy.
. . . and over the next 5 years?
A growing trend for oilsands clients to want their EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) firms to work from their premises – to be closer to the client, to have their engineering work effectively done in-house. I see a lot of professionals, schooled in the 70’s will be retiring (though many say they don’t know how to quit) – the next generation is taking over! Stand-alone interior design shops will continue to be strong in the Calgary office market. Our firm’s structure will continue to thrive because we have all the disciplines under one roof. Sure, like a family, we fight, but we get it right most of the time. Many of our clients have far more than an office in Calgary – buildings in the field, with lots of non-process buildings that have interiors too! By having all the design, engineering and construction disciplines together – I can walk around the corner to discuss a solution, walk through an issue – more quickly get to someone saying, ‘well, if you’d done it this way ______’ – processes that save our clients time and money because we aren’t shipping plans, and those conversations, out of house.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life?
… my son Braden. I am mom to the greatest kid around – intelligent beyond his years, a techno-geek like his dad!
What are you reading?
… I escape into historical romance set in the Regency era of the 1700’s – Mary Balough, Stephanie Lawrence are favourite authors
. . . 2009 Dodge Journey is the current mom-mobile, chosen for my physical comfort
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