May 6, 2020

Craig and Jennifer Kolstad say Hello Cindy!

It’s only fitting that the Hello Cindy! episode on the third day in the work week featured three guests. Host and Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen (@thecindygram) welcomed Craig and Jennifer Kolstad, plus their daughter Elsa. The Kolstad family joined from their home in Detroit, Michigan where they are respectively working on projects for HKS Architecture, designs for global Ford offices, and social studies homework. 

“A lot of the big players in the industry are all doing individual research projects during Covid-19,” Craig Kolstad said. HKS has leveraged their international team of 1,400 to take internal surveys about their mental health during remote working. Spoiler: many, including Allen, admit the burnout is real.  All of this data is meant to help clients with return-to-work plans, whenever that happens. Health and wellness is an ever-growing priority for designers, and going forward its clear mental health cannot be cast aside. “The real challenge is we’re re-socializing to become socially distant,” Craig says, summing up how designers are thinking ahead. He expects research to become a growing priority as designers, architects, and clients begin new projects. “I think it’s interesting that until now, we wanted hospitality in all these places… now it’s health and wellness’ and healthcare’s moment.” Jennifer said. Cindy attributes the rise of health and wellness projects, pre-coronavirus, to burnout more generally. 

Jennifer Kolstad, global design director at Ford Motor Company, noted the impact the pandemic has had on manufacturing. Looking back at Ford’s history of helping others, such as producing equipment during World War II, she noted that now the company is using their facilities to produce ventilators. “The nature of our business is tough on the designers and architects,” Allen noted, leading Jennifer Kolstad to note lessons learned from the 2008 recession.   

Per usual on Hello Cindy!, the Kolstads sent in pictures to display onscreen during their chat. Jennifer Kolstad spoke about the new Ford headquarters, which is in the works and constantly changing now to factor in COVID-19 precautions. The next project is the historic Michigan Central Train Depot,  purchased by Ford as a tribute to Detroit, which Jennifer Kolstad and her team are restoring and turning into a multi-purpose hospitality space.

Craig Kolstad then walked viewers through some of the art in their home, giving Beverly Fishman, a local artist, a shoutout for her topical-inspired art. “We wanted to see the world through design,” Craig said, referring to his wife. Having lived and worked all over the globe, the family is used to being flexible. As adaptability influences their designs, they hope to create a positive impact on the world. And on National Nurses Day, the segment ended as it began, with a massive “thank you” to nurses risking their own lives to save others. 

> See our full coverage of COVID-19 and its impact on the A&D industry

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