HP: What’s a recent project that you’re really excited about?
MA: We’re very excited about the new YMCA in Lynn, Mass., that we are doing with the YMCA of Metro North. It’s a wonderful project. The 70,000sf facility will replace the aging structure and provide a contemporary, light-filled environment that celebrates community and fosters social interaction. Maugel’s mission is to enrich lives and communities through design — this project illustrates our mission in action. As a firm, we also have a strong commitment to employee wellness, not only within the firm, but within our projects as well. It’s great to work on a project that aligns so closely with our corporate mission and values.
HP: When approaching the design for the new Lynn YMCA, what was the top priority?
MA: As a community resource, it was important for the new facility to be welcoming to all. The YMCA has been an anchor in the Lynn community for more than a century and serves over 10,000 people annually — 85% of the youth engaged are from low-income families. The health and well-being of the members is a top priority. Throughout the project, from strategy to execution, we kept the needs of the community front and center.
HP: What challenges, if any, did you have to overcome during the process?
MA: The major challenge was to support the business mission and create an interior design that fostered a sense of community, created a sense of well-being, and energized the youth. Balancing tranquility with vitality can be tricky. To overcome the challenge, we kept the palette neutral and added splashes of saturated color to add vibrancy. Natural light is an important element in wellness design. A large skylight was placed along the circulation path to maximize natural light into the interior core and to illuminate a long staircase that connects the main corridor to the upper studio. To energize the youth areas, we used fun geometric carpet patterns and bright saturated colors on the floor and walls.
HP: What unique features of the project stand out the most?
MA: To create a connection to the city, we designed a large, curved glass volume of space lining the street which houses the community and wellness areas and a café. The curved shape helps define the street edge and gives the facility a visible front to the city. During the early morning or late in the day, the space glows and the activity can be viewed from the street. It’s really about letting the public see that the Lynn YMCA is a fun, happening place.
HP: If you had a stamp on interior design, what would it be?
MA: It’s not really about us putting a stamp on a project but more about understanding our client’s strategic vision and creating a design that, when executed effectively, will fully express that vision in a meaningful and profitable manner. If we do that, with a commitment to wellness and sustainability, then we are not only being good designers, but good citizens as well.