Learn more about the panelists as we gear up for our inaugural Emerging Talent event on Tuesday, March 19th. Don’t forget to snag your ticket here!
What is their point of view? What trends are they seeing? What is resonating most with them? What do they think about current technology tools and what role does it play in their workplace planning initiatives? Work Design Magazine’s Emerging Talent series aims to answer these questions with a panel discussion comprised of some of D.C.’s top emerging designers and architects.
Get to know Lauren Funk, an interior designer at Leo A Daly with a focus on corporate commercial design!
WDM: Do you do anything special before you begin your work day?
Lauren: I try to exercise before work (3 mornings is a good week). And coffee.
What does your typical work day look like?
Every day is different. I do a lot of production work, which includes construction documents, choosing finishes, putting together presentations, doing renderings, or reviewing submittals. And some days are spent in the field doing surveys or going out to client presentations. Part of the reason why I love my job is because there is so much diversity.
What was your first “win” that made you confident that you were doing the right thing?
My first win was a successful client presentation. It was my first time meeting the client in person. My manager and I flew to Florida and gave a presentation to the President and all the VPs of the company. In a room of about 20 people, 3 were women (including myself) and I was by far the youngest person the room. It felt like a “win” to be listened to as the interior design “expert.”
What is the biggest risk that you’ve taken in your career?
I think the biggest risk I have taken is putting myself out there. Agreeing to do presentations even if I was nervous or taking on new tasks that I hadn’t done before. With support from my coworkers and by asking a lot of questions, I think I have been able to push through challenges and also improve my own skills.
What advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your career?
My career started about 3 years ago, but I if I could go back I would say to always be creative and express my ideas. It does not matter if the idea is implemented, no idea is a bad idea, you never know who or what it could influence.
What was your “aha” moment leading you to choose a career in design?
I decided I wanted to be a designer when I was 13 and watched way too much HGTV. But I really became passionate about the choice when I learned how much people are affected by design in their day-to-do lives. I want to help shape the fabric of the city and world that I live in and hopefully make it a better place for others.
If you could choose any place and any type of space to design, where and what would that be?
I like turning a small idea into a physical reality. Being able to design spaces for office headquarters, boutique hotels, or unique brands provides the opportunity to help a client shape their identity. I think being a part of that experience would be the ultimate goal.
What was your favorite toy when you were a child?
I really loved dolls (Barbie, American Girl Doll)
What do you think are the biggest challenges for designers today?
I think the biggest challenge is keeping up with the rapid pace of society. Design is more than just making something look pretty, the space needs to function for the people using it. So that means keeping up with technology and the social changes that come with it. People don’t work the way they used to, or play the way they used, or even live the way they used to.