We’re continuing our “Innovation by Cortland” series today with a look inside our design team. In 2013, we made the decision to create a team to oversee all of our interior design needs at our communities across the country, from renovation projects to new builds. Now, our design team is over 40 people strong, and they’re responsible for much more than selecting the hardware finishes for our bathrooms and paint colors for kitchen cabinets. They create cohesive living spaces designed with our residents in mind, as well as lead the charge in developing new products for Cortland’s CASK Industries to manufacture.
When Cortland’s designers approach a new project, they consider how to best create a space that’s functional above all else. Every design starts with an initial concept around how each community’s team and residents will be using the space in their everyday lives. Then they choose the right materials to create an experience that’s both beautiful and purposeful. Our designers have a talent for bringing these elements together to create spaces that transcend design and are in tune with the living experience our residents are looking for. At Cortland, making our residents and community associates feel at home is always a top priority. A clubhouse isn’t just another office and entertaining space. It’s where our teams dedicate most of their days, where our residents gather to spend time with loved ones, and where our future residents decide to call us home.
As a designer for Cortland, I’m able to work with construction managers, marketing associates, and product developers every step of the way when I’m designing a new space. We’re all working toward the same goal, so we’re able to be more creative and bounce ideas off each other. Because of this level of collaboration, fewer ideas get left behind, and we can ultimately provide a better product and living experience.
Designing for Cortland presents a unique challenge for our team. We have over 100 communities across the country, and each community needs to have its own distinct personality while maintaining its connection to Cortland’s brand. This can be especially difficult in cities where we have a large number of communities. But our designers consistently rise to the occasion, and in each community design, they work to infuse Cortland’s design values while creating a look and feel that speaks to the individuality of the community. Our designers take the time to truly get to know the neighborhood and what’s unique about the area, so they can then translate those differences into the community’s design.
Our design team attends multiple trade shows and conferences around the world to stay up-to-date on what’s new and upcoming in the design industry. They work to implement the newest materials, textures, patterns, and color schemes into our living spaces — but their commitment to innovation goes well beyond new and exciting materials and finishes. They constantly look for new ways to approach familiar problems, like community amenity design, so that their twentieth community clubhouse design feels just as unique as their first.
When Cortland launched CASK Industries, our interior design team was already playing an integral role in sourcing new products for us to use in our communities. Now that we manufacture many of these products ourselves, they work closely with the product development team to introduce new items into the catalog every six months. The product development team will often provide direction on which types of products they’re looking to create, and the design team will have the creative freedom to source inspiration and determine the overall visual direction of new items and finishes. Once these products have been brought to life, our designers begin using them in our homes. This process allows our team to keep designs fresh and exciting, and lets them flex their creativity and expertise.
The whole team is involved in new product development for CASK. It’s a great way for us to come up with new finishes we want to use in Cortland apartments, or even entirely new products we haven’t had access to before. We’re constantly on the lookout for inspirational images we can send to the product development team, and we work with them to see the products through to manufacturing and then installation in our communities.
In 2017, our teams launched beautiful matte black and rose gold finishes for kitchen and bathroom hardware from CASK Industries. And in 2018, even more additions and expansions are planned for the CASK catalog. Their work has been nominated for industry accolades like the 2017 Senior Housing News Architecture & Design Awards, and is setting a new standard for interior design in the multifamily housing industry. Resident happiness drives everything our teams do, and our designers work tirelessly to consider all the ways a room — or even a specific piece of furniture — might be used by both our residents and community associates in order to create functional spaces that feel like home and add beauty to everyday living.
Our industry is ever-changing, but our teams are up to the challenge of keeping pace with the latest developments in design. And the best way to experience this is to see their work in action at one of our communities. Read more about our commitment to innovation below, and stop by a Cortland community near you to experience the Cortland difference for yourself.