KGA UFC Conference Room

Personable No Matter The Project

In 2015, Chelsea Lavell was six weeks into her maternity leave with her first baby and got a call that would change her career forever. The UFC Corporate Headquarters project that had been on hold was back on and they wanted Chelsea. This project was personal for Chelsea due to the work she had already put into it. For KGA it had the potential to put them on the map in the world of interior design. Chelsea had a choice to make. She could either pass on the project and stay on maternity leave, or she could expedite her leave and finish the project that meant so much to her. With the help of the KGA partners a team of designers was hired to get to work.

Because of that choice, KGA went on to design the entire UFC campus. It also landed an incredible partnership with Caesars Entertainment. Today, KGA Architecture is known equally for its outstanding architectural work and fantastic interior design. Now a partner, Chelsea shares some of the firm’s history, recent projects, and plans.

KGA UFC Headquarters
UFC Headquarters Lobby

KGA History & Recent Projects

KGA was founded in 1975 and its work encompasses hospitality, healthcare, civic, commercial, and education. Coming up on its 50th anniversary, the firm now boasts a team of 48 employees.

As to recent projects, Chelsea is particularly excited about a new casino they have designed with Caesars Entertainment and the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. “The amazing thing about this project is we were called in October and returned 100% of the drawings by April.” That was six months to fully design the casino from the ground up.

This casino is a prime example of what KGA can do for its clients. “I’ve sat in so many interviews where the client says, ‘Show me that you’ve done this before.’ says Chelsea. “And I tell them, ‘We haven’t done that before. But we hadn’t done this other project before either and look how well it turned out.’ Just because there’s something that we haven’t done, that doesn’t mean we aren’t completely capable of creating something unique for our next client.”

KGA Chelsea Lavell

“Our firm has a vast project portfolio which allows us to bring knowledge and distinctive design to our clients.”

Chelsea Lavell

Faith Lutheran & Caesars Entertainment

KGA is also working on the Faith Lutheran Crusader Technology Center, which will be a new STEM building on campus. This is just one of the buildings KGA has designed for the school. KGA has been fortunate enough to work with the Faith Lutheran community for over 20 years. This project speaks volumes about the quality of KGA’s work and the trust it has built among return clients.

One such return client is Caesars Entertainment. In 2015 KGA competed for a design project with
Caesars and won their business. Since then, Caesar’s has kept them very busy. One project of note is the Caesars Forum Convention Center which was the largest pillarless ballroom at the time. This was the first time KGA was awarded an interior design contract under another architect rather than the reverse.

KGA Caesars Forum Lobby
Caesar’s Forum

What Makes KGA Unique

What makes KGA unique in the market is not only its diverse offerings in architecture and interior design among multiple markets but also its dedication to the client’s vision. As Chelsea says, “We’re not egotistical. We’re designing for you, not for us. That is why you can’t look at a building and say, ‘Oh, that was done by KGA.’”

KGA Caesar's Forum
Caesar’s Forum

Looking ahead to what they hope to accomplish soon, Chelsea shares, “We have a culture that we are very proud of that goes back to the roots of KGA. We have always been family-oriented, so each person has a life outside of work.” The way KGA is helping this work-life balance now is by facilitating a hybrid work environment. They require two days in the office per week and ask for consistency from week to week. “If you do your work and your clients are happy, I don’t need to see you across the table from me.”
Moving forward, Chelsea hopes she and the other principals can maintain that culture of trust that has led to such great retention for their team. Alongside that, they prioritize personal growth through
mentorship.” I was mentored by the generation before me to go after my goals. Now I get to continue that legacy and I think that is awesome.”

KGA logo

Finally, KGA is excited to take on new and challenging projects. No matter the client or project size, they are dedicated to remaining personable and letting their client’s vision drive their designs.

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well-being header image

Is There A Well-Being Gap Between Leaders and Employees?

According to recent findings conducted by Steelcase, there is a significant difference between a leader’s work experience and their employee’s. With so much recent workplace upheaval, it is no wonder employees are struggling to adjust to new workplace norms. In this article, we will discuss the disconnect between leaders and their employees and how they can take steps to improve employee wellbeing. 

When questioned about their feelings regarding work-life balance, health and energy levels, engagement with their work, and mental health, there is a significant gap between leaders and employees. 

well-being gap between leaders and employees dissatisfaction graphic

While many factors contribute to this overall dissatisfaction with the workplace, here are a few that employees say are significant.   

well-being gap between leaders and employees contributing factors graphic

So what can leaders do to help improve the well-being of their employees? Well, research suggests one of the best things leaders can do is to set an example for their employees. According to the Steelcase study, when leaders are in-person and visible in the office more often, things get better. 

well-being gap between leaders and employees leader transparency graphic

By being visible and accessible to employees more often, leaders can have a significantly positive impact in their workplace.  

Regarding physical space, studies show that 80% of companies have reduced their office space. At the same time, they are also requiring employees to be in the office more often. This loss of space (shared workstations compared to “owned” stations) and subsequent loss of privacy is frustrating for employees. Especially considering they who spend most of their time doing individual work that requires privacy. Since most leaders enjoy a private office, they may not experience the distractions and interruptions employees face in open offices. As a leader, it is important to recognize that your employees have different space needs too. Do your best to create places for quiet collaboration and privacy.  

Privacy Solutions for Employee Well-Being

Some great ways to provide auditory privacy are with acoustic solutions like sound clouds and panels. These work well in problem areas and the addition of sound masking significantly reduces distractions.   

mps acoustics grille image
(See the Grille Sound Cloud in the Create Spaces Boise Showroom today.)

As to visual privacy, adding screens and hoods around and between workstations helps eliminate distractions.   

Steelcase Flex personal spaces
Flex Personal Spaces by Steelcase

Finally, adding phone booths or studio pods would provide flexible spaces for individuals or teams to have confidential conversations. They also take up less square footage than a traditional conference room. 

Steelcase booths and pods
On the QT phone booths and pod by Orangebox

Ultimately, different people have different work styles. By providing a variety of furniture solutions that support different postures, leaders can help their employees be more productive when they are in the office. Studies show that when employees feel like their leaders are considering their needs, their feeling of well-being increases by 22%. In this case, simply taking the step to ask employees what they want makes a huge difference.   

Create spaces where your employees want to work and see the difference it can make for your company. 

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Create Spaces is the expert in space planning and furniture selection. If you are interested in finding solutions for a smaller office footprint, contact us today! We specialize in creating exceptional spaces on time and on budget.

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Bluberi: It’s A Team Sport

Thirty years ago, Bluberi was a small company in Drummondville, Quebec creating games for slot machines. Today, it is a complete slot machine manufacturer and game designer with 200 employees throughout the US and Canada. It wasn’t until 2022 that the company began its rapid growth. The combination of coupling tenured industry leaders with the already talented Bluberi team was the recipe to begin seeing substantial success. Here to tell us all about their rapid growth and new office in Las Vegas is Chief Operating Officer, Steve Kohon.

Bluberi Showroom
Bluberi’s New Showroom

20,000 s.f. office and warehouse to 85,000 s.f.

While Steve started at Bluberi in the sales department, he now oversees the operations, service and IT teams. So, when the team began to outgrow their building, he was the one best suited to help them relocate. “Our previous space was 20,000 s.f. which included the warehouse and the office. As we grew it became a struggle to support our production in the warehouse and team members in the office.” They eventually resorted to shared desks and specific in-office days for office staff. To remedy the problem Bluberi found an 85,000 s.f. space and decided to invest in all new furniture and equipment. As Steve says, “Our team members deserve the best of the best.” After releasing an RFP and entertaining multiple companies, Create Spaces won the deal.

“Our team members deserve the best of the best.”

-Steve Kohon, COO
Bluberi Before 1
Bluberi Before 2
Bluberi’s Previous Office Space

Vision: Create a place to be proud of

The Bluberi management team wanted to create a place where all the team members would be proud to work. Therefore, the floor plan was designed to help teams interact with each other and further their culture of collaboration. “The space is designed like a racetrack with the executive leaders sitting with their teams rather than being locked away in a secret hallway. There are also no silos between
departments, and everyone’s voice is heard. I think that company culture is what sets us apart.”

“It has truly taken a village to make all this happen…”

-Steve Kohon, COO

Bluberi Reception
New Reception

Designing a space that supports the culture

Where the previous Bluberi office had rooms pulling double-duty, they now have plenty of spaces for all their needs with technology that makes it easy to schedule. Not only is the space more functional, but it is also very colorful with bright blues and pinks livening up the environment and reflecting the brand’s playful colors. As the employees settle into their new office good things are happening. No more sharing desks, rather, everyone has a dedicated workspace. The teams are seeing great ideas coming out of everyone being in the office together. “I didn’t realize how much went into all of this when I took on the project. It has truly taken a village to make all this happen and Denisse and the Create Spaces team have done a great job.”

Bluberi Conference Room
New Conference Room

Following their core values into future success

With everyone back in the office and collaboration at a high, Bluberi is excited for the future. “One of our company core values is ‘Celebrate Wins But Never Satisfied.’ the other is ‘It’s A Team Sport’. So, this office is definitely a win, but now we want to take it to the next level and do what we set out to do.”

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If you are a business or organization looking to create an exceptional space on time and budget, we would love to work with you! Create Spaces is your one stop shop for space planning, furniture selection, and audio-visual installation. Contact us today!

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leader employee gap

The Employee – Leader Gap

Message From The President

A gap exists between leaders’ perceived well-being at work and employees’ well-being. According to the recent Steelcase work study, leaders are almost twice as likely (as employees) to feel better about their work-life balance, energy, engagement, and mental health. So how do leaders bridge the gap and help employees feel as well at work as they do? Let’s focus in on the singular topic of engagement for a moment—I feel like this one is the key to improving wellbeing across the board.

Two key traditional HR questions that drive engagement are the following:

  1. Do I know what my job is, do I have a clear, written job description?
  2. Do I have the right tools and training to do my job?

For some reason leaders and ownership are better at answering the above two questions for themselves—but not as good at doing this with employees. So how do organizations get better? Here is a simple step in the right direction. Ask your employees the above two questions—do a survey. It’s easy. You can do it with Office 365 (there is a handy app called Forms) or you can do it with a survey using Survey Monkey or something else similar. Make it department-specific but anonymous, that way employees feel more comfortable sharing without fear of being singled out. Once you have the results, review them with the leadership team and then pick an item or two each quarter to work on. Keep track of your survey results and over time you will see progress.

Good luck, I hope you can reduce the Employee – Leader gap at your organization.

Scott Galloway

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large presentation space in an office

Inclusive Spaces for All 

Designers, leaders and even inclusive design advocates often ask, “How do we balance everyone’s needs when they are very different?” Or, “Who do we listen to when there are competing needs?” These questions come up often because what might support an equitable experience for one group, may also create challenges for another.

Structured Cabling

5 Tips for Structured Cabling

In the fast-paced world of modern business, seamless and efficient communication is crucial for success. As technology continues to evolve, businesses increasingly rely on a robust and organized network infrastructure to support their operations. One integral component of this infrastructure is structured cabling, a standardized approach to organizing and managing the intricate web of cables that connect various devices and systems within an organization. When approaching your company’s structured cabling needs, make sure to focus these five things:

1. Scalability

For when your business experiences growth and changes in your technology needs.

2. Reliability + Performance:

A well-designed system helps minimizes signal interference, reduce downtime, and ensure consistent high-speed connectivity.

3. Simplified Troubleshooting

This makes it easier for IT professionals to identify and address problems quickly, minimizing disruptions to business operations.

4. Cost-Effective

Investing in a quality system lowers costs over time with ease of maintenance, scalability, and reduced downtime.

5. Adaptability to Technology Changes

Structured cabling ensures that businesses can integrate the latest technologies and upgrades without the need for extensive rewiring, providing a future-proof solution.

Create Spaces provides structured cabling services. Contact us for help with your system today!

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