Meet Facilitec’s talented chief architect, David Collins, and learn about his commercial interiors design career, view on workspace design trends and secrets to project success.

Born in Harrogate, Tennessee, David grew up on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University, where his father was the Business Manager.  He received his architectural degree from the University of Tennessee and spent the next ten years in New York City, where he worked for several architectural firms, including an extended stint at HOK, and directed large-scale interior relocations for numerous clients.  In 1994, he moved to Atlanta.  Currently, with more than 30 years of experience designing a wide variety of corporate spaces, he leads Facilitec’s architectural team and manages the quality control of each project to maintain Facilitec’s highest standards of excellence and ensure client satisfaction.

Q: How did you get into design and architecture, and what inspired you to pursue commercial interiors over buildings? 

A: I was influenced in architectural design because it combined my interests in both art and science.  I was drawn to commercial interiors over buildings because when I first started out in architecture, I worked on a large commercial interiors project for AT&T. I realized this involved much more close contact with the client and the actual people using the space than doing the shell architecture.  This was a path where I could really affect people’s lives in an intimate way and make a difference in their total workplace experience.

Q: Tell us about your first professional design experience.

A: My first job during college was with the University of Tennessee Agricultural Engineering Department where I designed “waste-management” facilities and swine research structures.  I always say, when you start off designing for pigs, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Q: How would you describe your design process and best practices, and what are 3 considerations that you discuss with clients prior to beginning any project.
A: My design process involves getting a deep understanding of not only the needs of the client but the culture of the workplace and the image the facility needs to present to the public.  There are never standard “cookie-cutter” solutions to a commercial interiors project but rather a custom “couture” solution tailored to each individual space.
Important client considerations:
1. How do you perform your work?  What tasks do you perform?
2. How and how often to you meet?
3. How do you work – in teams or individually?
Q: What are the most important workplace design trends that you see evolving and making a lasting impact on commercial spaces
and why? 

A: Personal workplaces are getting smaller with the need for less storage of paper and reference materials.  However, the space gained from reducing personal workspace is now being redistributed to common areas where employees can meet and collaborate or get away from their desk to work in a different environment.

Q: How have you implemented some of these design trends in recent Facilitec projects?

A: We recently completed a project for the State of Georgia Vital Records headquarters.  Here, we moved the employees to smaller workspaces while providing common areas for small groups to meet or have private conversations.  This space also made extensive use of glass to provide not only an open environment but also to allow light to flood all areas of the workplace.

Q: Have any of your recent projects stretched your creativity and skill set to fit specific client demands?

A: I did have a project once that had to accommodate two full-size taxidermy deer in the lobby.

Q: How long have you lived in Atlanta and what are your thoughts on how commercial spaces have changed as the city continues to develop?
A: I moved to Atlanta in 1994, having lived the previous 9 years in New York City.  During the past 20+ years, Atlanta has really grown up into a world class city.  When I first moved here, it was a city of traditional enclosed offices with paneling and crown molding.  Now, it’s almost a competition to see who can offer the hippest office space to attract new talent.