Author: Admin

How can I be sure my DRF was submitted correctly?

Several months ago, we initiated the use of the electronic Design Request Form (DRF). When you submit the electronic form, you will be directed to a new screen confirming your submission. You should also receive an email from Onbase ( confirming your submission and with a link to your submitted form. Our office receives the DRF upon submission and it is added to an online queue of projects to be assigned. Based staffing availability, your department will be contacted soon after the DRF has been submitted. If ever you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 348-6508.

Furniture Lead Times

The University of Alabama is happy to have a contract with approximately 165 commercial furniture manufacturers sold through 33 certified dealers. This contract, authored by our partners in Procurement Services, allows us to provide a variety of options to our University clients that fit a wide range of needs, budgets and purposes. Commercial furniture is made to specification based on client need; because of that, it takes anywhere from six to eight weeks for pieces to be manufactured. Then, per the terms of our contract, a certified vendor delivers and installs the furniture on location. That means it can take anywhere from eight to ten weeks from date of purchase for furniture to be installed here on campus. Because of this lead time, it is important to plan ahead – especially when there is a firm deadline.

If your department is in need of new furniture, you can get the process started by filling out a Design Request Form.

Extending the Life of Your Furniture

The University Upholstery Shop is committed to bringing quality upholstery services to the University community. Each year, our three trained upholsterers reupholster over five hundred items for various University clients. We are able to work on almost any type of project – from weight room equipment to large sofas to office task chairs. The Upholstery Shop is able to help the University reduce overall costs by repairing old and worn furniture with new materials rather than purchasing completely new pieces. For instance, a brand new guest chair averages around $500 while materials to recover the same chair might cost an average of $125. If a piece of furniture is broken or damaged, we often work with Building Maintenance or the furniture manufacturer to repair or replace the broken parts. So, if your department has furniture that is past its prime, consider using the services of our talented upholsterers to bring the piece back to life.

Loveseat before and after

Click the photo for more before and after transformations.

AUID Conference 2016

The University of Alabama was recently represented at the Association of University Interior Designers (AUID) Annual Conference for the first time in several years. The goal of the conference is to bring together professional interior designers from colleges across the United States. These individuals design high-use spaces that must meet the needs of students, staff, and faculty, be aesthetically pleasing, and be easily maintained. This can be much harder than you would imagine!

Three UA interior designers attended the event and brought back with them not only new ideas, but also confidence in knowing that the guidance provided by our department is standard in most higher education settings. Michael Hand was awarded a 2nd Place for New Construction in the 2016 Design Competition for his work on North Lawn Hall. Please join us in congratulating Michael! In addition to that, they learned about the similarities and differences among the colleges in areas such as branding and advancing their core missions. As you can imagine, all colleges are looking to increase enrollment and retention of students. The design staff was able to see how this unified mission is accomplished in different ways, depending on the strengths of the college and requirements of prospective students in varying regions.

Updated Design Request Form

In an effort to make more efficient use of time and resources, we have converted our Design Request Form (DRF) to a fully electronic form. Printing, signing, scanning, emailing, faxing, and mailing are all things of the past when it comes to the DRF. Now you can fill the form out electronically and a copy will be sent to our design staff for quicker processing. The requesting department will also receive a confirmation via email to both the contact and department manager. By streamlining this process, we will be able to get to your project a little faster and have better tracking for incoming requests. Thanks for helping make this a smooth transition!

The Search for Knowledge

dscf1390When Michael Hand was given the task of creating a design for the interior spaces in the newly opened North Lawn Hall, he knew that he needed an eye-catching divider screen to define the tech lounge space but leave it open enough so students could see what was going on. He wanted it to be a unique statement piece, so he decided to design it himself. Hand researched what the building would mean to freshmen coming onto the campus of The University of Alabama and what they would gain from attending classes in the new building before settling on the theme of “knowledge.”

Next, he selected the material that would be used. Hand explains, “I knew the finished product would have to be constructed of something substantial…a material that would help convey my concept on the strength that knowledge is and what someone gains from knowledge at The University of Alabama.” Hand chose to collaborate with a local metal artist to create the wall in steel. It is constructed in 3 panels, each measuring 8 feet in length and standing 10 feet tall. Once it was all welded together, each panel was powder coated for a “baked on” finish that would be sure to last for many years to come. The final piece is attached to a metal i-beam installed above the ceiling for stability.

Hand’s comments on the finished product, “I am beyond pleased with the outcome of the knowledge wall and hope to create more installations like this on campus.” Michael Hand is a UA alumnus with a degree in interior design. He works in the Furnishings and Design department as an Interior Designer II.


The Search for Knowledge (Literally!)

Can you find the word “knowledge” hidden in the design?  Click the image for a larger view.

North Lawn Hall Knowledge Wall

Furniture Project Deadlines

With the end of fiscal year 2016 quickly approaching, we want to ensure all design projects are handled in a timely manner so that funds are used properly. Please note that furniture does not have to be received by September 30, 2016 in order to use current year funds. Your department needs only to obtain a quote and submit an order in buyBAMA prior to Purchasing’s year-end deadline for requisitions.

To accommodate this deadline for requisitions, all projects which require the use of year end funds should be submitted no later than Friday, September 9. This is to ensure that our staff members have adequate time to design the space and work with an outside vendor to quote the project. In the same regard, Chair Lab appointments will be available during the month of September, however, no sample chairs will be sent out during the month. This is due to the increased volume of appointments that our department sees during each year-end.

Bryant Retail is Now Open!

After many years of planning and work, Bryant Retail Center opened to the public on July 22. Interior designer Mary Kathryn Holt was assigned to the project and did an outstanding job designing this state of the art retail space. The newly constructed building is home to a branch of the SupeStore as well as a Starbucks, which features a drive-thru.

The building boasts large exterior windows, which bring in the natural light and illuminate the space. The space also incorporates natural elements like wood finishes and exposed brick. You can find an eye-catching light fixture above the cascading stair case, located in the heart of the building. This space is elegant, inviting and functional. We hope it will be a popular spot for students, faculty, staff and visitors for many years to come.

Congratulations to Mary Kathryn Holt on a job well done!

Bryant Retail

NeoCon 2016

neocon-2016-1This past month, three of our designers as well as our Manager of Interior Design traveled to Chicago to take part in NeoCon 2016, the premier commercial interior design conference. This conference allows our designers to see the newest commercial interiors products and trends so they can gain inspiration for upcoming projects.

Our staff came back to campus with fresh ideas to implement in University spaces. They noticed a trend for more organic shapes in furniture – fewer hard corners and more rounded, soft edges. Lighter woods were popular as were glass surfacesneocon-2016-2 which reinforce the organic nature of the furniture.

Another trend our designers picked up on was the strong move away from panel supported work surfaces. Most of the open or shared office spaces were filled with free-standing workstations. This is in line with the big trend of last year’s conference – collaborative workspaces.

The Furnishings and Design department is dedicated to keeping up with the latest developments in the commercial design industry in order to provide our campus with well-developed spaces.


Why do I have to give a budget?

For the Furnishings and Design department, budget information is essential to providing our clients with the highest quality of service. Furniture projects, upholstery projects, and Chair Lab appointments all benefit from having client-provided budget information. When a client has a figure in mind, the designer knows which furniture or fabric manufacturers to choose from to stay within the appropriate budget. Likewise, Chair Lab appointments require a budget so that clients can choose from seating in their price range. You don’t want to shop among high-end manufacturers if your department has only allocated enough money for a more budget-friendly solution!

The Furnishings and Design department strives to exceed customer satisfaction, especially when it comes to staying within budgets, and we appreciate our clients working with us and providing that vital budget information. If you have any budget questions or concerns, please contact Sarah Robinson, F&D Manager of Business Processes.