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Canadian Design Firm Thinkform Brings Modern Perspective

What will it take for Buffalo’s creative environment to turn from a snowball into an avalanche?

Part of the answer to that question, no doubt, lies in attracting fresh outside perspectives. Kitchener, Ontario based commercial interior design firm Thinkform Interiors fits the bill, offering a variety of design services from world traveled designers. To date, their portfolio is made up of mostly Southern Ontario, but focus has shifted across the border. They recently opened up an office at 500 Washington Street in early 2014.

KBIA-Pure-Kelly_OConnor_045Kelly O’Connor (Photo credit: Darin White)

Due to increasing design commissions in the city, senior designer and partner (and long-time Bills fan) Kelly O’Connor now spends much of her time here, with clients including developers Sam Savarino and Roger Trettel. Bringing a background working in Italy and Toronto over a 22 year span, her commercial design commissions now include Savarino Companies’ large mixed-use project at 500 Seneca Street and Buffalo River Lofts off of Ohio Street. Employing 4 in Kitchener and 2 in Buffalo, they are continuing to focus more on local commissions. “I plan to concentrate on the WNY area, in all sectors,” says O’Connor.

While huge design budgets are nice, the concept that good design doesn’t need to cost big money is a specialty of Thinkform. Like Kitchener, Buffalo is lacking in the big money build-out budgets that are prevalent in Toronto, forcing the creative crunch into full-gear. “Research in materials, availability, durability and knowing the ins and outs of sourcing lighting, fixtures, and furnishings is key,” Says O’Connor.

And the results are worth it. “Good design is good business,” says O’Connor. “I have solid cases of clients who have invested in thoughtful strategic design who subsequently increased sales immediately after.”

As with retail spaces, the value of commercial office design is apparent in its potential to recruit better employees and improve the morale and productivity of existing ones. Purveyors of traditional office spaces have learned they now have to compete with newer, fresher, more fun work environments that have been popping up around the city.

“Corporate culture has probably gone through the most change as the approach to the modern workplace changes. New technologies, younger workers, and mobility have all played a role. I am constantly working on understanding what is and isn’t working in all sectors and adjusting and advising accordingly. Research is an important aspect of my job.” All of these details come together with the goal of successfully reflecting a company’s brand.

So far, the reaction from various Buffalonians has been positive.

“We are different. That’s my feedback so far!” says O’Connor.

Indeed. Canada, keep sharing your talent with us.


Get Connected: Thinkform Interiors, 716.256.2577, 519.591.2725 (international)



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Written by Tim Scanlon

Tim Scanlon

Real estate and design nerd. Owner at LandLines. Has a sweet tooth. Fan of succinct bios.

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