Skip to content

Architects Offer Guidance for Environmental Design

By Miller Zell

Environmental build/renovation, from initial concepts to installation completion, can be a twisting and complicated process. Major projects typically involve architects, designers, general contractors, engineers, project managers and, of course, a client who wants a smooth, transparent process that it understands each step of the way.

Everyone needs to speak the same language and have a clear understanding of roles and expectations for a project to be completed precisely as promised, on time and on budget. Everyone needs to be focused on serving the client.

That’s why Miller Zell offers an architect as a liaison between a project’s architect of record, the general contractor and our creative and project management teams. It keeps information and insight flowing back and forth from all ends.

Most critically, it extends our value proposition with clients, who know our designs not only provide solutions and look great but also are feasible to implement, whether for a one-off project or for thousands of stores.

A deeper understanding

An architect helps designers understand the demands and limitations of the space in which they will be working, such as: Where is the structure going to need certain high-level finishes or blocking for support in the walls due to heavy décor? Or what are the power/data requirements for proposed digital experiences?

And when there is an issue during construction/installation, an architect facilitates a collaborative solution.

For example, Miller Zell was helping renovate a student center on a university campus. The original design included a large hanging element that bridged over the building’s main atrium and would be supported by a steel column. As construction progressed, however, the plan changed, and the steel column didn’t end up extending enough to support the bridge element.

That could have been a complicated situation, but our architect reached out to the fabricator and structural engineer, and they collaborated on a solution that ended up improving the original design.

A reality check

An architect also reins in unworkable design ideas, providing guidance so designers work seamlessly with the client’s architect. When clients hear solutions from Miller Zell, they will know the details have been thoroughly vetted, ensuring design details are adaptable for the specific space. We aren’t going to sell a solution that can’t be installed on budget.

An architect representing the designers also protects the client’s interests. Miller Zell emphasizes transparency, and one of our core values is delivering as promised. In other words, we’re not about pricing surprises or up-sells, which may not always be the case with some contractors. Miller Zell protects the client’s interests during the submission of construction documents, making sure proprietary solutions are protected.

This credibility helps define the process of collaboration in the client’s interest. What seems opaque is explained. The needs and timeline of the project are clearly defined so all parties understand their roles and responsibilities.

Value added from end to end

Great environmental design often bumps up against reality when it’s time to build. Often that’s because extravagant ideas carry extravagant costs. Other times, it’s because the beautiful art doesn’t always follow the laws of physics. And other times, the parties working for the client aren’t aligned.

Miller Zell has been creating outstanding customer and environmental experiences that provide ROI for more than a half-century. We offer our clients expertise during every point of our partnership.

That’s why we bring an architect to the table. It helps provide solutions and value to our clients.


End-to-end branded environment services under one roof to craft the optimal customer experience wherever people gather, shop or learn.