Jamie Koval featured speaker at 2015 BIFMA conference

What do winding slides at Google, gourmet chefs at the posh kitchen/bath dealer Pirch and a woodsy, aviary vibe at Twitter have in common? All are clear indications that companies, more than ever, are leveraging the design of their work spaces to help them express their brands.

So it is no surprise that VSA partner Jamie Koval, who has worked extensively in the interior design space with such companies as Steelcase, Interface, Baker and most recently, Restoration Hardware, was invited to speak about the importance of brand character at the recent BIFMA 2015 Leadership Conference in Miami. This annual event brings together many of the most respected contract furniture manufacturers in the world (including Herman Miller, Knoll and Steelcase) to exchange ideas about workplace design. In addition to Koval, speakers this year included Lisa Gansky, author of the bestselling book, The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing and Adam Davidson, who writes the weekly column “It’s the Economy” for The New York Times Magazine.

“Business leaders today are considering their corporate image as much as their organizational needs when rethinking their workplace,” says Koval. “Today, simply selling furniture—no matter how functional or beautiful—isn’t enough. The furniture company that understands this brand-centered mindset will have a true advantage in the marketplace.”

Koval shared stories about how great companies, such as Converse and IBM, have had to constantly assess their position in the world and reinvent themselves over time. “At VSA, we consistently attract companies—often iconic brands—at their moments of inflection,” he says. “We have an affinity for helping clients navigate through these times of change, helping them realign their brands to best support and tell their story.” And you can bet that the design of their headquarters is (or eventually will) be a part of that story.