October 2016 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota recently rolled out a new service providing members and non-members alike with insurance information, educational, and fitness classes. The architects and interior designers at Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates (KOMA) assisted in designing these new “retail” concepts.
The goal of the retail center is to provide a space where the general public could come and ask questions, seek assistance and learn more about not only insurance but also general health. The retail center provides a number of opportunities for the community including CPR classes, Medicare informational meetings, healthy cooking workshops and yoga classes.
The interior of the retail space is clean, modern and refined with a welcoming and comfortable aesthetic. The approach is more residential in nature, creating a living room for customers to unwind while awaiting assistance and a play area for children. “We aimed to create a communal and relaxed place, as opposed to the typical waiting room scenario with two rows of chairs facing one another while you wait for your name to be called,” says architect Jon LeNoble. The space also contains an information bar that mimics a coffee bar, creating a place where people can chat, grab a cup of coffee and pick up informational brochures.
To date the design team, including Sullivan Day Construction, has completed 2 locations, one in Roseville and the other in Duluth. A branding thread weaves through each store – the BCBS blue and the living room style waiting area and educational rooms, but having indistinguishable retail spaces was not a part of the design plan. “It became an important piece of the overall design to have each retail space slightly different,” says interior designer Leanne Tanguay, “there are small differences in the finishes and details that make each location fit the uniqueness and demographic of its own city.” For example, the Edina location has a smooth, modern tile with a concrete look running throughout while the Duluth location has a rock-like tile with a dark slate appearance that is more indicative of the out-of-doors and casual culture plus local geology. “This was a really great project to be a part of,” says LeNoble, “it had a lot of unique and fun design elements and the project team was really enjoyable.”
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