Anything But Common

Thos. Moser Contract outfits Amos Hall, the new centerpiece of University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, with award-winning custom furniture pieces.

The Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia is wrapping up a six-year, $140 million construction projected located at the heart of UGA’s sprawling campus. When the new college’s Learning Community is fully complete this year, the all-new facilities will include more than 280,000 square feet of classrooms, team and meeting rooms, faculty and staff offices and student support areas.

Phase two, the largest of the three-phase project, was completed in August of 2017. Covering approximately 140,000 square feet, it is comprised of three buildings  (Moore-Rooker Hall, Amos Hall, and Benson Hall) that include two large auditoriums, eight classrooms, a capital markets lab, a music business lab and an undergraduate commons with a south-facing veranda.

Casey Commons, the centerpiece of the college, is located in Amos Hall with easy access by the entire Terry community. There is also a multi-purpose/event space, a café and a centralized service and support center in this important hub of activity.

To make Casey Commons feel anything but common, the interior design team specified award-winning custom furniture pieces from Thos. Moser. The result is a comfortable, familiar and distinctly upscale space where thousands of students can learn, study, eat and engage every day.

Project Background

To design and build the future of Terry College, the university worked with Collins Cooper Carusi Architects of Atlanta in association with Robert A. M. Stern Architects of New York. Turner Construction Company served as the construction firm, helping to organize and build the massive project.

“Different phases of the design process led to significantly different conversations regarding interior design,” said Fiona Grandowski, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP. As Principal at Collins Cooper Carusi Architects, her team worked with Robert A. M. Stern Architects, the Dean of the Terry College of Business and supporting faculty and staff to design spaces that fit the university’s aesthetic while offering more opportunity for collaboration and engagement.

The university wanted to blend modern and contemporary furniture with traditional architecture in the common areas, and the design team ended up creating four different renderings to determine the layout and flow of the space. Since the business school is home to nearly 10,000 students, faculty and staff, there was a need for a variety of furniture pieces to fit different needs.

The team had to figure out the proper lounge furniture to table ratio and incorporate high tops, low tops and other tables where people could eat their lunch or dinner from the nearby café. “This was going to be a true community space,” said Louise Labus, lead designer.

“We identified a number of uses early on, and we needed the right combination of custom furniture pieces that would look great but also be comfortable, durable and high quality.”

This specific combination of design and functional requirements is what led the team to Thos. Moser Contract.

 

The Right Fit, Again

The design team worked with Thos. Moser Contract to create custom tables and modify standard designs. This included tall high tops and stools, low tops and stools, rectangular tables and chairs, along with coffee tables and end tables. This gave the team a variety of options and design combinations to present to the college. Designs included the iconic Pacific Side Chair, Pacific Stool, and Harpswell Side Chair.

 

UGA, Grandowski, Labus and the rest of the design team are no strangers to Thos. Moser Contract. They incorporated multiple pieces from the award-winning company in the public areas of phase two, and plan on doing the same when phase three is completed in 2019.

The largest space was Casey Commons, flanked by smaller study areas that were just as important for the learning process. These side study areas feature a quiet, library-esque feel that contrasts with the lively and active commons area.

“We ultimately selected a variety of Thos. Moser Contract products because of the combination of style, durability, and beauty,” said Labus. “The wood tones blended very well with the overall aesthetic,” she added.

“This new phase also gave us an opportunity to evolve the overall design aesthetic,” said Grandowski. Whereas the first phase included dark cherry, the aesthetic for the second phase was considerably lighter. Since darker wood tends to show marks more than medium-toned wood, the university was happy with the selection for phase two. While the medium toned wood will darken over time and become richer in color, it offers a unique aesthetic that helps tie in the spaces with the initial project.

While nook-type furniture pieces for independent study were considered for the commons area, it was decided there were enough side spaces and side lounges for private moments. Therefore, the main space should remain active and engaging, filled with conversation and a welcoming atmosphere

How Did We Live Without This?

When the design team attended the opening celebration of phase two, the commons area and study spaces were bustling. “Students, faculty, and staff were thrilled with the outcome and the response was fantastic,” said Labus. “A number of people have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback to the university, saying they didn’t know how they made it through school without this new space,” she added.

From the smaller side areas to Casey Commons, custom furniture from Thos. Moser Contract helps the college’s new Learning Community blend classic elegance with modern features and amenities. Featuring an unparalleled combination of comfort, quality, and aesthetics, they will greet thousands of business students for decades to come.