Design for a Difference announced Centro Hispano as the 2017 recipient at the FLOOR360 Spring into Design event, then came six months of planning by the design team. And finally, over the course of two weeks, teams worked late into the night donating their time, talent and materials to make the space not only more beautiful, but also more functional.
Centro Hispano, founded in 1983, is a gathering place for the Hispanic community of Madison to come together and enjoy cultural programs, access employment resources, learn English, and to transmit their culture.
Centro Hispano’s executive director Karen Menendez Coller said, “The Design for a Difference team worked tirelessly with us to create a space that acknowledges our past, and as our founder Ilda Conteris Thomas believed, innovates for our future.”
“You understood the potential that lied ahead for our agency to deliver better services and programs to our community in this space. Our choices as an organization have always been defined by the Latino community we serve—thank you for allowing us to do that work even better! And thank you for respecting our needs.”
When you walk into the space now, you are greeted by a new reception desk, updated with a security system. “It was important for us to address all the needs that they had for a functional space,” said Angela Skalitzky, VP Sales & Design at FLOOR360 and National Design for a Difference ambassador. “Before, the space was overwhelming and disjointed. It was clear to us that in order to make the space work better for them we had to improve the traffic flow through some construction as well as interior design.”
Enter Supreme Structures, who for the first time joined the DFAD Madison team to handle some heavy work. “I can’t overstate how wonderful it was to work with Supreme Structures,” said first time DFAD Designer Laurie Lundgren. “Every time we had a structural issue that needed to be addressed, the guys from Supreme were here saying, ‘We can do it. We can solve the problem.’ As a designer, it’s so amazing to work with partners who really understand your vision and will do anything to help you achieve it.
“Design for a Difference Madison is so pleased to be able to have so many returning supporters and to continue to be able to expand what we can do for nonprofits in the area,” said FLOOR360 VP Skalitzky. “I can’t overstate the generosity of this community. Steinhafel’s, Bella Domicile, Karndean Flooring, and Jaeckle Distributors, all these businesses really share the vision at FLOOR360 that design can truly make a difference in people’s lives.”
“I still feel like we’re living in a dream,” said Menedez Coller, of the redesigned Centro Hispano. “I walk by the many classrooms, and down our new hallway, and I can hear important work being done for our community. I hear people practicing for job interviews, children learning their first songs in English. I hear the tap of keys as clients use our relocated computer lab. This redesign has injected so much life and respect into these walls. For us, design has made a difference. Bob, Angela and the team at FLOOR360, and all the other Design for a Difference designers have shown us that our community matters. They have listened to us— our hopes, our dreams, and they have taken very concrete steps to make sure that our building is ready for the future of our community.”
Some of the highlights for clients, according to Menendez Coller, include the kitchen, which was remodeled and fully stocked thanks to Kavanaugh Restaurant Supply, with brand new stainless-steel appliances from SubZero/Wolf; the brand-new staff lounge with sliding barn doors designed by the team of Laurie Lundgren and Lori Jolin and inspired by a mural originally created by Centro youth; and of course all of the administrative offices, each customized to the work that gets done there.
“When we started DFAD in Madison three years ago we wanted to make a difference,” said Bob Tobe, owner of FLOOR360. “In my wildest dreams I did not envision this movement would grow to the size, scope and amount of people involved in this year’s makeover. Nonprofits (like Centro) do important work in our communities and don’t have the budget or resources for their spaces. We are so thankful to be able to play a role in their future success and are already looking forward to next year.”
2017 BY THE NUMBERS
- $600,000+ of money, materials and labor donated by FLOOR360 and partners
- 100+ volunteers, partners, sponsors, and donors
- 38 design team members
- 12,000 sq. ft. of floor covering materials donated and installed
- 2,500+ Madison, WI area families served every year by Centro Hispano
- 4,000+ Madison, WI area individuals served every year by Centro Hispano