Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

Speed Queen and Everything in Between

Design Leadership Symposium (DS 252)
By Students Syeeda Simmons, Xinyan Xu, and Jian Mao (MJ)

“Every day, every cycle, Speed Queen performs.”

On Thursday September 14th Melissa Destree of Destree Architecture & Design dropped in as a guest speaker in the Design Leadership Symposium class.Destree Architecture and Design

Now who is Melissa Destree? Melissa was born in La Crosse, WI and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the owner, principal architect and interior designer of Destree Architecture and Design which she began in February of 2000. This firm focuses on planning, architecture and interior design and has an outstanding reputation for elegant yet functional buildings and interiors ranging from single and multi-family residential to corporate, hospitality, retail and municipal projects.

As Melissa spoke about one of the company’s projects they did for Speed Queen laundromats, there were numerous subjects that intrigued the audience. In particular she mentioned that “the only thing we have control over is light”. With this power they use light to make the room fit the theme of “Cycle” (using Eureka lights which are favored by Melissa). Having control over one particular aspect carries with it the desire to perfect that one aspect and to make sure it works well alongside the other features in the design. She makes a reference to how the Apple store is known for their lighting, producing a sense of illumination.

Speed Queen LogoAnother point that we found to be shocking is that one shouldn’t make a laundromat white. By doing so, white clothes come out looking grey. Therefore, one should make the machines a grey tone so when white clothes come out of the washer and dryer they seem to have gotten “more white” throughout the process. It is also hard to maintain a clean environment if everything is white in a laundromat.

We were inspired to see how a simple design project can reflect and serve the needs of a sophisticated market and demonstrate its practically with a global concept. We began to understand a project’s adaptability, flexibility, and versatility. Looking at photographs of the Speed Queen Laundromat, we were able to gain a strong sense of the elements involved to create a great design and the multidimensional principles needed to follow when designing.

During the Question and Answer section, the question “What are the challenges of having a woman owned business?” was asked. Melissa explains how she is good at marketing and interviews. She’s able to sell all her concepts and knows when to take an idea and run with it. Melissa also states that although there are many challenges to not only owning a business but being a woman owned business, she was also supported by both her Mother and Father to pursue her dreams and not to limit herself. “Why would I have the risk of someone having control of my career?” is a strong question that was posed by Melissa.

In all, having Melissa Destree visit was very eye-opening and we’d like to thank her for taking the time to come and share a part of her career with us.

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