The new WISEPlace Community Room | Courtesy Retail Design Collaborative/Hannah Bernabe

RDC Unveils Santa Ana Community-Room Design

Carrie Rossenfeld Retail

Retail Design Collaborative (RDC), in conjunction with partners Pivot Interiors and Herman Miller, has unveiled its design for the new WISEPlace Community Room at 1411 North Broadway in Santa Ana, California. The RDC design team included Jonathan Lopez, associate principal/design director; Katy Wise, senior designer; Itzel Meynard, design manager; Liz Arnold, interior designer; and Mario A. Hernandez Jr., designer.

WISEPlace is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping to end homelessness among women. For more than 95 years, the organization has provided safe, affordable transitional housing, healthy meals, financial-empowerment curriculum and employment assistance, to help women move from homelessness and hopelessness to self-reliance.

The project, “Transformation: Turning Space into Place,” invited industry leaders within architecture and design along with a contract partner, to participate in an interior-design competition to renovate and create a more livable community room for the women of WISEPlace. The goal of the project was to design both a beautiful and functional community haven for the women who reside there, as well as to create an event venue for the local community to help further encourage sustainable funding for the nonprofit.

Out of the six firms who competed, RDC and CDG Builders were chosen for their winning design concept that was unveiled Tuesday as part of the grand opening. Pivot Interiors and Herman Miller oversaw the design competition and outfitted the entirety of the community room’s interior and furniture needs.

“This project is one that’s close to our hearts,” says Jonathan Lopez, LEED AP, associate principal, and design director for RDC. “Having had the opportunity to utilize design as a tool for the betterment of women as they transform their lives and envision a place they can call home was incredible. We worked alongside other leading voices in the design community including Pivot Interiors and Herman Miller, as well as a host of designers, contractors, brokers, and end-users, collectively working toward this end goal, which ultimately strengthened existing relationships and built new ones. We are enthused about the partnership we have built with WISEPlace and are encouraged by the revitalized community room that will help empower women in the future.”

Kathleen Davis Bowman, executive director of WISEPlace, adds, “The transformation of our meeting room has indeed brought new life and energy to our entire agency. For many years, we have concentrated only on the programming for our homeless residents and spent virtually no resources dedicated to our space. For Retail Design Collaborative, Herman Miller and Pivot Interiors to provide the much-needed renovation is amazing. It has now set the tone for everything we do. Just as our residents need a self-esteem and dignity boost, WISEPlace needed one as well. By improving WISEPlace, they have also empowered the women who come here to transform their lives. We cannot thank all who were involved in this transformation enough.”

WISEPlace is operating an active GoFundMe campaign to encourage donations from any and all who would like to help make a difference. The fund was established during the recent removal of “Tent City” off of the Santa Ana River Bed, which displaced hundreds of women in the community. These women needed a safe place to live until they found permanent housing. WISEPlace stepped in and transformed their gym into an emergency shelter for these women. The GoFundMe account supports the needs for furnishings and other supplies.