Jennifer Koehler: Inspiring Interior Design for Clients

3/8/2018

Our core purpose at Opus is designing and constructing buildings that support our client's organizational goals and missions. The physical environments we create help shape productivity, mood and well-being, and no one knows that better than Jennifer Koehler

Jennifer is the vice president of interior design at Opus. With 30 years of interior design experience, she is a leader in the commercial real estate industry and a trusted advisor to clients. Jennifer began her career near San Francisco and moved to Minneapolis' Shea Architects in 1990, where she designed retail and corporate projects. She says joining Opus in 1997 was one of the best decisions of her life. Jennifer assumed the role of vice president in 2015, a position she earned through diligence, collaboration and drive. Since joining Opus, Jennifer has designed interiors for a multitude of clients and project types, including retail, institutional, office and residential. 

Inspiring and Engaging with Interior Spaces

“My passion is creating spaces for our clients that inspire and engage their communities and workforces," said Jennifer. “My role is always to be a listener first. Once we understand the client's vision, our team can work on designing interiors that will bring out the best in their people and organizations."  


For instance, Jennifer recently worked with an Opus client who had outgrown their original office space. The former space was now antiquated with outdated tall workstations, low light and little to no activities for employees outside their immediate workspaces. After listening to the client's concerns and vision for the space, Jennifer and her team designed a completely updated, flexible open floor plan with collaborative workstations, comfortable gathering spaces for breaks and conversations, natural light and inviting outdoor spaces. The new space has been a game-changer for the client by lightening the spirit of the company with an enriched culture and increased productivity.  

“Interior space can make a world of difference," said Jennifer. “Flexibility is key, and this definition has changed a great deal over the course of the last 20 – 30 years. The work experience isn't just sitting in a workstation or office anymore. Our jobs are intense and we need multiple work environments. With technology being such a strong driver, we make the ancillary spaces as functional as the typical workspaces. Multiple work zones also promote and encourage movement and comradery throughout the building, providing additional benefits to the workforce and the company culture." 

In addition to office spaces, Jennifer and her team design spaces for many types of clients and venues. They work with universities and schools to design dynamic learning environments, including collegiate buildings, student housing and student and athletic centers. They work with churches to create worship, learning and gathering spaces that foster a sense of community and spirituality. And for multifamily clients, they design apartment homes that are vibrant, luxurious and comfortable for residents and their guests. 

According to Dean Newins, senior vice president of Opus AE Group, L.L.C., “Jennifer works collaboratively and diligently to create a vision that evokes a client's brand identity. Without preconceptions, she listens carefully to gain an understanding of their needs, developing a design solution that transcends the moment."

According to Laura Waller, an interior designer who began her career under Jennifer's leadership, “She's incredibly team oriented, which has made our group tightly knit and highly collaborative. This isn't the norm for interior design groups. We often joke that we are a 'work family' because of how well we mesh. We have established trusting relationships, which fosters creativity and allows us to create the most innovative and functional spaces for our clients."

“I have a fabulous group of interior designers I work with at Opus," said Jennifer. “They are incredibly talented, wonderful people who are passionate about what they do. We are a strong, cohesive team driven by a shared desire to deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients."

We’re proud to launch a series of profiles featuring the experts who deliver value to our clients and partners. In conjunction with International Women’s Day, we’re featuring four women leaders. Check our previous profiles, including Beth Duyvejonck, Margaret Knowlton and Devon Coffey.