Guest Post by Anthony Hansen for Manning Group

The pandemic has been a true equalizer. It has ravaged most professions, affected all livelihoods, and maintained a global grip. And while the pain and loss over the last twelve months will take even longer to heal, we are strengthened by the profound effect the interiors industry has in society’s recovery. The built environment is the glue of the world, and Manning Group could not be prouder to be associated with it.

The last year has forced a great pause, a needed recalibration, and a reshuffling of priorities for humanity. As we approach Valentine’s Day, a day reserved to celebrate love and gratitude for the things one cherishes most, we extend our heartfelt thanks to the industry that creates what civilizations need to both survive and prosper.

By ‘industry,’ we naturally refer to the collective talents that design, build, manufacturer and deliver space within buildings. Our collective industry continues to set the benchmark for collaboration in times of crises. The ways in which we respond to rapidly changing events, the ways we band together to support each other, and the ways in which we make spaces have meaning are to be commended.

In the most basic sense, a world without buildings is a world without stable shelter. The talents of our industry, however, create appropriately appointed interiors for buildings, stretching their purpose further to become respites for learning, working, healing, and innovating.

We are thankful that the design and construction fields were largely considered to be essential sectors throughout the pandemic. However, the fact that they remained operational over the last year has not gone without criticism. While most of our industry players were not frontline workers, there is something to be said for the very important roles each played into our overall recovery…

  • To the furniture manufacturers that converted factories to create PPE: we applaud you.
  • To the interior designers who reconfigured floorplans so people could return to offices and schools: we thank you.
  • To the furniture dealers that pivoted from specifying furniture to providing janitorial supplies: we respect you.
  • And to our fellow installation peers around the country who were (and continue to be) the literal backbone and muscle of this great space metamorphosis: we appreciate you.

While we agree that conceptualizing and constructing space may not be critical in a pandemic, we strongly commit that it is essential. Hearing that new space is coming to life infers progress towards a better tomorrow. Seeing workers convert lines on paper to places with purpose confirms that our economy maintains a pulse. And experiencing new or reconfigured space provides both tangible and visual notions that hope is not foregone.

Both literally and figuratively, ‘space’ is what we need during a pandemic as it bonds us on many levels. It has this simple and innate ability to awaken, stir, and sometimes even rattle our minds, bodies, and souls. How surreal and awesome is it to be a part of the equation?!

We admire how our industry affects the mind:

Together we create schools where children can learn both practical and social skills with classmates. We create office spaces where adults can earn a living and contribute to a worldly economy. We create laboratories and incubators where the brightest minds innovate and tap left and right brain thought processes.

We are proud of the ways our industry supports the body:

As a rock‐solid group we provide the spaces where the injured can seek treatment. We create comfortable and sensory‐appropriate spaces for people to heal. We also provide the energetic and kinetic spaces that allow people to exercise and push their bodies to their limit.

We are humbled that our industry impacts the soul:

We join forces to unveil spaces where people come to worship. We facilitate laughter and conversation through spaces that foster community and camaraderie. We shape spaces where memories are both born and recollected.

In a more direct way, we want to wrap this letter of affection to the industry with a gratuitous red bow. Your dedication to the built environment lets us consistently do what we love to do. It affords us the ability to work with the peers and partners that make us better humans. And most importantly, it allows us to contribute to a professional mission that makes tremendous changes and positive differences in the world.

We offer the sincerest thank you for continuously fostering opportunities to exercise and perfect our passion. The players that comprise our industry have always been, and will always be, essential.

And you will always be the glue in our world.

Anthony Hansen

About Manning Group:

Manning Group is Arizona’s largest commercial furniture services company. Their comprehensive offering includes the installation, asset management, repair/refurbishing, Day 2 maintenance, and commercial moving of furniture, architectural walls, and millwork.

Manning Group is an active member of Facilities Services Network (FSN), an international group of independent installation firms which set new benchmarks for performance and value in the management, installation, and care of contract furniture.