From 2007 to 2010 Tran + Thomas’ own Carmen Thomas had the prestigious role of Lead Interior Designer of the Amway Center – Home of the Orlando Magic. A young designer at Populous (a Kansas City based Sports Architecture firm), she had the mammoth responsibility of designing and managing the design installation of the $480 million, 17,000-seat facility. The 876,000 square-foot arena is not only home to the Orlando Magic and the Orlando Solar Bears, but is a venue for concert tours, sport tournaments, exhibitions and even an ice rink for hockey championships and ice shows.
Not everyone gets to see the inside of a locker room. What are some of the cool features?
The circular shaped locker room was a very unusual design at the time. We designed two hydrotherapy rooms, including a therapy pool, steam room, x-ray room, massage room, hot and cold plunge, weight room and workout facilities. The locker room includes a lounge with televisions for the players, as well as kitchen with a private chef. We used leather to wrap the columns in the locker. This gives a really nice and rich look during after-game tv interviews.
When designing a space for world-class athletes, what considerations do you have make?
We really had to consider the size and height of the players. Extra deep lockers were custom built to accommodate large shoes, mirrors in the bathrooms needed to be hung higher, and the height of the counters needed to be carefully considered to best work for the players. Even the humidity of sweaty players was a factor in the design. The perforated wood of the custom lockers allows for breathability and better air flow.
Carmen, tell us, what other kind of spaces in the arena did you design?
The Amway Arena is enjoyed by many more than the Orlando Magic Players! Carmen and her team designed the media room, which also boasts its own kitchen, coach’s locker room, opposing team locker room, as well as green room for visiting celebrities, dressing rooms, over 60 suites, 13 hospitality rooms, loge boxes, multiple clubs, bars, restaurants, retail spaces and even a kids’ play area.
How did you keep track of so many details?
A good design team, and I had to learn to read complex structural and mechanical drawings to gain a full understanding of how everything would fit together. I remember bringing over the course of many plane trips, 74 large design boards on the plane from Kansas City to Orlando for presentations, and there were so many notebooks of specifications they could stack multiple feet tall!
What was the best part about the experience?
Going up the lit escalator during the grand opening of this magnificent arena, I could hear of the “oohs and ahhs” of people as they took this beautiful space in for the first time. This was one of the most incredible experiences of my career.
About Tran + Thomas
Built on the foundation of a 30-year, family-owned Interior Design business, Jill Tran and Carmen Thomas opened Tran + Thomas Design Studio in 2011 bringing a combined 36 years of experience to their projects. They work on both residential and commercial projects across several styles. Interested in their services? Call (913) 268-9595 or schedule a consultation below.