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Meet Patrick Schilling, Supporter of Dress for Success Vancouver

One of our biggest supporters is Patrick Schilling, Architect and Principal at Thibodeau Architecture. Thibodeau’s contribution to Dress for Success Vancouver (DFS) has been invaluable over the years, particularly during our boutique renovation in 2014. We interviewed Patrick to find out why he gives back to our organization.

1. How did know about Dress for Success Vancouver?

My wife, Lucy Schilling from DuMoulin Black, was telling me about the amazing work that DFS does to assist women in re-entering the workforce and providing them with the incredible support to succeed. I was raised by my mother after my parents divorced and I say the difficulty she had reintegrating professional life after having been a stay at home mother for so many years. We were fortunate to have had tremendous family support, but if we hadn’t, an organization like Dress for Success would have been invaluable for her.


2. Tell us a little bit more about your company?

We are an architectural and interior design firm that specialises in workspaces and building renovations. We work with both established corporations and start-ups. After visiting the Dress for Success Vancouver space, we felt that we could assist in optimising their space, making it more functional and enhancing the users experience in key areas of the boutique. We sat down with the staff and discussed how the organization works, the flows of people and products in the space, what worked well in the space and what could be improved. We then developed a revised layout and some renovations that could be implemented over multiple phases. After almost two years of work we have implemented most of these phases. We also worked in creating a welcoming and attractive lobby and waiting area. We were starting to seek funding to implement this design when Dress for Success was informed that the Landlord was repurposing their lobby space.

3. Can you share why you chose to do this particular project for DFS?

We strongly believe that a functional and attractive space enhances the users and visitors well being. For the Dress for Success team, that entails having a workspace that is efficient, interesting and one that they can be proud of. For the clients, it provides comfort and peace of mind that this is a welcoming and inclusive organization.

4. What was the vision or impression that Thibodeau wanted to leave with this particular project?

At first we were hoping to create a unique and inviting space with lots of colours and warm materials. Budgetary constraints we were aware of from the beginning of the project led us to focus more on the spatial organization and the flow of people through the space. Materials could be added afterward if required. We limited the amount of demolition and construction as the space needed to remain operational. We isolated the lobby area and concentrated the wow effect to that area.

5. Why is it so important for companies like Thibodeau to give back to the community?

We felt it was important to give back in time and we’re convinced our unique set of skills could be put to good use. How people perceive a space and how a space is used can create experiences that can stay with someone their whole life.


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