Light filled atrium space inside the new VA Hospital at Lake Nona.

Light filled atrium space inside the new VA Hospital at Lake Nona.

"Devoted to how the design of responsibly built environments directly impacts the safety, operation, clinical outcomes, and financial success of healthcare facilities, both now and into the future, this healthcare design show highlights best practices and top healthcare design products. Attendees have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits, network with peers, discuss best practices, view innovative design products, and influence the direction of the industry as it advances into the future." -


  1. Connect with industry leaders in healthcare design
  2. Learn new research and case studies at 130+ educational sessions
  3. Explore our expanded exhibit hall
  4. Tour Orlando’s top healthcare facilities

Kolar Design recently participated in the always inspirational and educational 2017 Healthcare Design Conference. Three days to interact and discuss with designers from Architects to Interior Designers alongside Administrators, Researchers, and Nurses - all helping to craft the future of healthcare design. Discussing everything from reimagining the patient experience to global trends that are having a lasting impact in the industry. 

Healthcare has been one of the vital market in Kolar's history - not just in regards to the number of projects but the rich opportunity to connect people with place. 

Attendees were able to interact with our team and it's award-winning work in the healthcare market at our booth entitled - "Partnering For Your Brand Success."

"Susan Ryckman from Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida's presentation left a lasting mark. Susan and her team introduced a new perspective on their facility through the hiring of an outside consultant focused on "theming". It took a tremendous pediatric healthcare experience into a remarkable one."
Jay Rottinghaus - Kolar Design - Business Development

BLINK Cincinnati—Four Bright Nights by Ryan Newman


All Images from unless otherwise noted.


On Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio, there was undeniable electricity in the air.

The sun was setting over a strange, futuristic-looking inflatable structure quietly sitting on the lawn of the newly renovated Music Hall. Projection towers and pylons had been conspicuously erected in front of buildings, parking lots, and green space all across the city center. Along the banks of the Ohio River, immensely large teeter totters started to sway, chime, and illuminate. Ten to twenty blocks up, the sidewalks within the historic Over the Rhine neighborhood were becoming difficult to traverse. A crowd of at least 100,000 had gathered along the inaugural parade route to celebrate the beginning of one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation: BLINK. 


BLINK Cincinnati public art and light festival spanned four days, twenty city blocks, and exceeded expectations on many accounts. One million people—a crowd that far outnumbered the most popular public events in the city—ventured out on foot or by streetcar to explore in wonder the sights, sounds and immersive experiences of BLINK. The collective and diverse crowd roved the urban landscape, eyes (and sometimes mouths) wide open in wonder, engaging with art and asking questions of one another like curious children. No one pushed anyone, no harsh words were exchanged and, most notably, there were no incidents involving police at the event. In its purest form, art made the impossible, possible.


Local media couldn’t seem to get enough of BLINK, either; several features were broadcast in the week leading up to BLINK, even before reporters could truly understand it. Once the event began, the reporters knew they were experiencing something dynamic, something for the entire community.

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s website explained the impact, quoting Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber President and CEO Jill Meyer, who said, “BLINK shined a light—literally and figuratively—on this region’s creative community and beautiful architecture. It is a beacon to talent from around the globe, showing them that Cincinnati is the ideal place to dream and do. Simply put, BLINK was an over-the-top success.”

Months in advance, a call for artists had been released and applications and concepts had rolled in. A group of 100 artists helped create 35 light-based installations, 22 projection mappings, and 8 new murals in addition to numerous sculptures, interactive elements, images and exhibits.

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Installations at BLINK included:

119 E. Court Street Installation:

  • Our Own HomecomingWe Have Become Vikings We Have Become Vikings worked with Brett Harper and the Harper estate and used projection mapping to animate Charley Harper’s Homecoming mural at Lumenocity.

  • Enchanted Forest LoungeKolar Design Kolar Design created the “pop-up park” where festivalgoers could perch and play on log-seats outside an oversized bird’s nest at the foot of the mural.

  • IntrudeAmanda Parer Alongside the park were large-scale, illuminated inflatable rabbits provided by Tasmanian artist Amanda Parer.

The Annunciation MuralXylene Projects The BLINK-commissioned mural adorns the home of the Franciscan Friars of Over-the-Rhine, and was animated using imagery, textures and fantasy dreamscapes to evoke a sense of unity. 

Architects of AirAlan Parkinson BLINK’s only ticketed attraction ran during the day at Washington Park and used the natural light to create a spectacular experience for visitors.

Brite IdeaSuch + Such At 10 feet wide, six feet tall and weighing nearly half a ton, this 600-hole mammoth pays homage, in a big way, to a favorite children’s light toy. 

Projection Mapping of the Contemporary Arts CenterLightborne Using the unique architecture of the CAC as scaffolding, Lightborne used projection mapping to explore the elements and media of visual art in unexpected ways.

VoicesBrave Berlin At the Freedom Center, this multi-sense experience inspired conversation through voicing a simple message: Together we are beautiful.

Download a copy of the 2017 BLINK event map

Visit for more information about the individual artists and installations. 

As scheduled artists of Blink, Kolar Design team members Christian Reichle and Matt Grote (who is also known as local artist OGRE) had this to say about their own unique experiences on two separate projects, the Enchanted Forest Lounge and Stumpies, respectively:

  • How did you become involved? What features were you responsible for?

CR: I got involved after Brave Berlin reached out to Kolar asking for concepts for one of the parking lots they would be projection mapping. I had submitted an independent artist proposal for an installation that unfortunately was not selected, so I jumped on the opportunity to get involved at work. We were charged with creating an engaging and immersive environment that would complement the projections on the Charlie Harper Our Homecoming mural.

MG: I have an artist practice outside of my role at Kolar. There was an open call for project submissions and I was eager to seize the opportunity. I was fortunate enough to be selected for my project and built a series of works called “Stumpies” to be installed in a few downtown locations.

  • An event like this doesn’t just happen overnight. How many different people or multi-disciplinary groups did you directly interact with to see your portion of the event come to life?

CR: It was definitely a group effort! Our concept started in house with a team brainstorm I led at Kolar. Once the concept was selected, we reached out to several contacts to secure materials and hands to help make our vision a reality. The Cincinnati Parks Foundation donated the stumps and branches as well as volunteers for set up; The Motz Group donated their time to deliver and install the turf; and Sediment Design was our local fabricator who brought all the parts to life. Of course, none of it would have been possible without financial support from the Haile Foundation and the logistical event support the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce provided citywide. 

MG: My project was very much an individual effort, but it forced me out of my home studio into a shared space. I moved into a space being built by an upstart design build group. Working in proximity to talented builders and designers had a very positive impact on me.

  • What were some of the main goals or drivers in your design and execution? Do you feel that they were achieved?

CR: Our number one goal was to create a place of respite and relaxation. We knew the event would be spread all over downtown and the Over The Rhine neighborhood and our location fell right in the middle. We wanted to create an environment where people would want to stop and stay a while. The logs provided seating and the turf was a favorite with the kids who appreciated a soft surface to run and play on. Parents could relax and talk with a drink while the kids entertained themselves. The glow-in-the-dark logs were an added level of surprise that people of all ages seemed to enjoy drawing on and engaging with.

MG: My goal was to build a fantastical species of personified stumps. I wanted to make sure that these characters delighted anyone who came across them. At the same time, I needed them to be self-contained light boxes that were safe to be in the public. There’s always room for growth on process, but I felt very good about executing my goals.

  • What was one thing you learned during the process that you could never have planned for?

CR: We needed more flashlights! I bought over 300 UV flashlights for festivalgoers to use to draw on the logs and most had been taken as souvenirs in the first two nights. I never would have guessed BLINK would draw a million people downtown. Had I known that, I would have bought a lot more! I did notice several families who came back a second night and brought their lights back with them, which was nice to see.

MG: It was important to me that these “Stumpies” were each unique. The structures were all built the same way (in three sizes), but the exteriors were uniquely painted. As a result, the time spent on finishing and painting varied dramatically.

  • Compare the experience of the live event against some of your preconceived ideas.

CR: To be honest, I was a bit nervous leading up to the opening. The foot print of the festival was massive and it created a logistical challenge I did not envy. With all the moving partks, I was worried our city had perhaps bit off a bit more than we could chew. I could not have been more wrong! The event went off without a hitch and the public loved it! Everyone was in good spirits and excited for our city.

MG: I knew that the programming and the people involved were going to pull off a great event. What I didn’t expect was the city’s response. People came out in droves. I could not believe how many people showed up. Without the support from the city we would not still be talking about it.

  • What was your favorite installation outside of your own work?

CR: I don’t know that I can choose just one! Being a big fan of street art, I think my favorite parts were all the murals that were painted for the festival around Findlay and down Pleasant Street. Now that the light installations have gone away, the murals act as an ongoing reminder of that weekend in October when Cincinnati shined.

MG: The pleasant street murals were my favorite. As a city that has dozens and dozens of excellent murals already, it was great to see us embrace a growing trend of the street art mural festival. It was well curated and very impactful when lit up at night. It continues to give to the city as one of my favorite artists, ROA, is out painting his own mural as I write this.

Four nights two years in the making. Words by Malcolm London Music by Peter Adams - "The Light In Me," commissioned by Mindful Music Moments

(Produced by AGAR, provided by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber)

BLINK Cincinnati was made possible by a forward-thinking team made up of city, private foundation, public arts and design groups:

By Hannah Anderson, SEGD Cincinnati Co-Chair and Construction Administration Lead, Kolar Design
Originally Posted :


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Kolar Design led a holistic team designing a new Evendale Bridge/Gateway bridge that integrates into the Department of Transportation's "Through the Valley" redevelopment of the I-75 corridor.

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The Village of Evendale ( located just north of Cincinnati, Ohio ) approached IBI, Human Nature and Kolar Design to develop a master plan for the aesthetics of the I-75 and Neumann Way corridors through Evendale. In October 2015, the Design Team presented the final Master Plan for the corridor to the Village Council. Council approved the plan presenting to ODOT. Following a meeting with ODOT in January 2016, Evendale notified our team they are ready to move forward with Design Development for implementation. Construction on the project started earlier this year. 

Cincinnati, Ohio - Architectural Heritage + Inspiration

Cincinnati, Ohio - Architectural Heritage + Inspiration

Inspiration / Mood Board

Inspiration / Mood Board


Image Courtesy of Crawford Hoying

Image Courtesy of Crawford Hoying

Kolar is working with the City of Dublin to make it easier to find your way around Dublin, Ohio. You will soon be noticing new signs throughout the City. It is part of our Comprehensive Wayfinding System that is being implemented in various locations. 

Crews are currently installing the foundations for the signs. There will be short-term lane closures during this work, but no significant delays are expected. Law enforcement officers will be present when needed to maintain traffic. 

All of this work is being performed in the public right-of-way, but some locations are near private properties. You can see a map of locations in the links below. 

From City of Dublin

"You may have noticed the new wayfinding signs that have been going up around town. In this week's Dublin News in :90, Civil Engineer Tina Wawszkiewicz tells us more about the project and when installation will be complete."

You can learn more about the signs by heading here:

From Kolar's Design Team

"It has been a pleasure to help the City of Dublin learn about wayfinding and to help them implement their city-wide program. I love the challenge of assembling a large complex project like this City of Dublin’s Wayfinding project--to orchestrate the design, address the engineering and fabrication concerns and needs of the client, maintaining their schedule and keeping everything within their budget.  Our use of engineering and other consultant companies, with input from the City’s engineers, has helped secure a successful project and happy client." 

- John Kennedy, CA Lead

"Our Kolar team has been fortunate to engage with the City of Dublin’s talented staff, community stakeholders, and private developers to co-create a best-in-class visitor experience aimed at elevating the Dublin civic brand and connecting visitors and locals to unique destinations throughout the city. The wayfinding signage seamlessly guides visitors from the highway to public parking and then on foot to intimately experience the renaissance unfolding. Signage becomes the physical connector, but it its that unique connection between people and place that leaves the memorable impression.”

- Joell Angel-Chumbley, Creative Lead

BLINK - RECAP by Ryan Newman

Aerial View of our Installation - Alongside Charlie Harper,  Amanda Parer  and We Have Become Vikings

Aerial View of our Installation - Alongside Charlie Harper, Amanda Parer and We Have Become Vikings

Kolar Design showcased a complementary "Enchanted Forest" environment to the, "Our Homecoming" Charlie Harper mural light projection by We Have Become Vikings, as well as large-scale inflatable rabbits by Parer Studio at the corner of E. Court and Walnut Streets during BLINK Cincinnati, October 12-15, 2017 downtown. Special thanks to the Haile Foundation and Cincinnati Parks Foundation for partnering on the effort, as well as Sediment Design and the Motz Group for making the installation possible.

The Enchanted Forest theme celebrates not only Charley Harper as a signature artist of the parks, but how our parks are one of our city's biggest assets. We have more green space than any other city our size, and have created a new concept, a "Pop Up Park," overnight in a parking lot. The Park Board is donating lumber, the nest, and even labor to help us construct it. In addition, The Motz Group is donating the turf, labor, and installation (5000 feet of grass). It promises to be a great family venue.

"Kolar is proud to be co-creating with our artistic partners and practicing at the intersection of art, business and the community," says Kelly Kolar, president.



Working with Professional Designers  by Ryan Newman


From the 2017 Annual Superintendent's Report of CATS ( Cincinnati Arts and Technology Studios)

"Thirteen students took part in a Design Thinking Workshop at Kolar Design. Students were taken through a brand development exercise with the Kolar team of designers. They were asked to think about what the CATS brand was and was not. They were asked for input on current imagery used on the CATS website and then used shoes as a metaphor to describe four categories of stakeholders. 

The professional designers helped students understand that this is the kind of exercise used by designers to establish the important parts of organizations from the stakeholders in order to represent those values in visual forms. 

Thanks Kolar Design!"

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Goering Center Awards - 2018 by Ryan Newman


Kolar Design is the recipient of the 2017 Goering Center Family & Private Business Finalist Award for Private Businesses with fewer than 25 employees. This annual honor is bestowed upon only two companies and exemplifies what family and private business is and can be.

Kolar Design, founded by Kelly Kolar in 1990, is passionate about finding new and better ways to connect people, places, and brands – from healing environments focused on the patient and family experience to global workplaces that blend corporate and cultural identity. The firm of 17 has always used current employees as the best recruiting tool for the company and has proven that Kolar University is their “secret sauce” for attracting and retaining top-notch talent and emerging leaders.

"We want to thank the Center for this award and the business community that has supported our growth.”

- Kelly Kolar, President, and Founder

This annual recognition program, in its 17th year, honors Cincinnati regional businesses that exemplify the best in family and private business practices. This year, 570 businesses were nominated for these awards. Kolar Design was evaluated by an independent panel of judges who evaluated hiring and employment practices, specifically as to whether those practices have helped Kolar Design unify a multigenerational workforce.

After being named one of only 75 semi-finalists, Kolar Design was then selected as a Finalist for Private Businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Kolar Design is one of an estimated 4,500 family and private businesses in the Cincinnati region; the Goering Center has 330 of these businesses as active members with a goal of 400 members by the end of 2018.  Membership is not a prerequisite for the awards or for a nomination, as nearly half of the semi-finalists are not current Goering Center members.

Goering Center Awards Press Release