November 12, 2014

Breaking Out of the Corporate Box

A well-designed workplace is crucial now and for the future, as technology transforms the way we do business and demographics change dramatically. Building a company with a bright future is not only about recruiting the best people, but also retaining them, engaging them, and investing in their potential—and it all starts with designing the right atmosphere.

Our corporate design studio is all about big-picture thinking. We start with the baseline of right here and right now—what’s working and what needs to change—but ultimately, we want to fuel our clients’ future success by creating a space that sparks new ideas and illuminates new directions.

Recently, a confidential client approached us with a new, fast-track project. The company had already done a lot of this big-picture thinking in-house; they knew that change was necessary, and they had a lot of cool ideas, but they didn’t know where to start or how to put the pieces together.

So, we started with atmosphere.

They wanted the space to have a cutting-edge, “Silicon Valley start-up” feel appealing to millennials. A recent relocation and a new office layout inspired them to consider a fresh approach: replacing generic project rooms with inner-office “destinations” to house and generate collaboration and conversation. They weren’t impressed by the crisp, sharp interiors of the traditional corporate world; instead, they chose more natural materials in an effort to to loosen up the atmosphere and encourage meaningful connections throughout the office.

Our final design put all these parts and pieces in complementary conversation: cool furniture, warm lighting, cutting-edge technology and natural materials with unique destinations—The Nest, The Tech Lounge, and The Pub—that still spoke to the office’s overarching atmosphere.

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The Nest

The Nest, which features a raised level with couches and chairs and a lower level with televisions, gaming systems, and a comfortable bench, is the most enclosed space. The reclaimed wood slats used for the outside are treated thoughtfully; crisp detailing contrasted with warm texture evokes both a spatial and a textural quality. Above, “stick lights” complement the overall theme, and the exposed structure gives the space a raw and industrial atmosphere.

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The Pub

In the Pub—a multi-use space with a snack bar, teleconferencing area, beanbags, and enclosed booth seating—design promotes purposeful juxtaposition. Tables made from reclaimed wood and cast iron meet modern furniture; soft, colorful felt walls with integrated bands of light coexist with glass booths; carpet and wood flooring converge; pendant lighting and natural light coincide. Every element contributes to an atmosphere of engaging openness and transparency.

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The Tech Lounge

A bright, crisp area in the middle of the building, the Tech Lounge integrates the open floor plan of the surrounding office. The furniture and red and blue curtains, which divide the lounge, are pops of color accenting the clean clarity of the white walls and tile floor. The meeting space evokes the warmth of a comfortable living room—a place to relax and swap ideas with colleagues—while also existing as a functional, practical workspace.

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The redesigned office embraces current challenges like recruiting a changing workforce with a nod toward the company’s ever-evolving goals for the future. More importantly, the atmosphere of the space reaffirms the corporate brand; it reinforces the client’s reputation for standing out, riding the leading edge of the wave, and inventing and reinventing what it means to work in the digital world.

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