Category Archives: Workplace Design

Made by Design: PLACES

Spend the day in a vibrant metropolis. Explore the shores of a coastline. In your travels, slow down. Take a glimpse of the changing landscape. City to sea, local to global, collaborate workplace to quiet retreat.

Places captures single moments in a natural landscape and weaves in architectural moments of a city landscape to evoke a memory of a journey or destination. This collection is inspired by global travel and provides a glimpse of the quiet moment of nature contrasted by the lights and action surrounding a city skyline. Natural and atmospheric, the color palette features a range of soft colors along with moments of bright purposeful color.

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Configured to Interact

Hexagonal format and asymmetric shapes combine at random, providing connectivity to build scale and enhance user experience. Designed to promote impromptu interaction, Configure assists with way finding and provides alluring, visual interest. Deconstructed, rhythmic patterns and bold color encourage a more imaginative, playful approach with installation.

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IA Interior Architects | Sapient Nitro – 2016 Design Is…Award Market Winner


Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.

Energetic

How does this project demonstrate design impact?

One of the biggest project goals was to create a buzz of activity that engages employees and visitors alike. As part of this effort, we worked with SapientNitro to develop a tour route so clients can experience the brand and culture firsthand. The result is a path, known as Main Street, which runs from the main entry hub to the far end of the office. Along the way, visitors encounter work zones, edit bays, think tanks and a wide variety of meeting spaces. The success of the design is really expressed on this route with an unmistakable sense of creative energy flowing through the office.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

Tours of existing locations and visioning sessions with key leaders enabled us to dive into the culture of the local group to understand the drivers for the agency’s new office. A key factor was not only understanding the Sapient team, but also understanding the neighboring competition, and how to differentiate the Sapient brand and physical space. The concept for Creative Crates, an abstract representation of how SapientNitro builds and delivers new ideas, is key to the design solution. These shipping crate-inspired structures, clad in reclaimed wood, create distinctive zones where groups can collaborate. Each one includes a unique super graphic, along with a different set of furnishings to support a particular work style.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

The greatest project challenge emerged from the unusual site conditions we started with – a raw parking structure and several former retail bays. To transform these spaces into a cohesive office required frequent site visits to address unexpected conditions discovered during demolition. For instance, when a 2-foot change in floor level was discovered in the planned Social Operations room, we added a seat pad and turned this obstruction into built-in bench seating. By embracing the unique features of the building envelope, these components became an integral part of the design solution.

On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

In today’s society, we have more choice than ever. We can choose where to live, where to work, and a career that suits our unique talents and passions. This project fosters creativity by providing a wide variety of choices for when, where and how to work. From quiet work zones to active think tank spaces, the unique plan offers an assortment of meeting rooms, cafés and collaborative areas. The space even includes a theatre for showcasing the agency’s video productions on a grand scale. But when it comes to choice, the Creative Crates prevail, each one providing a different set of amenities to facilitate a wide range of work styles.

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Perkins + Will | Nixon & Peabody – 2016 Design Is…Award Global Winner


Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.

Transformative.

How does this project demonstrate design impact?

Although corporate workspace design has been evolving for years, the basic principles of law firm design that have existed for decades are only recently being rethought. This project challenges many of the sacred law firm design characteristics such as the large corner office, solid walls and solid doors, liberal use of stone and mahogany, and the segregation of attorneys and support staff. We focused on crafting not only a visually-impactful design, but one that was reflective of the Nixon Peabody brand.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

Nixon Peabody is a global law firm and our journey began with a firmwide re-branding process aimed at differentiating Nixon Peabody from the competition. The Washington, DC office was the first to design new space after the re-branding process and the team was challenged to create the “law firm of the future.” Focusing on strategies impacting health and social equity helped create a paradigm shift in how they work together in the space, aligning office culture more closely with their firm values. The reduction in perimeter office sizes affords the opportunity to have public spaces along the window line that benefit all staff. Office fronts and doors are made of frameless clear glass and allow views to the outside for staff typically buried within interior space. Traditional corner offices are given up to shared team rooms. The Café, prominently located adjacent to Reception, serves as a hub for attorneys, staff and clients. The space promotes communication, collaboration, and cross-over between practice groups, which was a journey we had to work closely with our client on in order to navigate successfully.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

For the design to be successful, changes in cultural behavior typical of a law firm environment were required. Managing this change posed a challenge that needed to be addressed for a successful implementation of the many innovative strategies on the project. Additionally, the design team worked with the client to develop educational signage and operational guidelinesfor everything from lighting and automated shades in the typical offices, to care and maintenance for the living wall and irrigation system. Communication was also critical in order for staff to see the benefit of smaller universal office sizes as an opportunity to open up for more collaborative spaces. Informal post-occupancy surveys have revealed overwhelming approval for the variety and number of collaboration spaces.

On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

In a world that is increasingly connected with technology, there is still a desire to surround yourself with things that were made by human hands. This idea of craft is very reflective of current culture, whether it’s handcrafted communal dining tables or textures that look like they were created by an artisan rather than a computer. Similarly, we believe humans also have an intrinsic affinity for materials, patterns, and colors from nature. This project uses biophilic strategies such as the use of plants in the living wall and café, using wood in a natural state, allowing for distant views, and using colors most commonly found in nature.

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ZVA | CBRE Mexico City – 2016 Design Is…Award Market Winner


Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.

Describe this project in one word.

Refreshing.

How does this project demonstrate design impact?

You can see design all over this place, it is full of life in its finishes, color scheme, materials, furniture, different areas and the overall look and feel of the office makes you want to stay. The layout and function of the project is based on the Workplace 360 strategy and has basically no assigned places which is transforming and responding to the way we work today. There is one particular artwork master piece by James McNabb that represents Mexico City´s highline in a round wooden handmade amazing piece.

Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.

Our main focus for this project was to create the most collaborative, inclusive and transparent space possible. By putting special input on these concepts, we accomplished great results. We know the efficiency in terms of the use of space as grown impressively by 52%; we also know the users are very satisfied and happy to be working in this open, dynamic and versatile environment.

Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.

One of the biggest challenges we had to face was the fact that the users were used to workingin a very traditional and thus different space where openness and versatility weren´t an option and where the daily functioning was completely distinct. So we had to listen closely to what the client wanted and try to implement this new philosophy of working in the most subtle way so even though the change would be big, the final response was positive and people would be able to adapt as soon and as natural as possible, which was the case. The challenge regarding finishes and furniture, had to do with the fact that because of the project´s needs we had to create so many different environments or scenarios and we wanted to give each room its own autonomy but at the same time, maintain unity in the general design. So we used different brands and forms to create these distinctive areas but we always kept in mind what the general look and basis of the project were; the result is a very harmonic space.
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On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?

Of course, this is a project that reflects the way we work today which is much more relaxed, open, human and free. It gives you the ability to choose the scenario in which you want to be in today depending on the activities or tasks you have to develop and/or the type of personality you have, etc. so it is more human in the sense that it understands the users and the people that live this space on a daily basis. The environment that is created inside this space is a reflection of what our society is asking for and reflects the current work culture in Mexico City. This project has a LEED Commercial Interiors certificate so it also responds to the need to respect and preserve our planet.

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