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.


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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