Ideas Behind The Office

Aerial View

Aerial View

There are some basic principles that we’re looking to weave into this new office. They’re driven by a desire to create a different kind of space that reflects how we like to work and play. Most of the ideas were shaped by personal experience…lessons learned while working away in some great offices and some terrible ones. We never actually wrote anything down, the themes just became expectations as we discussed the possibilities and looked at all the different options. Finally, the team at KHA did a great job of drawing these out by observing how we work and asking the right questions about what and why we do.

So…here’s an incomplete manifesto of sorts for the shaping of 301 King.

WORK IS FUN, FUN IS WORK – In our world and industry, the lines are pretty blurred between work life and life life. Given the nature of the medium, it’s not like you can just turn on and turn off. And we truly love what we do. So, we embrace the blur and are looking to make our work space every bit as inspired, comfortable, distinctive and fun as home. We all spend most of our waking hours at work anyway…so why can’t we all work in a place that’s every bit as comfortable as home?

YOU ARE WHERE YOU WORK – I think it was Churchill who said “We shape our places, and then they shape us.” Or something like that. We’re looking to create an environment that reflects who we are and what we hope to become. The space should both feel like us, and lift us. Because it will shape us.

GATHER IN SPACES – I think everyone knows that the best conversations and the best ideas rarely happen in conventional conference rooms. We like smaller, less formal meeting spaces that foster open collaboration. We’ll look to weave in a number of small group spaces, instead of one or two big conference rooms. The hub of the office will be a bar and kitchen. Back at Wentworth we learned, by accident, that it was a great place for meeting. People love to hang and talk in a kitchen at home (you can’t get them out during a party) and the very same thing happens in an office. So rather than a depressing break room type kitchen, we’ll make it the nucleus. Also look for some “open air” meeting areas on outdoor decks and patios.

LEARNING THEATER – We plan to incorporate a “stage” to hold presentations and to host slideshows, music, art events, etc. by friends, colleagues and clients. Sort of a Pecha Kucha Light space…that we can open up to others to keep the wider community inspired about design, technology and more.

OPEN IS BETTER – We’re not big fans of walls, cubes, doors or any type of closed-off spaces. I for one would fall asleep every day if I had to work in a private office. We prefer big, wide-open floorplans and lots of common area. It reflects the relatively flat and democratic nature of our work….as you never know where the next idea is going to come from.

MINIMIAL IMPACT – While we’re not expecting to eliminate our carbon footprint or snag a Platinum LEED rating, we did apply some basic, common sense green criteria to the office search. First, we wanted to locate in a space where we had the best chance of minimizing the need for daily driving. Several of us will be able to bike or walk, some can take CARTA, and no one should have to drive to pick up lunch or hit the gym. Second, we looked to rehab an existing structure rather than build a new one…for obvious reasons. And finally, for economic and ecological reasons we’ll look to reduce the volume and the impact of the materials needed to upfit and run the space.

IDEAS ARE BETTER THAN FINISHES – Related to the minimal impact thing….but great ideas don’t need tons of execution or fancy materials. If the idea of the space is strong enough, we can just let the materials be what they are. Concrete, structure, brick, hvac, etc. can be embraced, not covered up.

Here we go and more to come. Cheers, RP

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