High-tech, advertising and design firms naturally gravitate to “creative” spaces, such as warehouses, historical homes, even underground bunkers.
That makes sense not only for the required “outside-the-box” vibe, but also because typically these spaces provide the space flexibility and versatility these businesses need.
The ability to modify the workspace via privacy partitions and yet keep the open-dialogue feeling between workers is key. The challenge is to make them user-friendly, warm and productive.
This budget-minded start-up, below, scored a city mezzanine space with awesome views and handsome brick walls (creative types LOVE brick!). Our goal was to divide it up into workspaces where groups could meet or individuals could work alone.
Using trade-show, see-through portable panels, this big space was divided into bite-sized work-areas/conference rooms (everyone brings laptops, of course: no more personal desks). Unlike typical solid workspace dividers, this type of “lacy” paneling allows air circulation and yet provides privacy (or at least the impression of it).
The panels also allow artwork created by the teams to be displayed, creating a dynamic gallery effect (no “purchased” art was needed: another savings!)
The central floor area was used as a “breather space” or lounge areas with warm carpeting, benches, reading materials, etc.. Again, group interaction is always important with creatives, and this was an attractive and budget-friendly solution.
Another challenge involved a warehouse owner who wanted a new lunch area for his workers, but really didn’t have a separate room available. The solution came under the floor: below the stair landing, in fact, which you might never consider for a lounge but a great use of wasted space.
Here, we envisioned small wall kitchen area, plus multiple dining tables and inviting benches, plants and a happy wall color, all working together to create a welcoming place for lunches and breaks. And at low-cost, to top it off.
Both these designs prove that cavernous spaces don’t need to be cold and uninviting, nor costly with drywall and structural additions.
The best aspect of this type of flexible space for an owner is that the use can change easily once the business has outgrown the space or, like with many start-ups, if they stop doing business…
Large, open spaces are cool and creative but can also be cold and impersonal. This design, below, carves out a corner of the building as a small respite for employees. The built-in shelving is the focus, also adding artistry with function. The individual nooks can be used for temporary storage: bags, baskets, decorative items, books or whatever suits the team.
Lastly, but certainly most frequently, we see creative entrepreneurs in a loft or similar large space who want to solve the work+live equation.
Marrying work + chill
This last one is a photographer’s warehouse/gallery studio with an extensive client meeting area and plenty of work on the walls, yet the room also functions comfortably as a personal living room off-hours. Flexible furnishings (note the sectional sofa can be “buckled” apart!) and simple but artsy decor complete the frame.
The message here is whether you run a business or work from home, creating an attractive, comfortable and productive environment is a priority today and every day.