Office Sweet Office
A home away from home
Photography: Tim Brown
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Ask many professionals what they do, and they’ll say, “I live in my office.” Only occasionally is this literally true, but many folks spend more awake and active time in the office than at home. Since that is the case with a majority of working people, some companies have worked hard to make home away from home a comfortable place. What’s comfortable for one, of course, isn’t necessarily comfortable for another.
It all depends on the job.
If you are designing an office for yourself or your company, you must ask yourself what suits your interests and the tasks of the business. Does the space need to have private nooks and crannies, or should it allow people to see each other for collaborations on the spur of the moment? What sort of image do you want to present to the public and how do you achieve that?
If color is a language, how loudly do you speak?
For ideas, we’ve taken an insider’s look at four local offices and the how and why in their designs.
Two of them were constructed specifically for the company’s purposes, one last year and one more than 30 years ago. One was a remodel and another space was selected as a new office inside a new building that offered useful facilities for the employees.
In keeping with the physically active nature of Wood River Valley residents, every office building has a shower and locker room facility either in the building or adjacent to it for workers to spiff up after either a bicycle ride into the office or a workout during the day.
So, you see, it isn’t all about work.
Michael Doty Associates
Resourceful space for new design
An architect’s office is a work place, but it is also a showplace.
For the working partners, it’s got to be functional and inspirational. For potential clients, it’s got to demonstrate the firm’s creativity.
In the case of Michael Doty Associates, Doty wanted his offices to speak to his clients serving as a resourceful space for new design.
“We wanted to create a welcoming space that portrayed credibility and conveyed our commitment to design,” Doty said.
For his offices, at 371 Washington Avenue North, Doty has invited visitors to get a taste of whimsy, along with a taste of his style, in the entry room and conference room.
Design creds include an artful mix of black laminate, corrugated galvanized metal, anodized aluminum and laminated birch wood to cohesively bring each room together. Whimsy shows itself in the metal figures that climb artfully from wooden board to board in the conference room. And also in the inviting seating area which features two modern chairs that offer cushioned dark black leather seating that works up to a contrasting birch wood serving as the back rest.
These clearly show the architect is not afraid to use his inspired taste. And the open plan shows the other designers have nothing to hide.
For his new offices, meant to handle a growing staff, Doty wanted an open plan with lots of sunshine. He envisioned a space that would allow his associates to work in a comfortable, modern atmosphere with abundant natural light.
He found a space that offered the sunshine and the bones of what he wanted and also offered great in-town visibility.
The original floor plan contained multiple private offices, so he began to tear down interior walls.
“We knew that creating a studio-style work space would facilitate the free flow of information, making it easier to exchange ideas and heighten creativity,” said Doty.
He created an open studio space for his associates, with generous work stations designed for each person.
Doty also chose to create a feeling of consistency by using a limited number of materials and finishes for a variety of uses throughout the space.
Beyond the clever corrugated galvanized metal, anodized aluminum and laminated birch wood, he brought rooms together by giving work surfaces a matte black finish, a look also used in multiple storage shelves housing the firm’s library of architectural books and reference material throughout the office.
This same attention to detail was given to the conference room, which has a strong presence at the front of the building. Transparency was an underlying theme, with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall used in the interior in order to allow natural daylight to suffuse the space. A unique application of corrugated metal was used on the northern wall of the conference room, where the three miniature metal mountain climbers scale the wall. The opposing wall is finished with large square panels of laminated birch wood, proportionately separated to form a recessed grid pattern.
Corrugated metal also appears as the accent to the office manager’s desk and similar shades of metal are adopted for photo displays and all door and sink hardware.
But there was more to add, Doty explains, “We live in an area immersed in outdoor activities, and all across the country there is an impetus to accommodate that need.”
Not everyone lives where an employee could take a break and go skiing, but here they do, so Doty put in a shower to encourage his employees to think healthy.
Using a black slate tile, Doty designed each bathroom with the understanding that his employees would need designated space to clean up after an exercise break. He installed a shower and designed plenty of space in each bathroom for architects to reorganize after a workout.
“It’s an amenity for our employees,” he understates.
His firm has done a broad spectrum of projects, as can be seen throughout the neighborhoods and businesses of the Wood River Valley, Doty says “We appreciate projects that are intriguing, and the chance to build lasting relationships with our clients and consultants.” >>>