Office Sweet Office
A home away from home
Photography: Tim Brown
(page 3 of 4)
Sun Valley Magazine:
Making space for a collaborative business
There’s something liberating about casting off an inheritance, especially when it comes to office space. With a supreme sense of freedom, Sun Valley Magazine recently moved out of offices that had served the business for almost two decades and settled into a new spot inside a new building.
Gone was a long hallway with separate offices that looked out on the back of other buildings. Everyone was closeted in private offices.
“It wasn’t helpful for the spirit of collaboration,” Laurie Sammis, publisher of Sun Valley Magazine, says about the magazine’s former office. “And because working as a team is essential to responding with creativity and innovation while under production deadlines,” adds Sammis, “we all felt the need for a new layout.”
In looking for a new location, Sammis sought a space that would reflect the spirit and creativity of the team and settled on an unfinished ground floor space a block away in the Meriwether Building in Hailey.
“The high volume ceilings and unfinished interiors suited our needs perfectly,” says Sammis. “It provided us with an empty canvas with which to design a space that would more closely match the imagination and character of our team.”
To start, the current crew of art directors, editors, designers, and advertising sales people provided input about the type of space they envisioned, as well as a “wish list” of key items: the art team wanted natural light and a small work table for internal reviews, edit wanted more open access to art for the sharing and exchange of ideas during production, sales wanted the ability to meet with clients and easily access resource materials and back issues, accounting wanted privacy, and everybody needed a space for brainstorming sessions or making presentations and reviewing design with custom publishing clients.
“We have simultaneous deadlines on various projects and have to shift focus quickly so the open office is the way to go,” says Sammis. “Having this space is more indicative of the kind of work that we do and the quality of the work we do. We’ve got a really sharp, independent, fun and creative team.”
The design needed to be efficient and resourceful, with lots of storage space and a way to create privacy without limiting the natural light from the north and east facing windows flooding the interior space. Jennifer Hoey Interior Design helped solve these issues with fluid work spaces combined with barn door tracks and hanging doors on the private offices.
The feeling of a converted loft is accomplished through exposed water pipes and ventilation system tubes in the main office spaces, which are incorporated as part of the design as items exposed to view under an industrial coat of flat-finish black paint. The entire office, crisp in its colors of wood, slate gray laminate and black steel, with a few attention-grabbing magazine covers on open metal frames, speaks a contemporary language and provides space for modern needs such as a room for the computer server and another for archives of past issues.
“We went for a clean simple look using natural materials,” Sammis says.
Renewable bamboo went down on the floors because of the eco-consciousness of the employees and owner. Other considerations were made for the employees and their health. For example, each person has the use of a common-area gym and showers.
Central to the design was the desire to create a space that fostered collaborative work as a team, not only trading ideas but also taking inspiration from each other during the day. Each workspace needed to be wired for intranet to access the central database. Because inspiration comes from all manner of ideas and sources, each workspace has large magnet boards to post the latest quote, photo or inspired vision. In keeping with the clean, modern aesthetic using natural materials, basic magnetized steel was chosen from an industrial source and securely adhered to the walls by Ben Stahl of Lee Gilman Builders.
“Now we have a better flow,” Sammis says.
Along with improved flow, there’s a conference room, something everyone on the staff wanted. Immediately inside the door of the office sits an area with a contemporary wood conference table from Poliform and a stunning vegetal-dyed rug from New Moon in muted colors of eggplant and sage. A wall-mounted flat screen display allows for presentations and a stunning tree adds greenery in the space, which doubles as the welcome space.
Altogether, the two main goals—to have a conference room for clients, weekly staff meetings, and advertising presentations and to have an open office where collaboration rules—were accomplished without difficulty in the new building. >>>