Work Design TALK Wrap-up: Philly and Charlotte Recaps

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Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie Grasso Cockrell
Natalie is a Workplace Consultant at Herman Miller and the former Editor of Work Design Magazine. She’s currently based in Pittsburgh.

Photos and highlights from our two most recent Work Design TALKs.

The audience at Benjamin’s Desk in Philadelphia. Photo by Bradd Eeles.

We hosted our final two TALKs of 2016 in Philadelphia on October 27 and in Charlotte on November 17.

Benjamin’s Desk, a network of coworking spaces, played host at their Rittenhouse Square location in Philadelphia, where the panelists emphasized how important choice is to attracting and retaining top talent. Given the host venue, they also discussed coworking, which offers a choice that isn’t just valuable as another option — it’s valuable for its efficiency.

“Compared to a traditional lease, a business looking for a few desks can go to a place like Benjamin’s Desk, book a space, and start working so quickly,” said Bob Fox, our founder and the moderator of the panel discussion.

Echoing this, a handful of design students in attendance said they’d rather have a variety of options as opposed to one desk of their own.

“There were second year master’s students from Drexel in the audience, and we asked them, from the millennial perspective, how important is it to have a desk — and they said they felt like they don’t even need one,” said Fox.

Our Philadelphia panelists included Kelly Ennis, founder and managing principal at The Verve Partnership, Adam Glaser, chief design officer for Benjamin’s Desk, Ann Hoffman, director of interior design services at Francis Cauffman, and Kim Hong, interior design director at Granum A/I.

A special thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible: AgilQuest, Knoll, ASI Signage Innovations, the IIDA PA | NJ | DE Chapter, and Benjamin’s Desk.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the evening:

WDM’s Michelle Weiss looks out over the crowd. Photo by Bradd Eeles.
The panelists, clockwise from top left: Adam Glaser, Bob Fox (moderator), Ann Hoffman, Kim Hong, and Kelly Ennis. Photo by Bradd Eeles.

Our final Work Design TALK of 2016 — and final in the eight-part series, “Exploring Choice in the Workplace” — took place in Charlotte in the historic Dyestuff building. Nearly 60 guests joined us in spite of the Panthers game that was underway at Bank of America Stadium — an achievement, we were told!

The building is located between the city’s skyline and the airport, situated on what’s now (but won’t always be) the perimeter of a rapidly developing part of Charlotte, where a mix of restaurants, retail, and offices with a sort of outpost-y cool vibe are materializing.

Our gracious host, SecurEdge Networks, occupies two spaces within the Dyestuff building, a structure that owner (and panelist) Rob Pressley, president of Coldwell Banker Commercial MECA, calls “the perfect mix of Southern textile and Art Deco.” Pressley and his brother purchased and developed the property when they realized “the perfect building in the worst location” was quickly turning into “the perfect building in the ideal location” (what with the aforementioned changes afoot).

The other SecurEdge space in the building is The Launch Factory, their coworking facility set to open in January 2017 and the scene of the TALK. Between Pressley’s development of the building — he created “blank slates” and said the variety of directions the companies within the building have taken with their workplaces is impressive — SecurEdge’s decision to build a coworking facility within their work environment, and the amenities cropping up in the neighborhood, employees in the spaces are adjusting — happily — to a new and tremendous amount of choice in where, when, and how they work.

Along with Pressley, panelists included Melissa Brown, an associate and senior interior designer at ai Design Group | A Progressive AE Company (and the designers of the SecurEdge spaces), Chris Perri, a senior managing director for CBRE Global Workplace Solutions, and Philip Wegner, the founder and CEO of SecurEdge. Fox, as usual, moderated.

A special thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible: AgilQuest, Knoll, ai Design Group | A Progressive AE Company, SecurEdge Networks, CoreNet Carolinas Chapter, and CREW Charlotte.

Here are a few photos:

A bird’s eye view of The Launch Factory as guests file in. Photo by Phil Thalheimer.
Panelists, from left to right: Bob Fox, Melissa Brown, Rob Pressley, Chris Perri, and Philip Wegner. Photo by Phil Thalheimer.
Artists were hard at work on this mural in The Launch Factory during the TALK. The imagery depicts the entrepreneurial process, following the birth of an idea to execution. Photo by Phil Thalheimer.


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