First there was working in the company office. Then there was working in your home office. Then there was Starbucks and the rise of the “third space”. Now the three are merging in the growing trend of “resimercial” design.
When well executed, resimercial design can have a positive impact on wellbeing, collaboration, ideation and overall productivity in the workplace. Rather than merely placing residential objects in a commercial setting, well-executed resimercial design is carefully customized for the needs of a specific client and culture and implemented with products and materials especially designed for the unique purpose. Two recent implementations illustrate how well done, resimercial design can transform a workplace.
After a decade in Atlanta, in 2016 the consumer products company Newell Brands announced its headquarters move to Hoboken, NJ in order to consolidate executive leadership, e-commerce and design teams following its acquisition of Jarden Corporation. The combined company’s new Hoboken headquarters stands between River Street and Frank Sinatra Drive overlooking the Hudson River and across to New York City. Not long before the Hoboken move, Newell had made an Atlanta head office move and a fresh design approach that recognized a shift from teleworking back to in-office work: a move towards the resimercial style which the company has now carried forward to its New Jersey offices.
The three floors of Newell Brands’ Hoboken space each display a distinctive personality and showcase elements of the company’s culture and brand: a playful, colorful creative style; a warm, inspiring collaborative culture and a clean, efficient, uncluttered work environment. Immediately upon arrival, Newell Brands’ new reception area provides visitors with an immediate sense of all three elements. Visitors are drawn forward by the room’s hardwood floor and brown wood beams dropped from the ceiling and which together with the wood floor a sense of warmth and intimacy. The reception area features several comfortable seating areas and the entire setting is flanked by a floor to ceiling inner glass wall exposing a conference room that draws daylight from an equally grand window view onto the Hudson.
Each floor includes spaces that provide for different modes of activity as would be found in any home environment. As in a home where there are living areas in which residents can casually interact – perhaps over a shared meal or a cup of tea – each floor has intentionally-placed social zones such as break areas and coffee bars throughout. In one such space, a large herringbone patterned tile backsplash runs the length of the wall and supports two equally long wooden shelves for glassware. Across the room, kitchen-style seating areas line the stretch of windows onto the water and a nearby park.
Similarly, recognizing the need for different work and meeting spaces for different moments, moods and methods, Newell Brands’ headquarters includes a blend of casual huddle areas with brightly patterned area rugs, leather lounge chairs and soft fabric couches as well as immersion rooms and conference rooms for more intensive discussions. There are also several spaces for Newell Brand employees to work in quiet, private zones – such as personal seating niches and two-person seating clusters. Also, because of the collaborative design and hands-on prototyping work of Newell Brands’ creative team, the building’s 12th floor has specialty areas for product development.
Resimercial design can bring a light-hearted, friendliness into the workplace – an antidote to institutional formality while still maintaining professionalism. In Newell’s new workspace one way this sense of playfulness is articulated is by using the Company’s own products in its décor. The back wall of one conference room, for example, features a mural of a young woman with hands on hips leaning slightly backward and looking across a landscape of undulating shades of blue. From a distance, this appears to be a painted mural. Upon closer inspection, he effects has been created through the use of 26,000 Prismacolor® colored pencils – one of Newell Brands’ premier product lines. This astonishing “pencil pointillism” readily sets a creative-thinking tone for meetings in that conference room. The back wall of a nearby conference room is covered with fishing lures from Pure Fishing – one of the brands gained through Newell Brands’ acquisition of Jarden.
Like Newell Brands, Carters is an iconic American brand of baby clothing that includes many other classic, kid-clothing brands, like OshKosh B’gosh, as subsidiaries. The company’s products have a heartfelt place in U.S. homes so it was natural for Carters new Atlanta corporate headquarters to incorporate resimercial design. In fact, at 275,000 square feet of office space serving 1700 employees, a resimercial approach was essential to creating a close community in a large commercial setting.
Like at Newell Brands’ new headquarters, Carters’ reception area features a hardwood floor – which actually run throughout the office space – and a wood panel drop ceiling. On either side of reception, there are two living-room-style areas designated by area rugs and comfortable coach and chair seating. A wall of windows behind the reception desk provide daylight and that is bolstered through a combination of sconces, track lighting and linen-shaded, drum chandeliers. Carters’ CEO asked that this space evoke the feeling of family comfort to the extent that “you want to sit down and have a bowl of oatmeal.”
That home-style feeling is sparked throughout the space by the use of simple details, textures, materials and accessories that, together, enliven all of the senses of its occupants. Photos of happy children wearing Carters clothing adorn the walls like the collection of proud parents hung from the walls of so many households. Cozy spaces to collaborate, work or recharge are abundant. These den-like areas include flat weave wool rugs and a variety of seating options – each of which looks and feels like it could be in any fine home but which is nonetheless commercial grade – built specifically for such a resimercial application. In these gathering areas, wood paneled walls envelope the space. Shelving and niches in the wood hold books, baskets and pottery and drum chandeliers – like those in reception – hang from above.
Nearby, sliding wood barn doors provide passage to a series of meeting rooms. Details that distinguish this as a resimercial space, rather than an institutional one, can also be found in these areas. Storage units in Carters’ training room, for instance, look like armoires with forged black iron pulls rather than the typical stainless or small wire pulls found in many commercial environments. These tactile textures and nuances are important components that support the intention of a resimercial design.
At either end of the building, along a wall of windows, are wooden stairs with custom-crafted black metal bannisters connecting one floor to the other. These stairs allow the workspace’s resident to have friendly interactions with co-workers while providing opportunity for health-promoting physical movement. Break areas are also arranged to create a homey vibe and to encourage casual conversation among team members. In one, resembling a traditional farmhouse kitchen, a white tile backsplash runs along one wall along with shelving that holds five square canvases espousing Carters corporate values. Glass cylinder fixtures sporting Edison bulbs brighten the kitchen island which doubles as a snacking spot and workspace. On a sidewall someone has written “Home Sweet Home” in chalk on large blackboard.
Ideally, resimercial design engages the “whole employee” in the work environment – not just the intellect that comes to work. At the same time, a resimercial designer’s challenge is to balance the desire for the materials, colors, textures, fabrics, and patterns that render a feeling of warmth, familiarity and security with the pragmatic productivity and commercial durability required in the workplace. As the lines between living and working continue to blur, people are attracted to physical environments that feel less like 9-to-5 institutional factories and more like a home-away-from-home where they can be their best, most productive selves. Resimercial is a big step in that direction.
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[…] 1. Resimercial Transformations First there was working in the company office. Then there was working in your home office. Then there was Starbucks and the rise of the “third space”. Now the three are merging in the growing trend of “resimercial” design. Image courtesy of Todd Mason of Mason Halkin Photography 2. Chicago Willis Tower A look at Chicago’s Willis Tower, one of the most iconic office buildings in the United States, opens a conversation about broader issues around where work comes into being and changes over time. Pictured above, is a conceptual plan for Wacker Drive office lobby area. Image courtesy of Willis Tower 3. Takeda Pharmaceuticals New HQ Was Designed With The Force Of Life In Mind The fourth-floor lobby of Takeda’s new HQ signifies “healthy growth to life”, with the land fed by water and light allowing trees to grow freely. Visitors and employees will witness characters for “earth”, “tree” and “people” and a large artwork made of carefully arranged wood, which doubles as a bench. 4. Capital One’s New Revitalized Downtown Chicago Office This Fortune 500 company now occupies the 23rd floor of a high-rise in the Loop, with an inspired design that merges old industry with new technology, giving the space a modern industrial vibe with a hint of nostalgia. Capital One’s offices spread across two floors, connected by a staircase. Image courtesy of Hufton & Crow. 5. Ottobock Gets New Austin Offices That Inspire Staff To Make A Big Move Ottobocks new office offers an immersive experience of the company’s values of movement and wellness. Crisp lines and sweeping curves suggest motion, while their forms and proportions evoke Ottobock’s products and mannequins. Image courtesy of Casey Dunn Photography. 6. Niche Co-Working Spaces Co-working is an inevitable topic is the workplace design industry. While much of the conversation is primarily focused on large providers, there’s a burgeoning crop of niche co-working spaces that have unique points of view on what shared workspace is all about such as a very important meeting at Ruffwear. Image courtesy of Will Blount 7. BASF’s New Istanbul Offices: Transforming Work Habits And Culture Through Design Global chemical company BASF transformed its work culture with the design of its new Istanbul offices. The new space facilitates a work environment that promotes interaction, socialization and collaboration among employees regardless of their rank. The open-plan office has a number of striking elements. Image courtesy of Mimaristudio. 8. An Office Design In India That Keeps Creativity, Energy, And Spirits High The sculptures are based on the theme of ‘Resurgam’- a Latin phrase that translates to “I shall rise again”, which defines the whole existence of every living being. If it were not for our struggles and the will to thrive, survive and make it forth, we wouldn’t exist. After every time that life puts us down or obstacles weigh over us, we decide to rise above them. They teach us to accept life as it comes, celebrate it with its all ups and downs and become stronger in the process while discovering ‘ourselves’. The text also appears on the corten steel board next to the sculptures. Image courtesy of PHX India 9. A Rotterdam Call Center’s Offices Inspires A Sense Of Belonging Throwing away the notion that a call center should feature flanks of uniform, impersonal desks, Evolution Design creates a series of different environments, so that the staff at VodafoneZiggo’s Call Center can choose the atmosphere in which they prefer to work. Instead of creating a flank of impersonal desks, Evolution Design created a series of different environments for employees to choose to work from. Image courtesy of Evolution Design and Peter Wurmli 10. New SharkNinja Office Brings Together Hundreds Of Employees The new offices aim to facilitate interaction and collaboration to drive high performance, purposeful business, inspiring creativity, and helping get the job done quickly, efficiently, and intelligently. Image courtesy of ©Anton Grassl/ESTO 11. Got Milk? The New Branded Offices Of The Dairy Farmers Of America Do The Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) asked Dimensional Innovations to visually showcase their story throughout their new branded headquarters located in Kansas City, Kansas. The focal point of DFA’s headquarters is a 29-foot-tall milk sculpture in the lobby. Image courtesy of Dimensional Innovations (Alex Grigsby) 12. A New York City-Based FinTech Company Gets A Scalable, Contemporary Office Space With splashes of color throughout, the office exhibits a contemporary design with color-coded rooms that incorporate unique decor and patterns, showing off the company’s quirky, lighthearted spirit. The design of this space, by Chelsea Garber, offers a homey vibe. Image courtesy of Knotel 13. Agility And Flexibility Are At The Heart Of Capital One’s New London Offices The workspace includes meeting zones which can transform easily into a larger scale showcase and exhibition space which maximizes the amazing views of the city, and allow visitors a glimpse into the inner working of life at Capital One. Image courtesy of Hufton & Crow 14. One Kings Lane’s Creative Headquarters In New York City Located between Soho and Tribeca, the 40,000-square-foot space showcases a design aesthetic that draws inspiration from the industrial history of its neighborhoods as well as the home furnishing brand’s refined palette. The One Kings Lane headquarters is a perfect blend of office and showroom. Image courtesy of AE Superlab 15. Holland America Group’s Waterfront Offices In Seattle Holland America Group called on SkB Architects to consolidate its operations within a single facility, with an aim to bring its Holland America, Princess, and Seabourn brands into closer alignment and increasing its operational efficiencies. The cafe, located at the top of the building, affords a prime view of Elliott Bay—where company ships regularly put into port—a place where all staff members are able to enjoy the best seat in the house. Image courtesy of Jeremy Bittermann […]
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