A Cleveland Design Firm Expands its Office to Foster Creativity

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Alexis Ramos
Alexis Ramos
Alexis Ramos is a Content Creator and UX Consultant at Work Design Magazine. As someone who is naturally empathetic and creative, Alexis is passionate about leveraging technology to create positive change in the world. When it comes to "work design" topics, Alexis' interests lie heavily in biophilia and user-friendly technology that help make the workplace a seamless and stress-free place to be. When she's not generating SEO-optimized, witty pieces for us, you can usually find her spending time with her rescue greyhound, Cairo.

Vocon sought to renovate and expand its Cleveland space to create a headquarters with a vibrant workplace culture while actively fostering creativity and collaboration.

The heart of the office is the work cafe that is energized throughout the day with teams, individual employees, partners and guests working and interacting. The family-style tables and booths, used for eating, or for individual work, are social hubs that facilitate spontaneous and organic collaboration.

Founded in 1987 as a design firm focused on interiors, Vocon has grown to more than 180 employees, with offices in Cleveland, New York City and Los Angeles, and projects nationally and internationally. Today the firm offers a comprehensive suite of services including corporate, retail and residential interiors, architecture, workplace strategy, and experiential brand strategy.

The Cleveland headquarters office Vocon occupied in 2005 accommodated the company’s steady growth. But, by 2017, Vocon required a much larger and more dynamic space to support its expanding workforce and client base.

When was the project completed?

How much space (SF)?
15,000 square feet

The staircase anchors the space, and is designed for more than utility. The intricate pattern on the stairwell signifies that Vocon’s design process is multifaceted, collaborative and nonlinear.

Was this new or renovated space?

Is there a mobile work or work from home policy? If so, what percent of employees are remote workers?
YES 10 %

The cafe wall, modeled after the photo-filled front of the refrigerator of Vocon’s founder and owner Deb Donley, features updated photos of employees and their families, company events and client projects.

Describe workspace types.
The vision for Vocon’s redesigned headquarters was to create a welcoming, activity-based work environment, that offers flexible options for employees and guests to work successfully, either independently or in groups. The adjustability allows the space to evolve as employees’ needs change, while supports the productivity of the Vocon team by providing access to natural light and encouraging movement and comfort.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?
The 15,000-square-foot headquarters, located at 3142 Prospect Avenue in Cleveland, occupies two floors, with a working reception and lounge area, large cafe spaces, and a variety of inspiring spaces to support collaboration, teamwork, creative thinking and individually focused work. A dramatic staircase connects the two floors.

The Vocon design team chose to incorporate personalized design touches throughout the new space to reflect the firm’s unique brand identity.

What other kinds of support space or amenity spaces are provided?
1. Our Virtual Reality (VR) Room. This multi-functional room was designed to maximize our design capabilities. We use this room internally to strengthen design decisions and with our clients to virtually walk them through their space before it is built! The room also has color temperature changing lights which help us when selecting finishes. The large displays on the wall are powered by Bluescape. Bluescape allows us to share content with people globally, as well as present documents and utilize VR at a large scale.

VR Room

2. Our Library. This space holds all of the product samples and literature to our most used materials. We have a lot of space to layout and store projects as we work on them. It is also a meeting space for internal meetings and client presentations. Our clients really enjoy seeing the environment our designers work in and where their projects begin.


What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?
The phrase “Love Your Work” is central to the Vocon ethos, applying to both employees, partners, and clients. Its inclusion on the headquarters’ branded wall sets the tone for the space, reinforcing Vocon’s passion for creating spaces that positively impact people and organizations. The bold red neon sign which communicates the catchphrase grabs your attention – a signature color representative of the firm’s brand identity.

The main wall behind the staircase features an environmental graphic similar to the skull image, with overlapping circles. This motif represents the way relationships adapt and expand, another example of the importance of Vocon’s values in their design choices.

What is the most unique feature of the new space?
The dramatic skull wall in one of the conference spaces is another symbolic design element unique to Vocon. It is an environmental graphic treatment made out of black felt laid over a red wall treatment. The skull has personal significance; it is a favorite image of Vocon’s co-owner Paul Voinovich. It represents the balance of Vocon’s owners, Paul and Deb, and their different personalities in the space. The arresting and unexpected visual demonstrates the firm’s singular approach but features a double meaning. As one draws closer to the graphic, it becomes clear that it is comprised of multiple circles, representing the firm’s emphasis on building relationships and connections.

A moss wall with letters reading “Crush it Every Day” incorporates greenery into a space and offers a fresh and energetic design element. Vocon’s founder uses this phrase often, and it reinforces one of Vocon’s key values, “together we give it our all.”

Tell us more!

Interior Architect/Designer: Vocon

Photography courtesy of Matthew Carbone

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