Studio BV Creates a Cozy Scandinavian-Inspired Office Space In Minneapolis

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Chair of the Month

Emma Weckerling
Emma Weckerling
Emma is the Managing Editor of Work Design Magazine.

The Nordic Minneapolis: a space where you’ll want to work, meet for happy hour, and brunch on Sunday, all in one.

When Studio BV set out to design the Nordic, they wanted to create a space that was unlike any other in Minneapolis. The Nordic is a modern warehouse with a warm, bright, and welcoming vibe. This building is space where you want to work, meet for happy hour, and brunch on Sunday all in one.

The Nordic takes shape and creates an edge between the street and the plaza, which stretches between two buildings creating an outdoor space that is half living room half backyard. The buzz of the plaza creates a constant energy and dynamism that defines the neighborhood in Minneapolis.

“The interior and exterior of the building blurs the boundary between inside and out, play and work, modern and old, private and public,” says Betsy Vohs, Founder and CEO of Studio BV. “The design concept of intentional overlap is about provoking changing utility of spaces and complexity of use. The building’s interior spaces should over time, day to night, weekday to weekend and seasonally.”

The space is rich and relaxing with the interior anchored by a fireplace lounge and a warm coffee bar. The custom designed fireplace creates an edge the separates the lounge and work area from the circulation space in the lobby.

The team also worked with artists to do custom installations in the Nordic to develop a series of small to medium sculptures that creates a gallery next to the lounge area.

When was the Nordic completed?


What is the size of the Nordic?

140,000 SF

Was this new or renovated space?

New space

How many SF per person?

200 sf per person

How many employees?


What is average daily population?

650 total

Is there a mobile work or work from home policy? If so, what per cent of employees are remote workers?

About 30 percent of employees are mobile.

Describe the work space type.

The Nordic a mixed use office building and office space with a coworking space and dedicated office spaces.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?

Multiple kinds – including larger conference rooms and spaces for small gatherings.

What other kind of support space or amenity spaces are provided?

There is a restaurant, coffee space, gym, showers, bike storage area, patio with a fire place, and parking.

Has the project achieved any special certifications?

Working towards WELL certification.

What is the projects location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities?

It is four blocks from light rail and on bus and bike transit.

What kind of programming or visioning activities were used?

We held meetings with tenants, users and the community. We also did a lot work research on the topic of Hygge and building communities in public spaces.

Were any pre-planning surveys conducted to get employee input?

Yes – we conducted an employee survey for WELL on amenities.

Were there any other kind of employee engagement activities?

Yes – tours and virtual reality modeling.

Were any change management initiatives employed?

We sent out email updates, and held tours and events for employees to see the space.

Please describe any program requirements that were unique or required any special research or design requirements.

We spent a lot of time designing the Nordic’s plaza to support its summer and winter activities. There are curling courts for the winter months and fire places for the summer. Movies showings, markets and yoga are also hosted here.

Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and wellbeing initiatives for employees?

Yes – the Nordic is the first office in Minneapolis to seek a WELL Certification so the design was focused on meeting those requirements.

Were there any special or unusual construction materials or techniques employed in the project?

It’s a cast in place post tension concrete structure. Concrete was designed to be used as the structure and as a finished floor system which creates a more sustainable building and less waste and maintenance.

What products or service solutions are making the biggest impact in the Nordic?

Our lobby is the most impactful. We also have lots of great furniture from Muuto, Hightower, Scandinavian Spaces, Blu Dot, and DWR.

What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?

We used art and custom features to express the brand, and the wood screen wall we designed custom as a pattern that is back lit to help create a nice backdrop to the open space. We also designed a custom felt quilted wall. This creates a softness and intimacy in the space and also act like brand expressions.

What is the most unique feature of the new space?

The fireplace lounge with the custom fireplaces and quilted wall.

Are there any furnishings or spaces specifically included to promote wellness/wellbeing?

Yes, we have tables at different heights and chairs that promote quite and privacy for those seeking focus.

How did the company communicate about the changes and moves?

We made regular updates to the company website, held meetings and send out email updates.

Who else contributed significantly to this project?

Interior Design, Custom Furniture, Art Coordination, Plaza Design: Studio BV

Core & Shell Architects: LHB Inc.Hartman Cox

PHOTO CREDITS: Corey Gaffer Photography

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