Studio BV Gives Cystic Fibrosis Foundation A Space Inspired By Breath

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

Studio BV created an optimistic and playful space for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Minneapolis and the Dakotas to make a connection to the families and children that are battling Cystic Fibrosis.

The concept for the new Cystic Fibrosis Foundation office is about contraction and release. This idea comes from the body’s actions when breathing. Breathing is the basic functions of life. This simple act is at center of the CF disease and treatment. It’s the simplest invisible action that is sacred and emotional to all who are touched by this disease.

The ceiling (often invisible like breath), will express this idea of movement and structure. Using acoustic felt panels the open work areas will have angulating panels that mimic the softness and rhythm of breath. This ceiling design will provide a contrast of softness and light to the heavy and rigid timber structure. This light and texture contrast will help create a visual break from the heavy architecture. This playful design move will help your eye connect the workspaces together.

This connection to breathing and the body is an important link to the Foundation’s mission and deepens the connection the Foundation has to the families they support.

This design is optimistic and playful making a connection to the families and children that are battling Cystic Fibrosis. We believe that this design will deepen everyone’s connection and commitment to finding a cure for CF. The design will also inspire and support the amazing people who dedicate their life’s work to fighting for a cure for CF.

Studio BV and their partners secured approximately $375,000 of donated products for the project.

When was the project completed?

January 2020

How many SF per person?


How many employees work here?


What is average daily population?


Describe the work space type.

Open office private office and flex space.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?

Conference rooms and huddle rooms and open collaboration.

What other kinds of support or amenity spaces are provided?

Café space and open collaboration and a place for volunteers to come in and work.

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

It’s across the street from a light rail stop and on major bus lines and bike paths.

Any other information or project metrics?

This was a pro bono project and almost 400K in products and services were donated.

Was the C-suite involved in the project planning and design process? If so, how?

Yes – they led the design process from the client side.

What kind of programming or visioning activities were used to create the space?

We did a visioning workshop, site observations, tour and interviews.

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

Yes, program surveys.

Were there any other kinds of employee engagement activities?

All the staff – since it was so small were involved in the design process- all info gathering and design meetings.

Were any change management initiatives employed?

Total engagement by the whole office in the process.

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

We researched the science around CF and the idea of breath. Rhythms and patterns of breath to inspire the design of the ceiling installation of the felt baffles.

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

We did LED lights, sit to stand desks, low VOC paints and mobile furniture to support wellness.

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

We worked with all the industry vendors and manufacturers to get all the finishes and labor donated for the project. Most of the furniture was extremely discounted or free too. Studio BV did the design and branding all pro-bono.

For specific examples, please describe the product, how it was used, and if it solved any specific problem.

Felt baffles from TURF were used to absorb sound and provide a big component to the design story of mimicking breath. This was also a big feature in contrast to doug fir wood structure of the building.

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

AIS, Haworth, J&J Commercial Flooring, Turf Products, Humanscale, Knoll Textiles, Silestone, Formica, Hightower, Spec furniture, and Hennepin Made Lights.

What was the hard cost PSF/construction?

$30 per sq ft

What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?

There is a custom wall graphics and signage at the entry space and café.

What is the most unique feature of the space?

The bold color, and the felt texture and the openness of the space.

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

Sit to stand desks, LED lights, and Monitor arms.

If the company relocated to a new space, what was the most difficult aspect of the change for the employees?

Same space – renovation in place.

How did the company communicate the changes and moves?

The entire team was involved.

If so, what were the most surprising or illuminating or hoped-for results?

We wanted to create a space that expressed the mission of the organization and created a high performance space for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation staff.

Is there anything else that would help us tell the story of this project?

Design Forward by Studio BV helps not for profit organizations find innovative design solutions at a reduced fee or no cost. This recently introduced division reaches new organizations and builds bigger partnerships with industry friends to help make physical transformations possible for the people that need design the most.

The creation of Design Forward by Studio BV is an evolution for this kind of work at the firm. Studio BV has always been committed to doing design work for not for profit organizations that can’t afford design services. Having this separate division provides a direct path for more non-profit organizations to benefit and makes it easier for other partners to get involved.

“At Studio BV, we believe that design changes everything. We know that new spaces and design can solve problems, inspire people, and create more connections for not for profit organizations” says Betsy Vohs, CEO & Founder. “The Design Forward platform helps these organizations find design solutions that help transform their business.”

Design Forward’s debut projects include The Minnesota Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and AEON’s The Louis Housing Complex – Affordable housing for single mothers and families transitioning out of homelessness.

Who else contributed significantly to the project?

Architect – Studio BV

Contractor – Gardner Builders

Furniture Dealership – Fluid

Furniture Company – AIS and Haworth

Flooring – J&J Commercial Flooring

Acoustics – Turf Products

All images are credited to Brandon Stengel –

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