Location: Grand Rapids, MI
The biggest design challenge involved the limitations of low ceiling heights in the space. We exposed the ceilings in the main reception/gathering space as a way to gain more perceived height, as well as create an industrial/modern design scheme and painted the ceilings black to soften the shadows and textures that exposed ceilings create, but also to conceal piping and HVAC systems. It was important to make the private office’s front walls transparent glass, to allow for natural light to filter into the core of the space, and to “invite” their clients in.
Another challenge centered on creating a multifunctional reception area, which doubled as an entertainment space and employee break area. The program called for a reception desk, soft seating area, kitchenette with barstool seating, and access to the conference room. In response, we designed an L-shaped plan that placed the soft seating area in the middle, between the reception and break area. This intentional placement made the soft seating area act not only as a waiting space for visitors, but also is accessible to employees for a lounge/lunch space. The custom designed kitchenette is used by employees daily, but its construction with high-end materials are appropriate for an occasional cocktail party. The openness of the island and custom metal “X” leg speak to the branding of their company, whose slogan is “X Marks the Spot”. We also incorporated branding into a custom tiled divider, in the shape of a reverse “X” to define the separation between the reception area and kitchenette. Design elements that portray an “X” shape pop up throughout the office in an effort to subliminally enforce their marketing, including subtle patterns in the carpet and acoustical ceiling tiles.