Project DescriptionThe opportunity to design their own new office allowed NicholsBooth to practice what they preach—to create a flexible space that accommodates changing staff size and acts as a showroom for their design work. They aimed to create an explorative space, allowing people to discover as they enter and move through it, rather than guiding them along a specific path. From the entry into the fuchsia-colored elevator lobby to the unobtrusive receptionist’s desk, the design invites visitors to experience the space in their own ways.
With exposed waffle-deck concrete ceilings trapping some of the noise inherent in any office, the central workspace strikes a balance between openness and too much visual or auditory noise. Reflecting the firm’s inclusiveness and lack of rigid hierarchy, everyone from the boss to the newest hire works in the same space—without walls to separate them. Individual workspaces are customizable with adjustable-height desks and a U-shaped layout that can be arranged to fit each person’s preferences.
The office design embraces the idea that informal meetings often happen in the kitchen. The centrally located kitchen faces the main workspace and allows employees to simultaneously enjoy good food and drink and the casual company of their colleagues. All the necessary but messy features of any office—printers, copiers, and supply storage—are places at the back of the kitchen, hidden from everyday view behind a sculptural low height wall.
Even in the most democratic designs, private spaces have their place. The office includes a private room for miscellaneous use, a war room for rotating teams to use during deadlines, and an HR/accounting department with walls and a door to allow those matters to remain discreet. The conference room features a NanaWall that retracts in order to expand the sitting area and double the size of the space. Inside the room, a hidden television rises up when needed and then lowers to open up the exterior views again. As a reflection for the firm’s passion for provenance stories, they designed a custom glass conference table that sits atop pieces of the Bay Bridge. The sitting area features a bench crafted from a piece of the Golden Gate Bridge.
As creative types, NicholsBooth wanted to enjoy art in the workspace. To that end, the long main corridor doubles as an art gallery, housing work from local and in-house artists. The final product reflects NicholsBooth’s philosophy and approach to workplace design. The space reflects the company and culture that occupies it, it accommodates the diverse needs of employees throughout the day, and it marries the practical and the creative in a way that makes people want to come to work.