Change is relentless and with the rapidly evolving nature of business today, industries and companies alike are exploring new and innovative real estate strategies to position themselves at the forefront. To keep up with the rapidly evolving nature of business today, the client, the nations’ largest disability insurer, challenged the firm to take an in-depth and holistic look at their workplace portfolio and implement a complete overhaul of work and amenity space. The resulting solution is a shift from an outdated workplace to an innovative campus positioned for the future through improvements to spatial layout, technology, and community policies. Previously a grey and beige workplace in three separate buildings, the client’s campus in Portland, Maine has since been densified and transformed to showcase the client’s brand and integrate touches of local personality. The foundation of the client’s design ethos combines craft with artistry using honest basics to create a light and airy feel. Unique art, lighting, and furniture incorporate patterns, textures, and materials to reflect the local personality. The resulting design invokes an old world eclectic feel appropriate for Portland’s seafront heritage, and inspired by coastal villages with sea spray and rocks in a casual atmosphere filled with brick, plaid, bright blue, Kelly green, and golden yellow textiles.
Taking cues from the urban typologies of cities themselves, “Public Squares”, “Town Centers”, and “Neighborhoods” inform the spatial plan. Town centers offer nodes of space for meeting and collaboration, including an amenity hub, providing a retreat from heads down work happening in the neighborhoods and fostering communication between groups. Town centers maximize views and allow natural light to permeate the space, while architectural elements act as sound buffers between activity spaces. An open stair provides visibility and vertical connection between floors. Neighborhoods house various teams and allocate 45 to 60 seats, allowing for flexibility and various programming based on the needs of each team. Glass-front meeting spaces and focus rooms throughout serve as facilitators of visibility and connectivity. Large scale graphic “Billboards” along “Main Street” support placemaking with local community references. The Neighborhoods are defined by the Shaw patterns Turn, Track, and Advance. They are blended together to create a large scale gradient carpet tile design spanning the entire floor plate. We worked with Shaw to create a specific change in gradient at each Neighborhood to break down the scale of the floor plates and act as a wayfinding element. Bold architectural moves within the design are highlighted with the use of the Advance pattern in the accelerate color. The client’s new workplace strategy has served as a transformational time machine, allowing the organization to accelerate impending real estate costs into a catalyst for cultural transformation.