Maximizing Space, Boosting Culture

Elizabeth Davis

Rapid Advance was growing in more ways than one. The company’s original headquarters was the quintessence of corporate design—traditional, muted, and safe—but that space didn’t represent the changing company culture or allow for team growth. They needed a space that reflected the vibrancy of their culture and allowed for current and future expansion.

corporate

Rapid Advance needed a corporate design to reflect the vibrancy of their culture. Interface products featured: On Line™ and Ground Waves™.

This team of business lenders moved to a new space in a new building, marking a fresh start for the company. Rapid Advance became the first tenant of the first LEED Platinum building in Bethesda, Maryland.

Spearheaded by Lead Designer, Kristin Kostrzewski, the corporate design of the new 22,433 square foot space was the perfect tabula rasa—a space that could be designed from scratch to accommodate the team of 190 members with room for a mix of professional, executive, recreation, and collaborative areas.

meeting room

One of many areas to accommodate team collaboration.

Our efforts focused on representing not only the company’s professionalism and work ethic, but also their culture and personality. We broke down the walls of traditional corporate design by creating a workspace that is open and uplifting. We installed work surfaces with low cube walls, which opened the space and allowed for more natural light. We designed areas specifically for recreation and breaks to establish an equal balance in the new office space. The layout incorporated a “Whiskey Room” for entertaining clients and celebrating successful deals complete with flooring taken from actual whiskey barrels, a Ping-Pong table, and Foosball.

whiskey room

The “Whiskey Room”, for entertaining clients and celebrating successful deals.

Carpet served as a powerful design element in our work. Our partnership with Interface designers ensured that the flooring would stand the test of time and complement the space’s personality. By using saturated colors in open areas and subtle colors in private spaces and offices, we were able to incorporate subtle bursts of color without overwhelming the design.

rapid advance 4_575x350

Subtle colors in private spaces and offices.

Overall, the entire design offers a space where Rapid Advance’s culture can flourish. “The original space was dull. It was such a stark contrast to the softball-playing, whiskey-drinking, karaoke-singing, high energy of the Rapid Advance team. It was exciting to create an environment that reflects their thriving culture and attracts great talent,” said Melissa Price, CEO of dPOP.

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NeoCon Buzz

Gretchen Wagner

NeoCon season has come and gone yet again and I’m still buzzing. Not sure if that’s the prosecco talking or all the inspiration. Every company puts out their latest and greatest for all to see and the months of preparation lead to an exciting three days of what feels like endless cocktail parties, tired feet and most importantly great design (not bad, huh?).

Top of my list every year is the Maharam showroom. This year (like all years) they delivered, but most notable was the teaser of leathers and hides that will be launching later this year. Soft suedes in the most yummy colors you could imagine were scattered amongst woven patterns practically begging you touch every piece of material hanging in their showroom.

The design trend of hackable furniture from Milan two years ago is ever present in the workplace – everything is in the user’s control now and at the touch of a button no less. Lift and lower workstations give every individual the opportunity to work at their own level (literally). Space is getting limited and the solutions are clever and dual purpose. Functionality and form are married at this point and there’s no turning back.

Rockwell Unscripted by Knoll

Rockwell Unscripted by Knoll. Photos courtesy of Knoll.

Modularity is key for the user to express themselves. Think movable walls that also have acoustic features, seating than can be stacked in a variety of functions and tables (with handles!!) that are light enough to lift and move around. Privacy barriers that double as hidden storage and cozy nooks that can expand into collaborative areas. I’m speaking about Knoll’s collection “Rockwell Unscripted”. The collaboration with David Rockwell has solidified this trend. Inspiration coming from Rockwell’s innovative scenic designs for Broadway theater not only inspired the collection but also landed him a Tony Award less than two weeks earlier. Talk about cross-disciplinary design (drool).

BuzziSpace launched some playful office products including a topsy turvy balancing surface that keeps your body agile while taking those lengthy conference calls. Also the adult equivalent to a jungle gym in the office kept showgoers entertained. If it wasn’t for the fear of scuffing my brand new Campers, I would have shimmied my way to the top in a heart beat.

I’m still excited about monochromatic color palettes that showcase varied textures, patterns and materials all mixed together in simple coordinating color palettes. Maybe I’m just geeking out that my years of color theory have finally come to fruition, but I’m seeing it across the board at Vitra, West Elm Workspace, BuzziSpace and Steelcase not to mention in retail and small businesses via Instagram. Is it possible that the year of ALL colors is upon us? Of course there are some notable standouts; mandarin, tomato, tangerine and everything in between still raves on and the soft pastel upholstery mixed with walnut and teak are ever present in the continued obsession with mid-Century modern.

Take a swing over to our Pinterest page for continued visual inspiration and we’ll see you in Chicago – same time, next year. XoXo.

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NeoCon Happenings 2016

Interface

NeoCon is here and we can’t wait to share some big news with you. Not only are we launching the World Woven™ Collection, we’re also beginning the next chapter of our sustainability journey.

NeoCon

While you’re at NeoCon, visit Interface at two locations from 9am – 5pm:
– Merchandise Mart Suite 10-136
– 345 North Wells Street, 3rd Floor (across from the Merchandise Mart on the East end)

MONDAY, JUNE 13
8am – 10am | Coffee and smoothie bar with barista | 345 North Wells, 3rd Floor
9am – 5pm | Show hours | MM Suite 10-136 & 345 North Wells, 3rd Floor
5:30pm – 7:30pm | Cocktail party | 401 North Morgan | RSVP here

TUESDAY, JUNE 14
8am – 10am | Coffee and smoothie bar with barista | 345 North Wells, 3rd Floor
8:30am – 9am | 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design book signing and giveaway with Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green | 345 North Wells, 3rd Floor
9am – 5pm | Show hours | MM Suite 10-136 & 345 North Wells, 3rd Floor
10:30am – 11:30am | 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design book signing and giveaway with Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green | MM Suite 10-136
1pm – 2pm | “Beyond Beauty: What is Biophilic Design and Why Does it Matter?” with Bill Browning and David Gerson | NeoCon session T217

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15
9am – 5pm | Show hours | MM Suite 10-136 & 345 North Wells, 3rd Floor

Can’t make it? We’ll bring it to you virtually! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #NegativeToPositive and #WorldWoven.

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Designing with Color: Lilac

Our latest infographic looks at a color more and more designers are using to add exuberance and elegance to their interior projects. It’s lilac – and you’re going to love it!

lilac infographic

With a delicate, warm palette, Lilac Grey explores the warm shades of purple, providing a fresh, light mood that is perfect for summer months.

lilac gray collage

Find more inspiration on our purple Pinterest board.

 

Resources:
What Does the Color Lilac Represent?
Lilac – Symbolism Wiki
Meaning of The Color Purple
The Color Purple and The Color Violet
Lilac (Color)
Lilac Flower Meaning
Purple in Business
Meanings of Purple/Violet
Color Purple: Psychology, Symbolism and Meaning
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Bringing Positive Thinking To Business

Erin Meezan

The business world is undergoing a powerful shift. It’s a shift beyond “responsible business” to optimism. A shift to expecting more of businesses than profitability and stakeholder engagement. It’s a way of thinking of business as a mechanism to deliver positive impacts, and a way to solve bigger problems. At Interface, we’re excited about this shift to positive business.

Positive business as an approach is still evolving. An exact definition doesn’t exist yet, but some important principles are emerging. The Net Positive Project is a collaboration of corporations, the World Wildlife Fund and Forum for the Future who are mapping out an approach to positive and its key principles.

In higher education the conversation is evolving through initiatives like the Positive Business project at the University of Michigan. Through scholarship and conferences intended to foster adoption, this approach is sharing early thinking, principles, and best practices.

Ideas from both these initiatives align with Interface’s early thinking on how to shift to a positive business. One powerful principle is the idea of partnerships and how important it is that companies form relationships with other organizations to create bigger positive impacts. We’ve not only seen the power of partnerships to amplify our impact in our explorations of positive business, but we find it to be essential.

Net-Works

Net-Works is a collaboration between Interface, ZSL and Aquafil.

Our Net-Works® project is a great example of making a positive impact. At its heart, Net-Works is a partnership with an NGO (the Zoological Society of London), a global yarn manufacturer (Aquafil), Interface and local communities in the Philippines. These partners came together to create an innovative supply chain program that harvests used fishing nets from the Danajon Bank as a source for recycled yarn for Aquafil, and ultimately Interface. Without the expertise, reach and resources of these organizations, Interface would not have been able to create a program that aspires to impact one million people by 2020.

It’s the last member of the partnership (the local communities) that also illustrates another really important principle of being a positive business – creating an inclusive approach. More specifically, this means ensuring that affected communities are involved in creating the positive effects. By working to make Net-Works a program that involves local community members in the design and governance of the program and pays them for the net collection, Net-Works is creating a powerful new model of inclusive business.

Forest

What would happen if factories operated the same way as forests? Image by © Radius Images/Corbis

Another pilot project we’re exploring at Interface illustrates a final principle important for positive businesses, which is a restorative approach. This means making sure the environmental implications of our business are not just about being less bad, but striving to have restorative environmental impacts. This thinking is showing up in a project we’ve created with Biomimicry 3.8 and named “Factory as a Forest.” The project explores how we might run our global factory locations in a way that enriches the local communities like a forest does. It sounds metaphorical, but we’re creating standards modeled on services of local ecosystems that will give us measurable goals and targets.

It’s an exciting time to be exploring what a positive business means and we invite you to join the conversation.

Author’s note: Last week at Clerkenwell Design Week in London, Interface launched its next step in sustainability: a turn to positive. After a few years of experimenting and a few pilot projects later, Interface is now mapping out our positive future. That means understanding how to be a positive business, how we define it, and how we will measure it. In the next few weeks we will have an even BIGGER announcement to share about our sustainability journey. Watch our Twitter channel for the latest updates and announcements.

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