Big office, big possibilities
One Workplace hired Blitz to combine an existing stand-alone, mid-century office building and warehouse into a 3.252 square-meters space accommodating an office, and showroom for the Bay Area workplace furniture dealers. As an adaptive reuse project, the company’s headquarters invigorates a previously overlooked industrial area and gives it new life. A highlight of the interiors is the central form of two stacked boomerang-like C-shaped structures—representing“collaboration” and “creativity”—that house an elevated conference room and observation platform for a bird’s-eye view of systems solutions.
The boomerang concept also shapes the user experience, which assures that customers are guided through the entire showroom, stopping at a series of mapped touch points showcasing a variety of furniture vignettes. The meandering path ultimately brings customers back (“boomerangs them”) to the front of the showroom. The installation of mobile and flexible work systems improves employee effectiveness across all parts of the business, while sustainable features provide energy efficiency throughout the building.
The project plays a key role in the regeneration of an industrial area in the City of Santa Clara. Because the site acts as an intersection of public transit—planes, trains, and automobiles—it was identified by the city as a gateway to Santa Clara. The new façade boasts a 22-foot-tall supergraphic of the company’s name along the warehouse to establish a strong visual brand identity, breathe new life into the buildings, and beautify the neighborhood. A large tree, dominating the front landscape, is reflected in the perforated metal screen that wraps the building entrance.
Large openings maximize natural light penetration into the building, and connect the interior activity to the newly landscaped spaces at the street edge. The spaces provide a multi-functional indoor/outdoor environment to offer additional meeting and workspaces that leverage California’s climate.
The break room is located at the intersection of the buildings and serves as the first introduction to the space. It serves as the central hub to celebrate the familial and communal quality of the company and create a programmatic connection between the two buildings.
The workspace encourages movement, dynamic thinking, and efficiency. By housing an elevated conference room and observation platform in the C-shaped structure, Blitz created a way for members of the sales team to quickly survey the floor and show customers how the furniture products can be intermixed to create a unified, flexible, and layered approach to workplace layouts.
Given the raw nature of the existing warehouse and office building, Blitz determined that the design vernacular would celebrate the site’s industrial history. The building’s tall ceilings, concrete-block walls, and concrete flooring were preserved and integrated into the project. Artifacts from the original buildings, such as fire doors, space heaters, and a chimney stack, were painted and re-installed to add context to the raw, energetic atmosphere.
To coincide with One Workplace’s approach to sustainability, the workspace reflects the company’s “smaller office, bigger opportunities” philosophy. The company moved from a 45,000-square-foot space into the new 35,000-square- foot office while increasing staff from 101 to 165. Blitz increased office efficiency by reducing the number of dedicated workstations and moving the majority of the sales team to a mobile work flow. Mobile workers store their belongings at a centralized location and work either at a shared workstation, soft seating at the work café, or alternative meeting areas.
The architects planned for longevity and flexibility by future-proofing the open office through the installation of a raised floor system for easy furniture reconfiguration. Interior offices and small meeting rooms were constructed using a re- usable and demountable partition system that allows for structurally isolated rooms to be created without connecting to the ceiling. Minimal colors and patterns allow easy interchangeability to reduce waste as furniture trends change.
Lighting and environmental strategies maximize energy efficiency. Offices and meeting rooms are centrally located using glass to maintain views of interior and exterior spaces. Daylight penetrates the office through 14 new skylights, four 20-foot-high windows, and three 10-foot-high windows along the front building elevation. Existing single-pane glazing was replaced for dual pane low-e glass, and window sills were removed to extend glass throughout the main floor. Motion sensors were added to interior building fluorescent lighting, while light-reflecting insulated foam was added to the existing roof without disturbing the structure.
The office includes an on-site gym, showers, and bike racks to encourage fitness and promote cycling to work. The water fixtures meet California’s Green Building Code Standards for water use, and Energy Star appliances were installed throughout the building. Electric car charging stations are located adjacent to the front entrance.