Co.act enlisted McIntosh Poris Associates (MPA) to design a welcoming open office that encourages walk-ins and “spontaneous social collisions.” Housed on the ground floor of a building constructed in 1896, the design sensitively respects the historic fabric of the building by preserving and highlighting many original architectural elements through a contemporary renovation that references the past. The design of Co.act focuses on spatial flexibility, offering users a mix of workspaces and amenities, while allowing opportunities for the space to adapt over time. Open and private areas throughout provide a variety of zones for work and presentations. Amenities include a pantry, a mother’s room, a bike parking lot, and showers.
MPA’s design solutions for a future-proof space include building out the perimeter of the space and keeping the center area open, which provides occupants the flexibility to move around, interact, and adjust the space as needed. The design maximizes visual connectivity and the permeation of natural light by using large street-facing windows, interior glass walls, and sliding barn doors. Co.act desired an environment that was not overly polished or corporate. To create a space with a slightly unfinished, imperfect aesthetic, MPA utilized contrasting materials, such as oriented strand board and metal, and furnished the space with traditional and modern office furniture. Light fixtures of different types illuminate the space, while terrazzo and wood flooring provide a touch of muted warmth.
Lively orange graphics of the Co.act logo embellish the large glass storefront and invite visitors toward the front door. On both sides of the entryway, informal seating arrangements—positioned on elevated platforms that can double as “stages” for speeches and all-hands meetings—establish a warm introduction to people entering the building. A reception desk constructed of oriented strand board and metal mesh acts as a welcoming guide for visitors. An adjacent lounge with a whiteboard wall provides a small area for group brainstorms. Central to the office, an open collaboration workspace with communal seating configurations provides nimble desks and chairs for participants to rearrange based on need. A large, live-edge walnut conference table with USB and electric outlets for connectivity is permanently fixed in the collaborative workspace for team meetings. Retractable curtains provide flexibility and give occupants the option to split the large collaborative workspace into two separate private spaces.
An enclosed conference room framed with oriented strand board and glass provides a confidential meeting area that visually connects to the office space. Existing brick painted white simultaneously acknowledges and updates the building’s history. Private executive offices and workspaces of various sizes line the perimeter of the space to serve employees and visitors partaking in collaborative tasks or confidential discussions.
A pantry playfully named “Soda Fountain” and equipped with simple white cabinets, bar-height quartz countertop island, and backsplash of brick-stamped glazed ceramic tile provide employees with an additional area for work and respite. To accommodate a diverse range of occupants with varying needs, MPA incorporated amenities such as a mother’s room, bike parking rack with storage zone for cycling commuters, and mint green-tiled showers for commuters or those who desire.