Where We Work: ?WhatIf! OfficeOctober 29, 2013
Upon entering the ?WhatIf! living room, you're struck by the enormous wood-paneled circular ceiling light fixture that hangs above couches and chairs. While the fixture dominates the room, it's complemented by the company's five, colorful logo marks in the shapes of organic, imperfect circles. Those senses of color and quietly breathtaking spaces continue throughout the office into its other rooms.
Since the ?WhatIf! team is all about collaboration and movement, Bart Higgins, a director in the company's Inventing practice, says he has a hard time choosing the office's most loved space because employees are constantly working in different places. If he had to choose, he says he would give that title to the booths on the second floor of the office, because they are comfortable spaces where small and large groups can meet as casually or formally as needed.
"Groups of two, four, six, and more people can get together, meet, and work as a team in the booths for a few hours and then move back in to open work areas individually," Higgins says. "The space was designed to feel warm and envying, like a great café where people get together to be relaxed and enjoy each others company. We used those principles and added in practicality for working needs and ended up with a great comfortable and incredibly functional public meeting area. The booths and banquets provide the ability to focus as a group within an open working experience. They enjoy the ability to do group work in an open collaborative environment where they are not hidden away from the energy of the rest of the team in a conference room."
Other highlights of the office include a cozy library outfitted with a warm-toned wall resembling shelves full of books, a kitchen that takes on a navy blue and white color scheme, freckled with steel and wood accents. Higgins explains that he likes the malleability of all the spaces in the office, because they allow the ?WhatIf! team to create the kind of space they need to work on any project. The team has even transformed a space, the office's heads down work lounge, into a more casual, independent work area that doesn't need to adhere to specific working rules.
"We created the library and the lounge as our two heads down work areas for independent silent work. As it turns out we don't need as much space for silent working as we thought we would, so the team is now using the lounge for a less formal independent work area," Higgins explains. "It's no longer a totally silent room. People play music and chat a bit more than in the library. It's evolved into a hybrid that falls somewhere between our open work environments that have lots of buzz and activity and our library that is totally silent. The team wanted a space like that and were empowered to create it."
Images courtesy of ?Whatif! Innovation Partners
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