Creating a functional workspace
Client: Self and Team
Skills: Interior Design, Creative Frugality, Construction Ability
Project Scope: To create a new office environment, including lighting and furniture, using a very oddly dimensioned space and an extremely limited budget.
An area deemed not large enough for 2 cubicals now comfortable holds 5 people, with a meeting area and a small shop.
Previous office/ Cube/ nightmare
ACE, TTi's advanced concept group, responsible for much of the company's innovative (secret) products, was located in individual cubes along a major hallway. Team meetings involved pushing chairs into the hallway and rolling back away when foot traffic came through. Brainstorming meeting were traditionally held in conference rooms so small and formal that they discouraged people from leaving their chairs and using the white boards. We were all too thrilled to be given a chance to design a new space more conducive to the creative work we were doing.
Proposed new office site
When ACE was offered this space, Engineering explained they had looked over the area since they couldn't use it for more than two cubicles. It was up for the taking if something could be done with the strange layout. 2 cubicles might have been correct. We instead opted for 5 workstations, a brainstorming/meeting area, and a mini workshop.
The space was measured and almost all major furniture, including white board walls, was quickly modeled. We tried several configurations, constantly double-checking to make sure we were meeting ACE's needs, management's goals, and not exceeding a very limited budget.
The biggest cost savings came from not only shopping at Ikea, but designing and building the workstations ourselves. Typical laminated partial board "L" shaped desks were priced at more than $3000 each. We were able to build T-Slot aluminum frames with solid wood surfaces for under $700 each.
We were not sure exactly how the the interior would be used over time, so we designed the office space and furniture to be versatile. Most of the furniture including the shelving and custom built desks can be easily modified and easily rearranged to fit the team's changing needs.
Wanting a new office yourself?
Here are a few things you'll need:
1) Ability to design the layout, or someone who loves you who is good with space
2) Have access to an IKEA
3) Have your own truck to haul pieces
4) Access to every power tool known to the market
5) A company credit card was a plus
6) Giant bucket of cheese balls.
Our New Digs
Tweaks will be ongoing, but all in all this project was a huge success. In fact, at first, ACE was falsely criticized by other departments who assumed the team splurged on expensive furniture. The reality was that the entire office was constructed for the same price as one cubical...and way cooler.