Unleashed Online Media asked for offices that reflect who they are and support how they work. What was required was a balanced blend of collaborative, open space and personal, individual space that express and foster progressive thinking and positive energies. The design and construction schedule was extremely short, and the budget called for highly creative solutions.
The top image to the right is an artifact from an early meeting when we were discussing pathways of internal communication and collaboration. The plan below that image shows how these dynamics were formally resolved.
What we designed for our client is not available off-the-shelf. We developed a limited palette of materials - raw steel, perforated aluminum, frosted glass, and butcher block hardwood - to create a landscape of light, semi transparent boundaries. Throughout the space, translucent frosted glass panels serve as dry-erase surfaces for writing, sketching, or doodling, either as an individual activity within the workstations or as a group activity in the collaborative spaces. One open conference room, intended for such group interaction, anchors the space, while a separate enclosed conference room will host meetings and presentations. This 'media' room is equipped with a full array of digital technology built into the furniture and the space. Above the conference table, a suspended woven plane of bamboo and steel serves to soften acoustics in the room for online conferencing. With the exception of some of the technical components and the seating, nothing in the space was purchased prefabricated; everything is custom made. We meticulously detailed every connection... and then we personally built and installed every piece.
The space balances the dual need for privacy and collaboration with visually open workstations that take full advantage of the amazing views and rich sunlight in the suite. The use of one consistent angle (22.5 degrees) generated the radial geometry that focuses on the corner of the office that is open to dramatic city views and abundant daylight. The Unleashed offices are the first to be located directly on the Kendall Yards Centennial Trail expansion. The interior design of the 'Trailside Suite' is inspired by both the natural beauty of the office location and the innovative approach to online advertising that is the hallmark of our client.
Our client believes "Our business is a mix of technology and humanity. We bring cutting-edge digital solutions to agencies, marketers, and consumers. Using the proximity of the river and our business model, the design solution integrates digital and organic concepts in the space."
Throughout the studio there are frosted glass 'towers' that radiate with live microgreens being grown for juicing, interspersed with electronic art projects that express a blend of technology and playful creativity. The concept of cultivation underlies how Unleashed Online approaches their work. Unlike traditional media, which focuses on upfront planning and strategy, online campaigns benefit from regular monitoring, testing, and optimization. Our client offered the observation that the work they do for their clients requires consistent nurturing. "You cannot neglect a campaign for six months and hope to have a good harvest." He feels that bringing plant life into the studio offers a tactile reminder to his team to stay focused on keeping campaigns healthy and thriving. I would offer the additional observation that he is doing much the same thing with and for his employees by commissioning the design of this space for them to work in together.
Author: Sam Rodell
Sam has been practicing as an award winning architect for over thirty years, and has also built many of his clients' projects. He is currently licensed to practice architecture throughout most of the western United States and Canada, and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) which expedites registration in other states and provinces. He was the first Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC) architect in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.