With Hue and Cry as the client, this adaptive reuse project fits the varied workplace needs of an advertising animation studio. Hue and Cry expressed the need to host high end clients while maintainging a comfortable working studio environment. Their office culture is one of relaxed, hip, creatives, and they were not looking for a corporate office. They chose a historic building close to the James River to echo their distinct roots in Virginia; not LA or NYC.
Sound and light played a big part in space planning. Some producers need to have private conversations, sound engineers need to play the same clips repeatedly all day, but no one wanted to work in a dungeon of cubicles and closed doors.
Creative professionals agree that creativity is not a straight and easy path. It curves and meanders around obstacles and mistakes. I have recreated that experience of meandering, referencing the nearby James River and its boulders. As all office designers should consider, I have also accounted for work flow and human senses: sight, smell, touch, and sound.
Access to the windows with the most daylight remains open, green walls filter greywater and air, and the materials and napping hammock are natural, reclaimed, and biodegradable. .
The shape of the rooms are like boulders, with the path of the user wearing the corners away. Those corners become a sliver of glass so that employees can see if the room is being used. Wall types include built-in storage for added sound buffers, and green walls that are filtering air and greywater. Employees are able to choose throughout their day fo work solo at a cafe table, focus in a private office, work in small groups, meet in a conference room, cook/eat, nap upstairs in the hammocks, and end the day with a beer and a record. There is even enough space to have parties!
The green walls thrive in rooms with light and moisture. Plants chosen for the mineral baths clean the air and give a green respite while clients are relaxing in water.
Salvaging, but refinishing the wood floors, exposing the original brick walls, using antique doors, and using reclaimed wood for the custom furniture and partition walls allowed the space to keep some of it’s historical character. Exposing the rafters but painting them yellow keeps the mood bright and light.
Contrasting the old heavy materials with modern furniture keeps the atmosphere feeling light and spacious. Some seats and desks are meant for comfortable, long-term sitting, while others are for shorter meetings and conversations.
For this office space, conceptualized around meandering, I wanted to use corregated cardboard. Repurposed cardboard, laser cut to modular circles, can both represent the roundness of boulders, but also let the light meander out of the ripples of corregation.
The green wall that reaches the lofty ceiling marks the restrooms, an easy landmark for visitors, as well as being central to the offices and meeting rooms. The plants chosen clean the office air, clean greywater, and aid the mental health of the employees. In the view above you can also see the spiral staircase to the hammock loft!