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New Space Brings New Opportunities for Collaboration

March 5, 2015
As we settle into our new digs on South Broadway, I sat down with BURKETTDESIGN Principal Gillian Johnson. We were fortunate to have the exceptionally talented designer bring a smart, fresh energy to SE2’s new office space.
New Office 3
Q: Tell me about your vision for SE2’s new office: What kind of environment were you trying to create?
A: My goal was to provide SE2 with a transformational space that reinforces its strong cultural bond and helps drive its highly interactive work style. I wanted to capture the agency’s brilliant creative culture and express the employees’ vibrant personalities. The result is a warm, modern stage upon which the people are the main focus.
The centerpiece of the office is one simple, long table where everyone works together. It’s a powerful and prominent gesture in the space and symbolic of the importance of everyone “coming to the table” to collectively cultivate ideas.
Q: The new space is very open, with no private offices. Is that a trend?

New Office 1

A: Yes – the “benching” approach is reflective of a current trend in corporate interiors, which is largely in response to increasing real estate costs. It allows for incredible levels of efficiency in terms of square footage per person and creates the flexibility to support growth.

In SE2’s case, the “bench” represents an entirely different core value: that collective thinking raises the bar. Everyone, regardless of tenure or title, sits together. This underscores SE2’s commitment to principals being actively involved in the firm’s work and a belief that every person brings value to the firm’s integrated communications process. In this regard, the bench is a literal and figurative spine for the firm.

Q: There also are multiple places for standing work. What purpose do those serve?

A: Standing work surfaces are snowballing in popularity, which I believe is directly proportional to an increased awareness surrounding good health – personally and professionally. Standing can increase productivity and lead to more creative thinking, and SE2’s staff and clients will benefit from that. Adjustable-height work surfaces have essentially become “the new normal” in law firms, where they are being provided to both attorneys and staff. I am looking forward to a time not too far in the future where big companies – whether they are call centers or energy companies – invest in all of their employees. While the mechanisms are still quite costly, there is a movement among furniture manufacturers to make these more mainstream and hopefully reduce the cost with the higher demand.

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Q: What do you think the new space says about SE2?
A: Everything about the office is reflective of SE2’s collaborative culture. The neighborhood around Broadway Station is really taking off and you can see the light rail trains and a panoramic view of the Front Range through giant west-facing windows. There’s a beautiful, volumetric conference room “box” covered with beetle-kill pine and multiple opportunities for collaboration throughout the space, from standing workplace groupings to the large community table and kitchen. And, of course, there’s the central spine that encourages participation and collaboration.
We are grateful to Gillian, BURKETTDESIGN and Boots Construction for our great and inspiring new office!
About BURKETTDESIGN:
BURKETTDESIGN, INC. takes an earnest approach to providing exemplary architectural and interior design services for clients in the health care, education, financial and hospitality sectors. The agency seeks out the fundamental vision, culture, function and flow of the company by asking the right questions and providing strong leadership. This enables BURKETTDESIGN to create spaces that reflect the client’s distinct personality and articulate the client’s values. Learn more about Gillian and BURKETTDESIGN here.

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