In the past year, the way we think about our workplaces has evolved immensely. In 2021 and beyond, workplaces will need to bring a new approach to functionality and experience in order to entice employees back to the office.Continue reading
Coming Together to Give Back
In a year when it was easy to feel helpless and isolated, our team here at Elsy Studios found great comfort in coming together (often virtually) to lend a hand in our communities – from delivering messages of gratitude in our neighborhoods to helping shore up local food bank supplies. A huge thank you to all the nonprofits out there working to make a difference this year and to all of our partners in the industry, our colleagues and our friends for chipping in in big and little ways in 2020. Everything counts – especially this year!
“Our selfless healthcare workers have been the real heroes in 2020, and they deserve our gratitude and appreciation more than ever. Our team had a wonderful time designing some creative thank you cards as part of the annual “Warm a Heart” event, which this year benefitted patients and healthcare workers at Denver Health.”
“This year, we put our design skills to work in a new We Care event to help local families during the pandemic. Our team helped create dozens of reusable face masks especially designed for younger kids, ages 3-5.”
“In the beginning of quarantine, our team found creative little ways to spread positivity to our neighbors and community. Brightly decorating our front doors and windows was something small we could do to bring others joy during those tough early days of the pandemic.”
If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that every person has the power to make a difference, but we can amplify that power – and our positive impact – when we work together.
“The Elsy team pitched in to donate food to the Denver Rescue Mission to help with the tremendous food insecurity affecting families this year. Lynn and Cathy together dropped off two car loads to the Mission. The need for donations – especially food – is so great this year. If you’re in a position to help, you can donate here.”
For all the strides we’ve made when it comes to understanding and helping clients identify more sustainable design strategies, the truth is the entire commercial design industry has a long way to go when it comes to meaningfully reducing waste and ensuring the materials we’re using are healthier for people and the planet.Continue reading
Commercial New Construction
BLENDING CONTEXT AND CULTURE IN A VIBRANT PLACE
When Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities asked Elsy Studios to create a cohesive, brand-driven design for its new space on the 10th floor of the Class AAA 50Fifty office tower in the Denver Tech Center, we were thrilled to take on this challenge. With a respected presence on the East and West coasts, the company wanted its 7,000-square-foot Denver space to feel distinct from its other offices.
Elsy worked closely with AvalonBay’s local team to understand how they like to work and what they need to be successful, creating a plan to support their business and reinforce their brand. Then we infused the design with a distinctly Colorado feel that celebrates Denver’s diverse and vibrant culture.
Inspired by AvalonBay’s mission statement, Creating A Better Way To Live, we designed a collaborative environment that not only promotes employee productivity, but communicates their values.
Warm, natural colors and materials to reflect the outdoorsy vibe and diverse terrain that make Colorado such a great place to live and work while eye-catching architectural features on the floors, walls and ceilings further embrace Denver’s vivid culture.
Programming, Space Planning, Design Development, FF&E, Construction Documents, Construction Administration, Furniture Selection, Art & Signage
1144 Fifteenth Street Building, 26th Floor
A Welcoming Office Ready for Collaboration and Entertaining
For their 26th floor office at 1144 Fifteenth Street – Denver’s newest skyscraper – Chicago-based wealth management firm Cresset Capital sought a flexible design that would help them do what they do best: build strong working relationships with their clients.
Floor-to-ceiling glass throughout the office reveals expansive mountain views and subtly reinforces the firm’s own focus on transparency. Black wall coverings are contrasted with clean, white marble floors and white ceilings to create a stunning visual impact throughout the space.
Upon entering the space, we created a variety of welcoming meeting and collaboration environments where clients and employees can relax and have candid conversations. To provide acoustical privacy between the collaborative spaces and the heads-down areas, we built acoustical walls from floor to ceiling. The Cresset Capital office needed to function as both a comfortable work environment and an entertaining space for clients. In response, we created a stylish and flexible break and dining area that are perfect for receptions with a servery discreetly hidden to the side for catering needs.
The result is a space that meets the needs of both employees and clients while showcasing Cresset Capital’s brand and core values.
Project set-up, Space Planning , Field Verification, Pricing Plan, Design Development, Furniture Selection , Construction Documents, Construction Administration, Records Documentation
Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District (Denver)
Completion Date: 2020
Design that Lets Art Shine for Bonfils-Stanton Foundation
In 2018, Elsy Studios had the privilege of collaborating with Hyder Construction to transform an abandoned warehouse in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District into a modern headquarters for their firm. We were thrilled to once again partner with them on the design and construction of the ground floor of that space, creating a new headquarters for the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation.
The Foundation’s goal is to enrich Denver’s cultural life and landscape and increase cultural participation, so we knew that art would take a center stage in their new location. Our goal was to maximize the impact of the 13 permanent art installations and a series of rotating pieces throughout the design of the 2,764-square-foot office and event space.
Our design team sought to maintain the exposed brick, concrete walls and wood ceilings that reflected the industrial character and history of the space. These harder elements are balanced with natural materials, natural lighting and residential-feeling furniture. Neutral tones and timeless finishes provide the ideal backdrop for highlighting the Foundation’s impressive collection. Highly flexible programming allows the space to be sectioned off in several ways to allow the Foundation’s team to host a variety of audiences. The result is a true celebration of the local culture and Bonfils-Stanton’s community-facing mission.
Custom Millwork Design, Lighting, Finish Selection, Furniture Selection
Village Center Station
Greenwood Village, CO
A Bright and Timeless Commercial Lobby Refresh
In today’s competitive marketplace, the experience a building owner creates can be a major differentiator to attract strong credit tenants. Recognizing the need for a fresh first impression, KBS and JLL engaged Elsy Studios to reimagine the 1,800-square-foot lobby of Village Center Station, a Class A office building in Greenwood Village. The renovation needed to be quick and cost-effective with limited disruption to existing tenants.
Having collaborated with KBS on previous projects, we understood their desire for an elegant, timeless aesthetic in their buildings. Working with existing features in the lobby, our design team drew on hospitality-inspired elements to maximize usability and visual interest.
Colorful sculptural art by Tommy Moss serves as the main focal point and helps bring movement into the space. New furniture groupings lit by elegant glass chandeliers create inviting areas for impromptu meetings. Large light pillars were replaced with sculptural planters, bringing the outside in. Updated paint and wallcovering pops against the existing dark wood paneling and millwork. New carpeting further complements the existing terrazzo flooring and its distinctive color scheme. The result is an efficient, impactful design that will stand the test of time.
Pricing Plan, Schematic Design, Furniture Selection, Art Selection, Construction Documentation, Construction Administration
Key Takeaways from CREJ Office Summit & Tech Forum
by Cathy Loftus, Principal
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel for Colorado Real Estate Journal’s Office Summit & Tech Forum.
This was my first time participating in an in-person industry event since the pandemic began, and I have to say, CREJ did a fantastic job. The panelists were in the same room, but distanced, and the 275-person audience was completely virtual.
The panel was made up of multiple industry leaders and as we prepped, planned and presented our perspectives, it became clear to me the importance of having in-depth conversations like this about our work and the role we, as designers, will play in creating the offices of the future.
Here are a few key takeaways from this conference that stuck with me:
- People are slowing down (a little). And that’s a good thing. More people than ever before are recognizing that the design of the spaces we live and work in has a tremendous effect on our health and happiness. As a result, we’re seeing clients slowing down in their process to think critically about what’s right for their company and their people. Speed isn’t dictating design and construction schedules nearly as much as it was pre-pandemic. Engaged clients who are committed to thinking about the needs of their people and their business inevitably end up with a better space.
- Technology integration is not slowing down. The focus of my particular panel was trends in the tech office sector. By virtue of the nature of their work, the tech sector has always been quick to adopt new technologies into the design of their workplace. As technology-enabled work has become the norm, nearly every sector must think about technology integration in their design process. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, where connectivity has become a lifeline for many people and businesses, technology integration is moving at warp speed. This will fundamentally change the ways we interact in our office spaces. As designers, we need to plan for technology integration that is adaptable – as technology is advancing more rapidly than ever and spaces need to be able to shift new capabilities in and out without tearing down walls.
- The best solutions are the ones that are right for your business and your people. This panel was fascinating because we had the perspectives of designers who work primarily with large corporate tech clients as well as designers who work primarily with startups and mid-size tech firms. While ‘tech’ might be the tie that binds them, what the panel reinforced is that what is right for the tech giants might not be right for a startup with 30 people.
What has always struck me about working with young tech startups is how passionate they are about their culture and how unpredictable their trajectories are. When you start working with them, they might be looking for their first 10,000-square-foot office and by the time you start designing, they got a new round of funding and now they’re looking to triple their square footage.
I believe, In order to plan a space that will allow a tech startup to effectively scale and grow – and retain their culture – you can’t just look at what others are doing. You have to get to know the team you’re working with – what they need and where they are going. Are they on track to get a new round of funding? Are they looking to sell soon? How do they work together? When do they need to collaborate? What do they value in a workplace? What are the quirks of their culture that they’re really proud of? You can’t answer these questions by looking at trends. You have to look at people.
We’re working on a couple projects right now that exemplify these key takeaways, so stay tuned!
Representing & Celebrating Colorado
by Sam Ward
Any time we begin working with a new client, the first thing we do, naturally, is build a relationship. We ask questions that help us understand what they do, the defining traits of their company culture, how their employees work and what they need to be successful.
For Colorado’s Health Capitol, home to nonprofit organizations who elevate the well-being of people in our state, their purpose is rooted in serving Colorado communities. The diversity found in each of these communities – both culturally and geographically – was something they wanted to celebrate and reinforce in their workplace design. Here’s a sneak peek at our mood board for their new 25,000 SF space in north Capitol Hill, which is on track to be completed in Q4 2020.
Our design is inspired by the uniqueness of the Colorado landscape and we divided the space into distinct geographical areas. Each of these areas will be delineated with ombre painted columns that will feature a graffiti art overlay representing the vast cultural and physical qualities that contribute to Colorado’s distinctiveness. Custom paint lines, for example, will outline major landscape features that surround and are associated with each geographical location.
In the central gatherings area, Urban Oasis, gridded carpet tile evokes transit, with ‘corners’ and ‘streets’. The distressed carpet tile behind it delivers softness and contrast. From above, the urban environment often looks manufactured, but within, it holds community and connections that bring us together. This idea inspired the use of the dark materials, such as the tile, laminate, and metal, which are offset by the raw-edged wood tone and white paneling. Just as when we walk through the city, we find murals bursting with color and personality (or a big blue bear), we’ve incorporated moments of bold color in the form of soft seating. We’re also looking to partner with local artists to help create a graffiti wall in the main elevator lobby to create a more literal interpretation of the urban experience in Denver.
From there, we head south, following the sun, to Ute Country and Mesa Miles. The materials for each will be in separate areas, but still connected through their hues and a shared accent color that will appear in their custom outlines. The palette reminds us of the warmth of southwest Colorado, bringing together the earth tones of Grand Mesa and celebrating the Ute Indian presence and history through the patterned fabric. The same gridded carpet pattern will be used in their shared conference room, but in a different color to indicate we’ve gone off the paved path. As one might expect, the wallcovering in Ute County and Mesa Miles is warmer, with strong horizontal lines compared to the complex linework of Urban Oasis.
Next, we go up in elevation to Rocky Peaks. Most folks who live in this area will tell you, snow could be in the forecast nearly year-round (bring a sweater!), so we opted to blanket this area’s scheme with blue to represent the clear blue sky and the high-altitude snow, and to contrast the warm tones of the surrounding landscapes. The monochromatic palette shows the all-blue version of the gridded carpet tile and cool-toned paint colors. The wallcovering will be installed vertically to passively show the change in altitude, and the fabric represents the snow on the peaks (or cherry on top), aptly called Sweater Weather by HBF Textiles. It complements the cooler tones with an idea of warmth and refuge that we find in cabins and around campfires.
Our final stop in this state tour is to the east, Prairie Sanctuary and Chile Haven. Again, the areas have different materials, but are connected through tones and a shared accent paint. The materials we selected here are intended to honor the agricultural tradition in Colorado, using colors and textures that come straight from the earth like the dotted, nubby texture of wheat in the yellow fabric, or the blistering of poblano peppers through the worn, green fabric. Instead of desert trails or paths in the snow, we see rows of chiles and paths through newly planted fields in the gridded carpet as the wallcovering returns to a horizontal line that reflect the horizon line of the eastern plains.
Each of these areas are unique to their geography, but together represent so much of what we love about Colorful Colorado, with its never-ending natural beauty, history and traditions.
We are so excited about this space and cannot wait to show you – and the teams at Health Capitol – the finished product. Stay tuned for more!
Elite Body Sculpture
Location: Cherry Creek North (Denver)
Industry: Medical Spa
Square Footage: 3,760 SF
A High-End Experience for a National Medical Spa’s New Denver Offices
For the new Cherry Creek North offices of Elite Body Sculpture, Elsy Studios was enlisted to design a space that would convey the polish, professionalism and discretion associated with the national medical spa brand.
Thoughtful integration of Room and Board artwork, furnishings, specialty lighting, and accessories create a high-end feel while cool stone and tile, juxtaposed with warm metals and soft, plush fabrics, achieve a clean, modern and inviting aesthetic throughout the offices. Careful space planning further supports the desired level of privacy in both service areas and access points.
In addition to design considerations, Elsy facilitated coordination with the Cherry Creek North Design Advisory Board for the first-generation space. Elsy helped navigate and overcome timing and equipment challenges to meet the project management team’s opening goals for the space.
The result is a stunning space that allows Elite Body Sculpture to put its best face forward for its introduction to the upscale Denver market.
Space planning, Pricing plan, Schematic design, Design development, Construction documentation, Construction contract administration, Record documentation