Sublease staging is more important than ever as short-term leases have gained popularity during the pandemic. With many companies reevaluating their officing needs, we’re seeing a lot more requests for support in either staging a space to attract a sublease tenant or customizing a space for sublease.Continue reading
In honor of Valentine’s Day, our team wanted to share some fun things we’ve been loving lately!Continue reading
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
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!
Putting our Design Skills to Work for We Care
Coming together to give back to our community has always been part of our culture at Elsy, and while it’s more of a challenge in the age of social distancing, we feel it’s more important than ever to find ways to make a difference.
That’s why our team jumped at the opportunity to participate in a new We Care event to help local families. As you may recall, We Care is typically a holiday event. Every December, Herman Miller partners with local Boys and Girls Clubs across America to bring holiday cheer to thousands of children across the country. Our team has partnered with We Care for many years now to create a craft that kids can give to their family members as a gift. These events are held in nearly 30 cities with help from more than 200 of the country’s leading interior design firms.
This year, Herman Miller stepped up to create a new event in response to the current pandemic. Together, we helped create reusable face masks that are designed especially for younger kids, aged 3-5. Between our Master Seamstress, Elsy Principal Cathy Loftus, and our dedicated team members who volunteered to hand-cut the masks, we were able to create and donate three dozen masks for local kiddos! A huge shout-out to the Elsy families who helped out as well. Senior Project Manager Juliana Rini’s mom made 11 homemade masks for the cause!
Transforming a Corporate Lobby into a Memorable Destination
by Carmen Schechinger
Good design is always in the details, but there’s something to be said for the impact of a great big statement piece. Case in point: this gorgeous fireplace in a building lobby we recently completed at 4500 Cherry Creek in Denver.
Our clients at D.R.A. Advisors and M&J Wilkow were looking to flip the traditional corporate lobby concept and create a truly memorable destination that would help them engage current tenants and attract new ones. And nothing makes people feel more welcome than a cozy fire feature – especially one as chic as this!
The fireplace serves as the focal point of the lobby, making a dramatic statement as tenants enter the building, and beckoning visitors to explore the expanded café area and gathering spaces throughout.
A fireplace is a must in all M&J Wilkow properties, but we wanted to make sure this one felt like something no one had seen before. We went through several iterations and elevations before coming up with the final design. Playing with the direction and angles of the wood grains, we created a bold geometric effect that warms up the space while maintaining a modern feel. Our team worked on hand sketches and computer renderings to portray the design direction. Check out this final rending and how closely it resembles the final product!
Head over to the project profile for more photos of the new space. We could not be happier with how it turned out!
Earth Day Lessons from Quarantine
by Carmen Schechinger
Drive Less! We are no longer strangers to working remotely or effectively conducting virtual meetings. Try to work from home when you can and encourage fewer in-person meetings with your clients, if virtual is appropriate.
Combine your Errands. This new habit of going to the grocery store less is not only a good way to stay safe, but it also cuts down on vehicle emissions.
Be conscious of food waste! No one wants to waste food, but especially not during a pandemic! Keep track of how much food you are wasting and – even better – start composting! The internet is full of helpful tutorials for getting started!
Use reusable bags (with caution of course!) Stores may be sensitive to reusable bags right now, but if you’re willing to bag your own groceries, you can save the on the number of plastic bags being used right now. Just wash/disinfect your bags after you use them!
Use your own silverware. Take-out food is common right now, and since you are eating it at home, say no to plastic silverware and use your own! Another tip: Put some camping utensils in your purse so you always have the option to use your own (less germs!)
Take shorter showers. Now that we are all embracing the casual ‘WFH’ look, we can get away with not washing our hair as much, and when we do, we can opt for shorter showers! Yay!
Organize a neighborhood clean-up. Feeling cooped up and want to get your kids out of the house? Put on that mask and gloves and spend 20 minutes cleaning up your block! You’ll be amazed at how much you pick up!
Plant wildflowers or a tree! Lots of people are using this extra time to start a garden (I know I jumped on the bandwagon). Consider planting a tree if you have space or introduce some wildflowers to your garden to help save the bees!