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!