Office design provided some of the most surprisingly cool projects of the past year as traditionally sedate corporate workplaces transitioned to dramatic social hubs designed with the wants and needs of employees in mind. Here are the most creative office projects of 2019â€”three of which won Best of Year awards and five of which were honorees.
Boies Schiller Flexner Law Office in New York by Schiller Projects
A modernist architect might begin a design with a concept, simple enough to draw on a restaurant napkin. A structuralist might import a typology, everything understood in advance. A text-driven architect might initiate a project with a theory. But for Aaron Schiller, principal of the integrated architecture, design, branding, and strategy consultancy, Schiller Projects, the process always starts with data. Asked to design the New York headquarters for Boies Schiller Flexner, a high-profile international law practice relocating from Midtown to Hudson Yards, the first thing Schiller and his team did was to descend on the firmâ€™s existing offices and, like sociologists with iPads and notebooks in hand, observe work patterns, chart logistics, conduct interviews, and weigh expectations. The result speaks for itselfâ€”and won the 2019 Best of Year Award for Medium Corporate Office.
Sunbrellaâ€™s North Carolina Headquarters by Tsao & McKown
â€śWe truly cross the divide,â€ť Calvin Tsao begins, meaning: â€śWeâ€™re equally comfortable with architecture and interior design.â€ť So naturally Tsao & McKown was among the talented mix-masters that members of the Gant family wanted to meet when they were planning headquarters in Burlington, North Carolina, for their growing Sunbrella brand. The Gants had their eye on converting the early 20th-century former mill they owned. â€śWe had the aha moment, literally, in looking at our birthplace,â€ť Glen Raven chairman Allen Gant Jr. says. â€śSo we werenâ€™t looking for an architect who could design us the most beautiful buildingâ€”we felt we already had that. But instead for someone who could understand the functionality of the business.â€ť The result earned Tsao & McKown a 2019 Best of Year Award for Manufacturer Headquarters.
Googleâ€™s Los Angeles Office by ZGF Architects
It was inevitable. Google, which we like to call the first stop for everything, would one day expand its presence in Los Angeles. When that time came, not just any venue would do. The company alit at the hangar built in 1943 to house Hughes Aircraft Companyâ€™s Spruce Goose. Google and ZGF Architects had already worked together on six projects, but this would be the largest effort that either had ever undertaken in the realm of adaptive reuse. â€śThe outcome was unknown when we embarked on the project,â€ť Google project executive R.G. Kahoe says. â€śBut we knew we could do something amazing, a moon-shot idea, as well as being the correct stewards for the building.â€ť The project was a Best of Year honoree in the Office Transformation category.
Showtimeâ€™s Los Angeles Office by CannonDesign
Some of the edgiest programs to hit the airwaves come from Showtime: Dexter, Homeland, Ray Donovan, Billions. The list goes on. Youâ€™d never have guessed, however, from visiting the Los Angeles office. The space was unremarkable at best. Relocation offered the opportunity to create â€śan environment that was warm and welcoming, cool without being trendy,â€ť says Showtime Networks president of entertainment Jana Winograde. For that, kudos go to CannonDesign where Principal Chari Jalali led the project from L.A., while design principal Robert Benson commuted from Chicago. And the project earned Best of Year honoree status for Creative Office.