A very big congratulations to Clive Wilkinson Architects for taking home two awards this year for Contract Magazine‘s Annual Interiors Awards! Our collaborations with them include Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Publicis Groupe which have both received countless awards for its innovation in design, custom furniture, and overall architectural excellence. Here is this month’s issue which features stories from Clive Wilkinson himself as well as some of our in-house renderings for the project!
PUBLICIS GROUPE HQ
Large Banquette Workstation + Seating (Top) Bench Workstations with Acoustic Paneling (Bottom)
SHIRLEY RYAN ABILITYLAB
Nurse Station (Right), Think Pod & Phone Booth (Middle), Physician Workstation (Right)
Once again design teams are back to the drawing board for 2020, crafting the future of office spaces to accommodate new cultural shifts in society. What are the challenges and how are companies dealing with them today? As a leader in custom-built furniture catering to designers globally, the dTank team feels the pulse about what key challenges designers are facing on a daily basis and shares what concepts, products and solutions can best prepare the changing workforce for success and happiness now and in the future.
Workplace environments have shifted over time, evolving from efficiency to experiences. During the last decade the trend for open office spaces has been in full swing with designers anticipating things like densification – more employees per square foot – and the ever-evolving mobile work styles. Newer technologies have paved the way for less equipment and space. However, open office design concepts have caused controversy, leaving designers aware that it isn’t really about “one size fits all.”
Initially, the open space concept was thought to encourage team collaboration, in addition to the cold, hard fact that a company could save money by squeezing more employees into less space via bench seating, etc. However, the open space office design concept has caused controversy and speculation. With increased competitiveness and pressures at work, many employees working in open office spaces are distracted by co-workers. Individuals have different personalities and work styles, and some people simply cannot focus in a crowded open space environment.
In fact, a Harvard study of two Fortune 500 companies found that people in open-offices spent 72 percent less time interacting face-to-face—but instant messaging increased by 67 percent and email increased 56 percent. This shift might prove that employees want privacy spaces in which to do their work.
As usual humans have found ways of adapting to their individual spaces to avoid distractions and work privately by wearing earbuds, staring at their screens, or simply heading to Starbucks.
This doesn’t mean the end of the open office space. Millenials and younger generations are actually quite accustomed to open-space architectural designs both at home, and even at some high schools that now boast modular furniture, charging stations, big-screen smart TV’s, custom bookshelves, ping pong and foosball tables.
Other factors compound the latest design processes. The global workforce is more conscious than ever before of things like environmental sustainability, ergonomics for comfort and health, non-toxic materials composition and even issues that can affect our psychological well-being. This affects everything from designing purposeful workspaces made from sustainable non-toxic, eco-friendly materials and fabrics, to a variety of seating options that support physical comfort and ergonomic support to textures and colors that support well-being and emotions.
The key is, what will we design and built to meet all of these challenges for a more productive, healthier and successful global workforce? These are the questions and challenges that the dTank designers ponder daily, coming up with solutions that its clients are loving.
dTank’s team believes that it is not just about office enclosures or lack of them when it comes to open office spaces, but rather about thinking outside the box and creating a total work environment that is adjustable, solves noise issues, addresses cultural shifts in society and allows for access to the resources needed for people to do their jobs and be more productive.
The company looks to the total picture for healthier and diverse workspaces including everything from purposeful workspaces with more natural light and acoustical integrity, to a variety of seating options that support physical well-being, to materials, fabric and art in colors that support sustainability as well as emotions.
dTank has addressed these issues for new custom furniture for design teams like Smith Group JJR who did these workstations for the Baker Ave Asset Management office in San Francisco, CA.
Workstations offer privacy to employees (and customers) via Bend Plywood with High Pressure Laminate Panels. High Pressure Laminate with Plywood Work Surface, Resin Panels, Dry Erase and Forbo Tackable Material, Powder Coated Steel Storage. dTank continues to revolutionize the industry by creating sophisticated work environments that incorporate the latest ergonomic features and technology solutions.
The dTank furniture pieces feature White Laminate Surfaces, Raw Cold Rolled Steel with Matte Clear Powder Coat, Wool Felt Tack Panel, Spalted Maple Laminate, White Dry Erase Powder Coat Panels, Laminate Overhead Storage
Most commercial designers know that it’s essential to look at every company, their office and employees holistically. How many employees are there? What are the roles and personality types of employees who sit in open spaces? Are there teams or individuals working collaboratively? Do some employees (e.g. sales dept.) require more telephone time than others? Do people work independently, or do they require team and or client meetings? As a company grows in a dynamic environment, the needs of its employees will always be changing, so it’s natural that the physical environments often need to be updated.
If the goal in 2020 is to create an engaging office experience and overall wellbeing amongst workers, this may also mean introducing more activity-based social spaces where workers can go – small collaboration/meeting spaces, focus rooms, rejuvenation areas, work cafes and/or kitchens, living hubs, gyms, game rooms, privacy booths, areas for yoga or meditation and even outdoor nature-workspaces. Think resi-mercial designs – where office spaces become more like a home away from home for increased productivity, privacy and overall well-being.
We are now living in the Transformative Age, an era that is changing our work environments in unprecedented ways. New-age factors like a cloud-based world and gig economy, smart cities with cleaner energies, and wellness are influencing the mindsets of today’s millennials. This has affected where they want to live and who they want to work for.
In the United States, the lone star state is one of the most popular target destinations. Companies are moving to Texas in record numbers and the workforce is following. According to U.S. Census Bureau data more than 1 million people have moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Why Texas?
At dTank, we do a lot of research to gain fresh insights and ideas for the best furniture design solutions. Generally, we have found that companies want to move to Texas because the state is business-friendly with easy-to-get-along-with municipalities and a relaxed regulatory environment. In addition, taxes are lower with no income taxes, so everyone gets a better lifestyle at a lower cost of living.
Companies today are painfully aware of how office design and amenities influence the decisions of new employees. Their goal is to locate and entice individuals and then once hired, to engage, inspire and encourage collaboration. The challenge is that today’s employees are a lot more sophisticated that one might think! After all, an average person spends about one third of their life at work.
This is why workers are seeking what appears to be a home away from home – creative, modern and colorful resi-mercial workspaces – with access to quiet rooms and work hubs for connected collaboration. They also like access to outdoor spaces and breakrooms, coffeeshops or speakeasies that offer more food choices. Fitness and wellness seem to be key factors for today’s more health-conscious workforce, along with extra amenities like gyms, free parking, and even child and pet care services.
When it comes to furnishing these new-age office spaces, architects, and designers alike have recognized that there is a need for customization that’s hard to achieve with traditional, old-school reception desks, confining cubicles and conference rooms, or the divided workstations of years gone by. They know that there are big advantages to commissioning custom furniture designers and are therefore educating their corporate clients on the facts. Custom furniture is competitively priced and does not necessarily require longer lead times; not to mention the aesthetic advantages.
As a result of all these transformative trends, dTank is experiencing an uptick in business filtering into the company from the state of Texas. As we work with architects and designers to create, manufacture, and source custom furniture solutions, our team is equipped to offer solutions that will ultimately help companies operate in an entirely new way.
Hiring is up seven percent in Austin since 2018, as per the LinkedIn WorkForce Report. Our dTank team often works Clive Wilkerson on projects in Austin including this downtown Austin corporate space design. This talent acquisition company required doubling of their growing office space to accommodate 450 employees across 42,000 square feet of space and across two contiguous floors. Their goals included transforming how their employees could share expertise and learn — connectivity, and transparency.
From concept to creation, dTank specializes in working with architects and designers to create custom furniture solutions for corporate, healthcare, educational and commercial spaces. For more information call (818) 798-0052
dTank recently sat down with Westfall Commercial Furniture to discuss some of the trends in commercial interior design that have driven furniture dealers to work with custom furniture manufacturers. Clients who really benefit from using a dealer are going to be your smaller to medium sized companies who don’t necessarily have in-house designers and can utilize a dealers services in full. Westfall field verifies, executes space planning, specifies furniture, and installs for their clients. However, to truly optimize working with a dealer, it is important to specify custom furniture especially for pieces like conference tables or reception desks.
With the influx of standardized, off the shelf furniture products and rapid-fire trends, it is no wonder companies are turning to bespoke furniture for quality and individuality. The demand for custom furniture in the commercial interiors market specifically, continues to rise. Therefore, vendors are expected to source top brands but also offer a means to specifying custom, one-of-a-kind furniture that no one else has. For Westfall, this was one of the major pain points before using dTank, not being able to achieve what the client was looking for. By utilizing custom furniture manufacturing you are able to tell the client that you have the resources to create custom pieces – securing a larger scope of the project for your firm.
Not only are custom furniture design firms pushing for their product to be seen as a equal or greater option to standardized products, but dealers and architect firms too are beginning to educate their clients on the advantages of incorporating custom furniture. Often times the word “custom” is associated with longer lead times, and higher costs, but that is not always the case. In fact, custom products are often competitive in pricing and lead times making them a better alternative to basic products on the market. An evolving office landscape of open floor plans and resimercial furniture brings a need for customization that can’t be achieved through standard workstations, reception desks and even ancillary pieces. A great example of this in the modern day office would be huddle rooms.
Not to say that standardized products aren’t the best solution for certain aspects of a project, because 80% of the time they are! But to be able to provide your client with competitively priced, customized options, will only better your reputation as a resourceful vendor and ultimately get your client into the branded, unique space they are looking for.
DTANK PACKAGE INCLUDES:
At dTank we are constantly looking for ways to improve our relationships with dealers by finding ways for them to foster their relationships with their clients. We do this by providing packages with 3D visualizations, material call-outs, technology integration, and budget conscious designs. We see dealers as the most instrumental piece in the transaction, so we provide them with the tools they need to assure their clients they are in the best hands possible.
Contact us today to get the creative process started!
Until then, here are some of our most successful projects that involved working alongside dealers to create an amazing space for the end client:
Congratulations to Clive Wilkinson Architects for being featured in Contract Magazine alongside client Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Here is a look into this month’s issue of Contract to see our custom designed furniture pieces for the nationally awarded healthcare facility. The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab has been featured in Interior Design Magazine and been awarded the 2017 Chicago Innovation Award for Healthcare, Gold in Modern Healthcare Design Awards, US News Best Hospitals, and many more recognitions.
dTank’s scope for the project spans from custom light structures to think pods the patients will be interacting with day to day. Overall the project has more than 20 pieces of custom designed furniture and interactive medical equipment supplied by our furniture design firm. Every piece incorporates variety in design elements to defy healthcare environment norms and redefine the specifications of healing furniture. See a complete case study of our pieces including fabrication, form, and function here.
Clive Wilkinson Architects redesigned the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago into the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab; A 27-story, 1.2-million-square-foot facility that gives patients 24/7 access to the brightest minds, the latest technology, and ergonomic furniture fabricated for research and recovery.Here are some pieces dTank designed and engineered for the AbilityLab, ultimately redesigning the way healthcare approaches interiors and healing spaces.
Think Pod: Designed as a conference room for researchers and doctors to meet with an open roof, magnetic dry erase boards, and sound absorbent vinyl interiors for acoustic clarity. The pods are portable and highly functional with electrical outlets and monitor access.
Physician Workstations: Cubicle style workstations with heavy duty steel framework, portable storage units, sound absorbent material, and locking capabilities.
Mobile Storage Units: One-of-a-kind steel storage units for facility linens, tools, and folders.
Light Fixture: Custom sky light fixture for the lobby with cable suspension and acrylic paneling to create an organic form.
The Rehabilitation Center of Chicago’s CEO and president, Joanne Smith brought on Clive Wilkinson Architects, HDR, and Gensler for a brilliant collaboration and rebranding of the center into the new and improved Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. The new lab brings researchers, doctors, nurses, and patients into one place that builds off of progress through collaboration. By bringing each sector together with no offices, barriers, or hierarchies, the physicians and therapists are connected with the recovery process. We are so excited to have worked on this breakthrough in healthcare design.
Over the last decade there has been a steady progression in integration of nature in the workplace from wood panel installations and lush greenery to expansive windows and skylights. While an outdoor office concept might not work for everyone, it is interesting to look at what sectors or industries would benefit from this type of design and what that space could potentially look like from a fabrication standpoint.
The benefit of merging organized workspaces and nature is exponential when it comes to a company’s creative work ethic and above all employee morale. Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, WA has recently developed a concept for a dome containing over 3,000 species of plants as an inspirational place for talking with a colleague, eating lunch or conducting a meeting. It is scheduled to be finished in 2018.
It is a concept that design firms have been experimenting with and researching since the early 2000s incorporating materials such as steel, wrought iron, synthetic resin, or teak to name a few. Some of dTank‘s go-tos for outdoor furniture include Trespa, 3form acrylics, and Caesarstone.
After 25 years in El Segundo, Team One Advertising moved nearly 550 employees to its new headquarters in Playa Vista, CA (Silicon Beach). After completing the design and installation of the workstations, they requested that an outdoor area be integrated. dTank designed an exclusive outdoor area that would accommodate the large staff and serve as a popular meeting area for those wishing to get away from the confines of their everyday desk space.
Outdoor seating by dTank for Team One Advertising, Los Angeles.
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Puchlik Design Associates partnered with dTank to create custom furniture for Providence Holy Cross Medical Center‘s palliative care unit. When creating furniture in the healthcare, whether it is for waiting rooms, exam rooms, and patient rooms such as this one, we combine the requirements provided by the medical facility and project architect with Evidence Based Design principals and our knowledge of hospitality furniture.This approach results in patient-centered furniture solutions that provide a sense of comfort during what may be an uneasy situation.
Client: Providence St. Joseph Medical Center – Palliative Care Suites
Clothing Cabinet – Ceiling height made of wood laminate and a powder-coated steel handle
Casework – Made of wood laminate placed against the wall fitting perfectly between the wall and the room divider. Cabinet design is made to camouflage within the space.
CoArt Acrylic Panel – A custom boiphilic design made by CoArt by dTank printed on an acrylic panel that is placed in the middle of the casework providing a calming backdrop for guests. Demountable side panels are designed for access to in-wall Med Gases when zone is used as an overflow licensed bed.
Writing Desk – Freestanding wood laminate stand and drawers topped off with a white Caesarstone table designed for ease relocation when zone is needed for overflow licensed Bed.
Sink – Wood laminate drawers topped off with a white Caesarstone sink.
Coffee Table – Wood laminate table and powder-coated steel legs made with a modern design.
Studies have shown a direct link between images of nature and it’s positive affects on patient’s health in medical facilities. Too often, patients and physicians find themselves in dim, white, sterile rooms and hallways that can create a disconnected and distressed mental state. One study has found the patients that see images or videos or nature and landscapes, also known as healing art, tend to require far fewer medications for anxiety and agitation and another finds it can lower heart and blood pressure rates.
Healing Art not only benefits the patient, but also the nurses, physicians, medical staff, guests and the facility itself! Similar to how a nicely designed work space can affect an employee’s job satisfaction or a client’s perception of the company, when healing art is hung in patient rooms, hallways or waiting rooms, all that come across it are positively affected.
At CoArt by dTank, we have created a collection of healing art photography art you can choose from or you can request a custom design. All art is designed, printed on your chosen material, and installed by us.