By Sally Gales and Kate St. Laurent
CannonDesign’s move to 99 Summer Street created a unique opportunity to create studio space truly reflective of who we are as a design firm today. With the help of some of our interior design and workplace strategy colleagues from around the firm, we were able to design a high-performing office in the heart of downtown Boston. Here are the five things we love most about our new office:
- More opportunities for interaction and integration. The layout of our previous studio consisted of two main areas divided by the building core and conference rooms, leaving our engineers, science + technology and healthcare groups on the east side of the space and our higher education, sports, lighting design and electrical engineers on the west side. The separation was so pronounced that some folks in our office had even taken to emailing or using Skype to communicate with people “across the divide.” The new space at 99 Summer eliminates this physical barrier and creates one large open space with all our employees working side by side on a daily basis, freely exchanging information and ideas.
- Greater connectivity to the larger Boston community. As part of a large transportation hub, the 99 Summer location offers easy access to Logan International Airport and multiple train and bus lines, including the South Station terminal which makes daily direct trips to New York City. We hope this will encourage increased use of public transit to reduce our collective carbon footprint and make the daily commute easier for the staff. As a bonus, the downtown location also puts us a stone’s throw away from the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), which will be a great way to further engage with the local architecture, engineering, and construction community.
- A physical environment that gets us up and moving. The office layout, including the configuration of work stations, enclave areas, restrooms, pantry and printers, is designed to get people moving to reflect our culture of wellness and literally “thinking on our feet.” The open studio will encourage people to get up out of their seats to talk to each other and/or brainstorm and provides the ability to choose from six different types of work settings to accommodate individual preferences regarding the amount of activity one incorporates into their work day.
- Ridiculously cool, energy efficient lighting. As home base to several members of our award-winning Lighting Design Studio, it’s no surprise our new studio uses 100 percent LED lighting and has some pretty cool features, including daylight dimming, occupancy sensing, and load shedding, all which help reduce energy usage compared to similar commercial office spaces. The space will use about 37% less energy than current Massachusetts energy code, which is no small feat considering the state has some of the most stringent standards in the nation. One of our favorite lighting elements is a 32-foot linear pendant in the elevator lobby that hangs below a geometric stretched ceiling element, casting white light down but allowing for colored light to shine up on the ceiling. The colored light will likely be a static color for day-to-day use, and changeable to color for special events. In addition, there is the ability to do fun effects — like a rainbow chase across the ceiling or alternating blue and red sections if the Red Sox or Patriots are playing in a championship game.
- Two words: roof deck. Perhaps the one feature we are all most excited about is the roof deck, which is directly accessible from the studio and includes ample casual seating and epic city views. It will be an amazing place to informally collaborate with colleagues, enjoy lunch on a sunny day, or host social events for our friends, neighbors, and clients — making our office exponentially cooler than your average workplace.