Newsletter Subscription
Print Subscription
Change Address
News
04.29.2011
Design at Work> CompTIA
Perkins + Will designs a tech-savvy office emphasizing openness and communication.
CompTIA's community meeting room.
Steve Hall/Hedrich Blessing

When the technology industry association CompTIA relocated their world headquarters to Downers Grove, Illinois, the leadership told their designers they wanted the new office to represent a break with the old way of doing things. “They wanted a transformative space that was different than where they came from, that was forward-looking and not traditional,” said Jason Rosenblatt, the senior interior designer at Perkins + Will.

Formerly a conventional corporate setting, the new 35,000-square-foot office boasts abundant daylight and 24-foot ceilings, creating a loft-like environment. The re-design illustrates the company’s emphasis on openness and communication. White and gray walls maximize brightness, and pops of saturated color identify functional spaces, like the cafeteria in green and the conference room in teal. The reception area is a bright red space equipped with flat screens for greeting visitors and displaying the CompTIA brand.

CompTIA   CompTIA   CompTIA
Left to right: A conference room; Reception area; meeting space.
[+ Click to enlarge.]
 

A wide walkway cuts diagonally across the entire floor, connecting private offices, open workstations, meeting rooms, and eating areas. Rosenblatt compared it to a main avenue that branches off into different neighborhoods. Natural light is also visible at the end of every pathway, so that “everyone can feel daylight and openness when they’re walking to the copy room or lunch,” he explained.

Private offices line the edges of the space, while low workstations occupy much of the floor, providing privacy when employees are sitting and visibility across the office when standing up. Three small circular meeting rooms with clear glass walls and marker board walls for impromptu gatherings also promote transparency. According to Rosenblatt, the motivation behind these experimental spaces was to foster collaboration and capture the ideas that come from casual conversation outside conference room settings. “They always talk about being a community and doing things like eating together, so that led us in our design to create spaces that they would share,” he explained.

CompTIA   CompTIA   CompTIA
Left to right: meeting space; typical work stations; the cafeteria.
[+ Click to enlarge.]
 

While general lighting was salvaged from the former office for sustainability and cost savings, the volume of open space allowed new lighting arrangements to be playful, such as the crisscrossed fluorescent tubes in the cafeteria. The rectilinear shape of the offices and workstations is contrasted by furniture with soft lines. “What came out of the working session was that people were drawn to furniture in curved forms, that was forward-looking and not necessarily referencing the past,” Rosenblatt recalled. “Because they saw themselves as a tech company, they wanted to imply something that seemed more modern.”

Katherine Fung

 

 

Resources:

Accent lighting
Artemide Tolomeo

Ceiling tiles
Armstrong

Conference room seating
Haworth

 



Conference tables
Bernhardt

Carpet
Tandus

Dry-erase paint
MDC Tabrasa

Lounge seating
Coalesse

 

 

 

Storage
Izzy Plus

Task seating
Steelcase

Workstations
Allsteel Stride