Cushman & Wakefield Atlanta
Cushman & Wakefield Atlanta was looking to reaffirm their place in the Atlanta market and demonstrate their industry leadership with an interactive office that supports choice in the workplace and explores shared collaborative space that extends to the community.
The design driver was simple: “blurring the lines between business hours and social hours.” Their new office would invite clients and community groups to join “Cushman Central,” a concept centered around creating a social experience to encourage connection with people internally and externally. Collaboration spaces were thought about as the best hospitality spaces in the city – a concierge, a gallery, a hotel lobby, the neighborhood bar, that window seat with the best view. For the workplace, a strategy of less “me” space and more “we” space was employed to maximize the footprint that could be devoted to spaces that blurred the lines and served a duality of purposes.
More than just a reception area, the entrance is a multipurposed, hospitality focused hub of activity. A flexible space to receive hosts of visitors, the two-story, open reception area frames a monumental stair, which leads to a dramatic bridge connecting the quiet library and the social hub upstairs. A bar is integrated under the stairs which can be stocked for private events at night or an alternate workspace during the day. The bar can host breakfast, meetings, or cocktail happy hour. A stage is built into the stair as well, one that opens into a multipurpose area with sliding glass walls to hold up to 150 people for events and guest speakers.
A highlight of the office, the innovation and research lab showcases their research, industry trends, and information displayed on a smart screen and projected on a glass wall. This highly visible area exhibits the latest propriety research that gives Cushman an edge on the industry. The quiet library zone is enclosed with clear glass to allow for focused work but maintains visual openness. The office design enables relentless curiosity by fleshing out collaboration space. The design created less office space in favor of alternate types of working like huddle rooms, lounge seating, focus rooms, and collaboration booths.
A strong tie to local roots was incorporated by references to Atlanta as a city that was shaped by the railroad industry. The diagonal that breaks the city grid and creates streets parallel to railroad tracks was referenced repeatedly in the design with diagonal moves that shift the orthogonal and create dynamic tension and drama in the space. Blackened steel and actual rails are used as bold statements that reference the tracks. Lighting is also used as a visual cue: linear fixtures reinforce the journey while glowing coves signal the hospitality destination.
Our real estate client was looking to reaffirm their place in the Atlanta market and demonstrate their industry leadership with an interactive office that supports choice in the workplace and explores shared collaborative space that extends to the community. Project success was centered on a design that would drive employee engagement through a realization of their impact on and involvement with their community. The new workplace had to support associates and their strategic partners to collaborate and work in new ways that would drive positive change in our city and neighborhoods. The program required a hospitality welcome and the flexibility to host numerous types of social public events while enabling associates to work anywhere, anytime throughout the day.
Part of the challenge was also that they were bringing people from two different office locations to one unified hub, creating new connections and interactions between people that didn’t even know work for the same company.
Upon entry, the elevator lobby frames views of the hosting zone and city beyond. It introduces the diagonal that disrupts the city grid on white lacquered panels patterned with a design that nods to the urban fabric. To create the initial sense of awe, the views to the city beyond were carefully preserved by keeping them unobstructed. Glass partitions for acoustic privacy and open dividers - made of vertically mounted railroad rails - separate space into functional areas, yet connect to allow flexibility in hosting large events.
The new slab opening uses the diagonal as an organizing force that influences the monumental stair leading to a dramatic bridge. Nestled under the stairs, a bar provides alternate workspace around coffee during the day and hosts private cocktail hours at night. Programmatic elements that support the idea of blurring work and social spaces, like the “library” and the “café”, engage the opening on the upper level. As a testimony to the power of design, the managing director gave up his office shortly after moving in – preferring to be on the floor with his teams. Most mornings, he can be found working in his favorite booth overlooking the Atlanta skyline.
Physical ContextCushman & Wakefield decided to move to the heart of midtown Atlanta to create a sense of place in the city. Their new office is surrounded by alternative modes of transportation, giving employees innovative ways to travel to work, by bus, train, walking or biking. The project is designed to meet LEED and WELL Building standards, using environmentally friendly materials, as well as a human-centered approach that improves the health and wellbeing of the employees through design of the built environment. Each glass-front office and open workstation area along the windows take advantage of the stunning views of the city skyline and surrounding trees. During construction, over 98% of the waste generated from building the office was diverted from landfills, which was just one of the ways the design team was able to help the client reduce their overall environmental footprint.