MEC and Cohn & Wolfe are two marketing and media agencies owned by worldwide communications firm WPP. When they moved to a shared location on prestigious Wilshire Boulevard, they had the opportunity not only to save on real estate costs, but also to create a fresh and energetic work environment.
The desire for a more social, collaborative atmosphere meant that many employees would be giving up private offices for a more open floorplan. Designers would have to make up for the loss of outdoor terraces, an asset of the previous location, by maximizing the connection to the outdoors through light and views.
The new space had to work harder and smarter, balancing privacy with team-building in the more open workspaces. Gathering spaces for collaboration and client meetings, as well as reception areas and a cafeteria, were also needed.
Management hoped the inevitable stress of relocating more than a hundred people would be offset by the fact that both companies would have a space designed especially for them, with increased function and a unique design aesthetic to complement their creative attitude.
A successful project begins with a clear vision, and the teams at MEC and Cohn & Wolfe convened a formal “visionary meeting” to discover the needs of the two companies, what they had in common, and how a new office design could bring the two agencies’ views and cultures together. When it was time to visit office furniture showrooms, they had a good idea of what they wanted.
In response, the design team took inspiration from Cohn & Wolfe’s credo, “Dig Deeper. Imagine More.” Pulling together examples of unique and creative projects for other clients, they presented solutions that resonated with decision-makers.
“Allsteel hit on our style, and we had a good vibe. They listened to us and heard our needs,” says Andy Cook, Cohn & Wolfe’s Director of Facilities.
Back at the office, walls were removed and the spectacular 19th-floor view of Los Angeles took center stage. An open plan using Stride panels was created to foster collaboration and bring several separate teams into closer contact. Rise, from the Gather collection, along with Merge tables, add flexibility and functionality to common areas.
Described as a holistic project, the transformation of this office space involved full participation by the client, dealer, and design firm. The result is a showcase of modern design with an informal California vibe.
Employees are particularly pleased to have a space outfitted with brand-new furniture that fits their needs. And having a say in the choice of products boosted morale. The balance of open areas and individual workspaces gets ideas flowing while still providing a comfortable setting for heads-down work.
This melding of two companies and ideas is more than just a smart real estate investment. It gives creative professionals a better place to work and entertain clients, and it opens up a new relationship between teams and individuals.