SPACELAB: 7 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM LAUNCHING A SATELLITE OFFICE

 In Design, Workplace, Community Outreach, General

In case you missed it, we launched a little project this summer called Spacelab. Here’s how it’s going so far:

1. Smile, you’re on camera: We set up a live camera feed inside of Spacelab to authentically show how the space is being used, and as it turns out, some people are a little camera shy. Being the creative solutionists that we are, there’s been some hilariously innovative ways to avoid the camera—like this expertly-rigged picture of Nicholas Cage:


2. Branding boo-boo
: The vision: sweeping window graphics with Spacelab branding that really pop from the outside but still allow natural light to pour in throughout the space. The result cast an acid green glow across the entire room (check out the Nick Cage picture above one more time, and you’ll see what we mean.) Oops. We learned that you can only install the perforated graphics from the outside and not the inside. We were forced to do the solid film with an inside install which didn’t quite go as planned.  You can see how this is problematic for working designers (or anyone who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on a Call of Duty special-ops mission.) The compromise:

3. Perks matter: Small details like bag hooks and wireless chargers impact comfort and productivity, and it’s our mission to use Spacelab as a hands-on testing grounds to think of everything that contributes to a better work environment. We also found out that our neighbors at the café next door bring up a tray of freshly-baked cookies daily after lunch like clockwork—one of the many benefits of operating out of a co-working space. We’re all about a healthy workplace, but thoughtful touches (like under-desk foot rests, warm cookies and a communal candy jar that won’t quit) can make the world go ‘round.

4. Designing for human behavior: The reality is that how we implement FFE in our designs and how people actually end up using them can be miles apart. Case in point, we have a great circular couch and round table for casual meetings—the assumption being that people would adjust the configuration for different situations, but it’s ended up being too heavy and cumbersome for that to be realistic. People are gravitating towards rolling/movable chairs to form impromptu gathering spots for meetings. Silver lining: we’re forced to think deeper about what’s best for a space and the people that inhabit it.

5. No, really, you can sit here: Our third-grade dreams have come true: we’ve found a painting that you can actually sit in, but instead of getting sent to time-out, we’re getting people interacting with our space and engaging with each other. The chair/painting (chainting? Someone call Merriam-Webster) is turning out to be a great ice-breaker, plus the slight look of terror that first-timers have when they sit on it is endlessly entertaining.


6. Teamwork makes the dream work: We’ve partnered with some of the industry’s top vendors who have graciously donated lighting, carpeting and furniture for us to test out. Infinite thanks to FLOR, Corporate Environments and Illuminations—you’re helping us become better designers, and we wouldn’t be able to pull this off without you.

7. It’s a small world after all: Atlanta’s got the bustle of a big city with the close-knit sensibilities of a small town—six degrees of separation is often more like two, and serendipitous connections are common. We’re planners by nature, but we didn’t know when we signed our lease at Constellations that it would be a way for us to have our finger on the pulse of the community around us. Everyone knows someone who knows someone, and sometimes you find yourself in the right place at the right time with the right people. That’s the beauty of Spacelab—we get to immerse ourselves fully in everything we’re doing with an incredible network supporting us, one neighborhood at a time.

We’ll be giving a weekly play-by-play on the grand experiment that is Spacelab. Check back to see how it unfolds.

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