It’s become commonplace for the best workplaces to boast about having “wow factor.” For most, this translates into deluxe amenity spaces and offerings that beautify the environment and enhance the daily lives of customers. But for Irvine Company, “wow factor” includes that and more.
In a recent article, Work Design Magazine puts forth the notion that true “wow factor” design creates spaces that deepen the connection and culture of the workplace community. They go on to explain that, “In a time when a company’s investment in office real estate is being challenged by such disruptors as coworking companies and mobile technology, design needs to dig deeper beyond aesthetic to truly understand what it is that will impactfully connect staff with a workplace.”
An aesthetic “wow factor” may have an initial impact, but it’s this human-centric thought behind design that has the staying power to retain a sense of wonder and enjoyment in one’s surroundings. Getting to the wow, then, demands a design approach that confronts the functionality that the design will bring to the user, making sure that aesthetic choices also bring value and meaning, in order to create the most intellectually and visually stimulating experience.
Key considerations include how people work, what choices will be made available to them, how to foster interaction and engagement, how to promote well-being, and ultimately, how to support the work that is already being done in the space to find its best success.
At Irvine Company in Chicago, our design draws from our deep understanding of placemaking. We know that the most successful workplace communities are ones that catalyze success and culture for their customers. At 71 South Wacker, The Exchange is a second-floor space that features a cluster of amenities: an updated café with a refreshing dining area and connected customer lounges, The Taproom, a unique self-pour bar and the exclusive KINETIC™ private fitness center. Not only does the space hold a carefully curated aesthetic — one that is bright and inviting — but we activate the space in a similar manner.
For us, the design of The Exchange went beyond creating a location to get work done or enjoy a leisurely break. We consider on-site programming and events an integral part of the building’s design, with stimulating events such as our Speaker Series and Lunch n’ Learns serving to activate the space, deeply engage our employees and ultimately unlock success. The Exchange creates the physical environment that invites people to sink in and get comfortable, and we provide the fodder to create lasting, inspiring conversations and connections between the people that activate it.