Atmosphere Commercial Interiors’ new Minneapolis office doesn’t feel like an office at all.
It’s a cross between a high-end furniture showroom and electronics trade show, what a relaxed home would feel like if it was tricked out with the latest in tech gadgets and the newest line of modern upscale furniture.
With the help of architecture firm Gensler, Atmosphere recently renovating its 100-person, 29,000-square-foot office in the Young-Quinlan building in downtown Minneapolis. The company calls the space a “worklab” and uses it to showcase office design ideas for clients.
“We want people to come in every day and do their best work, to be innovative and drive growth for our organization so we have to give them the spaces for them to feel comfortable to do that,” said Carlene Wilson, president of Atmosphere.
That pursuit led to a combination of residential and commercial elements that bring the comforts of home to the workplace. Atmosphere added couches with warm colors and textured pillows, woven cotton wall hangings, large plants, local art and other features often found in home design magazines.
Incorporating some of those homey, creature comforts is especially key as some companies have started to bring their remote employees back to the office.
Even in an office setting, workers expect to be given various options of where exactly they can work with different degrees of privacy, Wilson said.
“As a nomadic worker, I have a backpack,” said Natasha Fonville, brand manager for Atmosphere. “I have everything that I need in there. I rarely use a printer.”
About half of Atmosphere staffers don’t have designated desks and choose where they work in the office. A set of large screens show which office seats are available with green for open and red for taken. The system provides valuable analytics so companies can see how a space is being used, Wilson said.
When staff was polled before the renovation, a major concern mentioned was the need for privacy. While the open workplaces with tables and open cubicles have become popular in recent years, it’s important to find a balance between collaborative and private space especially when a company has an employee base of varying ages with people who likely have different expectations, she said.
There are only a couple individual offices on the entire two floors of Atmosphere. Most of the leadership team have workstations in the central area of the office in an effort to be more accessible to employees. However, executives also have private spaces, a relaxing single-person work room and a meeting lounge, to get away to.
Some of the all-in-one work chairs called Brody, short for brain and body, have cubby space, electrical outlets, movable desk arms, as well as screens to offer some privacy. There are also video conferencing rooms and individual workrooms when people need more alone time. To dampen the conveyance of sound from conversations, there are baffles hung from the ceiling and a sound-masking system that adjusts to louder volumes.
Similar to many other modern offices, collaborative spaces at Atmosphere have increased from eight total enclaves and conference rooms before the renovation to 20.
Atmosphere’s office remodel follows a rapid transformation of the company in recent years. In May 2015, Minneapolis-based Omni Workspace bought the company, which used to be the office furnishings division of Target Corp. Later that year, the company rebranded itself Atmosphere. It currently generates annual revenue of about $200 million. Some of its latest furnishing projects include the current Target Center renovation and the Landing Hotels and Residences in Wayzata that opened this past summer.
Wilson said she thinks corporate clients are becoming more progressive with their workspaces and soon more offices will have the look and feel of Atmosphere’s space.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495