Understanding the needs of the modern-day employee, Sean Carlson Perry worked with Index Exchange to make a workspace that encourages flexibility and collaboration.
It may seem strange, but as designer Sean Carlson Perry talks about his inspiration and process for the Flatiron offices of Index Exchange, he brings up campfires. At first, you might think… “Wait, what does a rustic camping ritual usually involving marshmallows have to do with an office in the middle of a steel and glass city?” But Sean goes on to explain the metaphor. Campfires are egalitarian circles, where people come together as a sort of community.
The original space was “a closed-off, carpeted cube farm,” as Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships Zach Rosen says. With 40 employees, the company needed a unique mixture of both public and private workspaces as well as meeting rooms, so they tore everything down to the studs to start from scratch. Engaging with the client, Sean conducted space planning exercises to figure out what they prioritized and needed out of the space. The final result is a balance between open-plan areas and private spaces, forgoing the old model of grouping meeting areas separate from workstations. Most conference tables are round (in fact, “circular” is a recurring theme), again emphasizing that no one is at the head.he same held for the goals of Index Exchanges’s office space.
Sean also considered the individual workers. As he says, “It’s important to adjust one’s working position throughout the day. Our bodies are not made to be at a computer for 8+ hours.” To address this issue, the space (and therefore the employees) is flexible. Retracting walls and reconfigurable furniture allow workers to craft the workspace best for the moment. And you know what? It’s a whole lot better than sitting on a log. Though, we could definitely go for a s’more.