Rapidly outgrowing an office it shared with architecture firm Hollwich Kushner (HWKN), Architizer needed its own home base while staying within close proximity for CEO Marc Kushner to shuffle between Architizer and the practice he cofounded with Matthias Hollwich. After a few months of searching, the 40-person company found an ideal solution — a 7,300-square-foot space situated on a different floor within the same downtown Manhattan building. What’s more, minimal renovation was required: After admiring the raw industrial aesthetic of the original HWKN/Architizer office — defined by exposed concrete, structural elements, ceiling and ductwork — building management began modeling newly vacated spaces in the same vernacular. After a few more minor changes, such as removing some partitions left over from the previous tenant, the wide-open space was ready for Architizer’s finishing touches.
Courtesy of Poppin
Welcome to Architizer
Just beyond the glass double-door entrance, the reception zone announces the company’s presence in two ways: A giant logo sculpture made of white Lego bricks — a gift from Lego for the 2016 A+Awards gala — stands at the ready to greet visitors while the illuminated Architizer sign, custom-made by Precision Neon, stands out from the stark black-painted wall behind the reception desk.
Photo by Lucy Wang
Speaking of which, this desk is no ordinary bulky piece one might encounter in more corporate settings but instead an architect’s drafting table sourced from Dick Blick, combined with a simple stool and Rich Brilliant Willing’s elegant Queue LED linear suspension lamp above (a grander version of which illuminates the large conference room).
Since Architizer has a unique business model, it desired a highly flexible plan capable of accommodating particular situations, activities, teams and individuals. “As an architect, I was trained to love clean white spaces; as an entrepreneur, I have grown to value the energy and unpredictability of collaboration,” explains Kushner. “The space was meant to be as indeterminate as possible. We are a startup and need flexibility.”
Courtesy of Poppin
Ultimately, this called for an open plan with easy-to-reconfigure furniture and accessories — and that’s where office furniture manufacturer Poppin shines bright. The brand boasts a wide range of mobile and multipurpose products that are budget friendly enough for startups, and ship and assemble quickly to let users hit the ground running. In the main work zone, rows of benching consist of Poppin’s clean-lined Series A Double Desks with cable hideaways while Poppin’s Stow 3-Drawer File Cabinets roll right under the white desktops or to the side to conceal and stash personal items and supplies. Versatile, airy and ergonomic, Allsteel’s Clarity chairs, sourced through WB Mason Interiors, complete the workstation groupings. And a few mobile floor-standing whiteboards shift around as needed by different teams.
If open-plan workplaces have taught us anything in the last several years, it’s that they aren’t suitable for every situation and individual. “One happy surprise is that our office suits teams with wildly different needs, like developers who need quiet and salespeople who are always on the phone,” says Kushner. Aiding this effort is a series of glass-enclosed rooms, four of which are different sized conference rooms that can accommodate everything from private phone calls and one-on-one conversations to larger team powwows, training, client meetings and more.
Furnished with Crate & Barrel’s marble-topped Parsons Tables and some simple black chairs (Allsteel's Clarity chairs in "The Big Conference Room"), these rooms boast discreet tech in the form of Samsung flat screens that wirelessly connect to individual computers for presentations and JOAN electronic paper displays. The latter seamlessly synchs with Architizer’s internal Google calendar in real time to show when the room is booked along with upcoming bookings.
One more enclosed space, the “Library,” is a free-use lounge space for working, chatting or relaxing. As with other progressive workplaces, where residential design is crossing over into commercial, this room was deliberately given a cozy feel with West Elm seating and even an area rug and floor lamp.
Get With the Program
In addition to providing room to grow, this generous space is capable of hosting its own and sponsored events. A large open area adjacent to the workstation zone might appear as unused space on some days, but on others, folding white chairs occupy this corner for staff presentations, all-hands meetings and special AIA CES–accredited lectures and talks.
Courtesy of Poppin
Another area that functions as a multipurpose event space is wedged between reception and an L-shaped kitchenette. Here, Poppin’s minimalist Series A Standing Meeting Tables perfectly complement the industrial aesthetic of the entire office while providing perches for Architizer’s occasional staff lunches and happy hours. But they’re also easy to move around and reconfigure for other programming such as industry parties and the aforementioned lectures.
Courtesy of Poppin
Best of all, they provide a change of scenery for individual work and spontaneous meetings on any given day, with simple white metal drafting stools that neatly tuck underneath and echo the drafting stool seen earlier at the reception desk. “It has been great to see the kitchen space evolve into a lunch counter and coworking area,” adds Kushner. “There’s a good buzz about the space.”