Liveperson, an online marketing, web analytics, and expert advice company, asked Mapos to design their new corporate headquarters in New York City in a way that was sustainable, both for the environment and for their company culture. Central to their brand is the creation of deep connections with their customers, employees, clients, and vendors, such that everyone feels involved and has a sense of ownership in their experience with Liveperson.
To fulfill this ethos, Mapos designed not only the physical environment of their new office, but a working process that integrated Liveperson ambassadors at every step of the design for their input, direction, and ownership. A critical first step was the co-authoring the program through a custom-designed game. Laid out on their office floor, the game board featured program “pieces” that represented standard office needs: desk space, meeting rooms, reception, etc. It also featured “wild cards” which could be put towards any use they desired. Mapos refereed a boisterous session where different departments haggled and consolidated, traded and evaluated certain pieces for others. The result was an approved brief – and workable floor plan - we could all build upon that included a public “square,” informal kitchen that would be a part of reception, work space for 80, yet flexibility for 100, several small meeting rooms, a game room, and a few large meeting rooms.
The resulting design is a direct outcome of this interactive process. The office is centered on a large “town square” - with flexible spaces for working, eating and lounging - that is adjacent to the open kitchen and visible from the entry and reception area. As soon as you enter Liveperson, you see the openness and become part of the shared Liveperson community. Next to the town square is a shingle style “building” containing two large meeting rooms. These rooms can be used individually, be combined to form a larger meeting room, and even opened up to the town square to completely remove all the walls in the center of the office. The rest of the space is essentially an open desk layout - personalized by each employee – interspersed with small stand-alone meeting rooms. Each of these rooms is completely sound-proof for private meetings and conversations and bears a “crown” of signage and greenery.
Another key component of the design was the overall strategy of re-use. All of the materials left by the previous tenant – the carpeting, lighting, shelving, mechanical equipment, desks – were mined and catalogued to become the building materials for the new space. Not only do these materials add an air of authenticity and context to the design, but they also limited the amount of dumpsters that had to be taken out of the building and the amount of new materials that had to be brought in. This single decision was a big reason the office was built for under $100/sf.
The existing carpet was brought up and the original concrete floor was cleaned and sealed, while the carpet tiles were used as sound insulation in certain new partitions. The existing light fixtures were removed and re-installed in clustered chandeliers in the reception and large meeting rooms. All of the existing wood shelves, desks, and millwork were disassembled and used for new desk construction. The shingles on the exterior walls of the central meeting room is a combination of wood materials cut down to the same size and applied as lap-siding. The sculptural walls in the reception area are made out of this re-used wood as well and composed to display the accolades, awards, and mementos that tell the history of Liveperson.
Since its completion, Liveperson plans to renovate their offices in Atlanta, London, Tel Aviv, and San Francisco using the same spirit of strategy, context, and community.