?What If!, an innovation company, was in its existing space—the historic Stuyvesant Polyclinic in Manhattan’s East Village—for several years before deciding to upgrade and better reflect the company culture. They had completed a quick renovation seven years earlier, but they had “grown up” as a company and asked Mapos for something that was more sophisticated and brand relevant. Among the most significant features: the three-story,12,000-sq.-ft. space doesn’t have a single cubicle or private office. Some 150 employees work in a variety of spaces that support the many different ways people work. It was designed with functionality in mind so that people could not simply work, but work better.
From the moment you walk in, the energy is palpable. The centerpiece of the first floor is the lobby, where people work at vignettes of living room furniture, and the reception desk doubles as a coffee bar for work and socializing. Upstairs on the second floor, café-inspired high-backed custom booths cater to intense group sessions as well as quiet individual work. The third floor, known as the Beehive, features oversized wood tables where people settle in for a few hours or an entire day. Throughout the space are custom furnishings designed by Mapos, including the light fixture in the lobby as well as the painted steel light fixture on the third floor. Mapos also collaborated with ?What If!’s graphic design team; meeting rooms, for example, feature acoustic panels wrapped in printed canvas designed in-house.
The open plan supports a variety of needs, including the need for quiet. The Library’s wing back chairs, large work table, and wallpaper with photographic images of books help set the tone for this quiet space. There are also several phone rooms for private conversations, as well as a variety of meeting rooms (all of which are managed with iPad signs indicating if a meeting is not to be disturbed). On the opposite end of the spectrum, the DJ room is furnished with music equipment, a sectional sofa and a custom wallcovering made with a photo of a bustling East Village street scene.