We were approached by the Laughing Gull Foundation to help them navigate through a full office renovation. In the design planning process it became apparent that it was important that the finished space be both playful and functional.
Finding inspiration from this Durham-based foundation’s work in the community drove our creativity. Embodying the organization’s values enabled us to create an office space that is a true reflection of the team’s impact as a progressive family foundation rooted in the South and committed to justice in the transformation of relationships and institutional systems.
Renovating a commercial office
Starting with the bones of the space, we worked with the commercial general contractor to select materials that complement its features and the organization’s overall vision.
We selected acoustical light fixtures for the lobby, break room and conference room. They not only look beautiful and function well to illuminate large rooms, but also help to absorb sound during meetings.
Working with local artists
Whenever possible, we enjoy incorporating local artists and craftspeople in our projects and this Durham commercial office project was no exception. Throughout the process, we communicated with staff to ensure the space felt uplifting and met their unique needs.
We placed artwork throughout the office from four creative artists** based in the Raleigh-Durham region. We love the above painting in the break room, offering a nod to the North Carolina coast.
While the artwork in the hallway, lobby and throughout enables the organization to convey its uplifting spirit in a space that inspires and creates meaning with all its colorful shapes and movement.
In the break room, we used face mugs from a small-batch pottery company that donates part of their proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union. Every mug is handmade and unique, just like the humans they depict.
Sustainable office design
In each private office, we commissioned a local carpenter to create walnut shelving units as well as desk tops for the standing desks. With sustainability at the forefront, we selected a material made of post-consumer recycled paper and cardboard container paper that’s pressed to create a workable composite replicating stone.
We added dimension with colors and materials throughout, especially so in the break room. By reupholstering existing chairs, we were able to save cost and add punches of color to the space, having each chair a distinct hue. The selected fabric was another sustainable detail, made entirely from post-consumer recycled plastic and rated for high-traffic commercial use.
By adding colorful tables, one can’t help but smile in this space. The cabinetry with natural cane doors serves as functional office supply storage and shelving.
Last but not least, the lobby mural is also from a local artist, custom-designed to symbolize the foundation’s evolution and its impact on human rights and freedoms. The three panel design offers visitors a chance to sit and ponder its meaning.
Here are a few other commercial interiors we’ve completed recently. Does your workspace need a fresh look? Let’s discuss how TEW Design Studio can help you inspire your workforce and engage visitors to your office or commercial retail space.