We sat down with Tom O’Connor, Senior Vice President of our Project and Development Services (PDS) group, to discuss the innovative design of Carbonite’s new headquarters offices at Lafayette City Center Boston.
Q: Please describe the space for us. They wanted it to be comfortable, like working out of a very cool living room as startups often do. The idea was to design the space to be as comfortable as your home, but more efficient and productive than working from home. I believe we succeeded.
Q: How does it reflect Carbonite’s corporate culture? Their culture is open and very collaborative. We designed a space that lets all the natural light from the Common seep in. Most of the walls are glass and 98% of the space is designed to be used by everyone.
Interestingly the company’s name Carbonite comes from material in the movie Star Wars that Han Solo is frozen in. Meaning the stuff you backup with carbonite will be frozen forever too. They wanted to incorporate that into their design. We used reclaimed metal and over-sized studs to border the entire space in order to create the effect of freezing the office. The effect was even better than we anticipated.
Q: What were the challenges? Carbonite’s management team had a clear vision for the space but they didn’t want it to be corporate-imposed. They involved tons of their employees. The design became a bottoms up process. The result speaks for itself, but it was challenging at times with all the different inputs. The team hired by Carbonite to execute the build-out was responsive, flexible and completely invested in the process.
Q: What do they like most about the way the space functions and its location? What they are most excited about is the upgrade in conference space. Prior to their move 250 people were working out of 7 conference rooms and it just wasn’t working. They now have more than 30, of varying sizes, which has allowed them to be much more productive.
If you were to ask them though, I think they are also pretty excited about all the comfortable furniture spaced out in the office. There are many places to have impromptu business conversations. They also love Downtown Crossing, all the restaurants and pubs and having the Boston Common so close.
Q: How will it help them in recruiting? It already has been a big draw for top talent. In fact I heard that every candidate they’ve extended an offer to since moving has joined their ranks. When you ask someone to spend sometimes up to 14 hours at work, you better believe where they are spending their time is going to factor into their decision.