When it comes to drawing up the offices of a design firm, everyone has an opinion. HDR’s offices in Omaha, a whopping 31,000 square-feet space, were in desperate need of an update. Despite the collaborative nature of their work, most of the 135 employees were still boxed up in cubicles or private enclosed offices, cut off from one another. A rebranding of the office was necessary for it to reflect the forward-thinking firm and also to accommodate the creative minds. Led by principal Thomas Trenolone and lead designer Ian Christopher Thomas, the firm members came up with the benching system that runs throughout the space, the custom graphics, and the theme for the conference and collaboration rooms.
The four-story office was divided up into four distinct spaces—inspiration, stimulation, endurance, and confidence. Introducing vibrant, high-contrast colors, the lead designers hoped to stimulate everyone in the firm. Burnt oranges, bright blues, and sunny yellows pop against the typical gray, and denote the various areas. The predominant color is magenta, which Trenolone says “strengthens intuition and imagination.” Throughout, personal bench workstations, mobile furniture, and custom millwork encourage productivity but also socialization. Trenolone and Thomas noted that 95% of firm members worked on laptops, so traditional workspaces were abandoned. Virtually any space, from the library to the café and the auditorium, could be a place to crank out new ideas.
The project also has a notable Nebraska influence—each area is named for an Omaha native whether that’s actors Fred Astaire or Marlon Brando or president Gerald Ford. Oversize portraits of these celebrities watch over the offices.