Colour my world Vibes Media - design transformation by Eastlake Studio

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Vibes Media - design transformation by Eastlake Studio
Story by: Justin Foote
A bridge connects two sides of the offices architecture, building, daylighting, facade, black
A bridge connects two sides of the offices and runs through the central lightwell.

Innovative companies at the cutting edge of technology require equally ingenious offices in which to be creative and to showcase their talents.

Mobile marketing leader Vibes Media has experienced significant growth over the past decade, and was looking to create a vibrant and stimulating environment for its new offices, says architect Tom Zurowski of Eastlake Studio, principal in charge of the refurbishment project.

"Formerly the offices of an architectural firm, the space did have some interesting elements, such as the bridge across the central lightwell, but all in all, the space was rather uninspiring and neutral the antithesis of what we had been commissioned to produce."

Project designer Christina Brown says the basic elements within the space allowed them to go in a direction that really showed off its potential.

"Concrete and raw metal was the existing base palette, which gave us the freedom to really explore the client's wish for colour which we've provided through painted finishes, coloured glass and LED lighting. We took away more than we kept, but part of the final success is that we were able to salvage some of the existing architectural elements."

One such element was a curved glass wall at the end of the bridge. Zurowski and Brown have turned this formerly unused area into two balconies, taking advantage of the light well to provide pleasant outdoor space.

View of the bridge, colour was a major architecture, ceiling, daylighting, facade, interior design, light, metropolitan area, red, red
View of the bridge, colour was a major factor in the design and LED lighting was used throughout the area.

"We also played with the curved motif set up by the glass wall," says Brown. "We've instigated a recurring pattern based loosely on the Fibonnaci Golden Spiral, creating two curved meeting rooms and then bringing the curve element in again in the breakout area through the use of differing flooring materials and furnishings."

As well as injecting a sense of vibrancy into the space, the Eastlake team were also charged with providing a functional work environment for the 85 staff at Vibes.

"At its core, Vibes is about communicating, so it was important to give the company offices that would foster open communication," says Zurowski.

"The space really talks about collaboration. There are a number of meeting rooms for various different tasks as well as an element of hotelling, or hot desking that set up a number of scenarios for communicating within the space and with clients outside of the space."

"We also deliberately established a definite demarcation between the office area and the breakout area so that there is no interference to the different modes of communication," says Brown. "This has the added bonus of building in a level of flexibility that future-proofs the office area, enabling it to be reconfigured any number of times with a minimum of fuss and effort."

To facilitate the high level of flexibility, the furniture chosen has a minimal quality that makes it suited to multiple tasks.

View of a conference / video-conference room. floor, flooring, furniture, institution, interior design, office, brown
View of a conference / video-conference room.

"We've kept a very streamlined aesthetic running through the furniture," says Zurowski. "This is readily apparent in areas such as the videoconferencing rooms. Rather than make these static spaces with custom furniture designed to carry out a specific task, a pared-back approach to the fit-out speaks to the flexibility of the overall design."

"Again, it goes back to the heart of who Vibes Media is," adds Brown. "It is a young company that works in a collaborative manner that is attractive to young people, so in order to ensure that they continue to attract the best software developers, the best marketing people and so forth, they require a workspace that is flexible to, and inclusive of, a youthful work style."

Lighting too, both natural and artificial, plays an integral role in the design scheme.

"Because the building is surrounded by much taller skyscrapers, including the Sears Tower, natural light is always going to be at a premium," says Zurowski. "Much of the office space, including the ceiling was painted white to assist with bouncing light around the interior.

"We were acutely aware of working within the energy code stipulation of one watt per square foot, so we spent a lot of time on the lighting scheme, working with manufacturers and reps to get the lighting right.

"The finished result is an innovative scheme that enlivens the office environment and creates a comfortable working atmosphere."

Oct 12, 2011

Credit list

Tom Zurowski and Christina Brown,
Mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer
Clear glass with Oracal 8300 transparent
Schlage L-Series with Danmark 615 lever
Porcelain tile
Atlas Concorde Studio from Stone Source
Mannington Commercial Elemental Spectrum Brights and Neutrals
Solid surface counters and sinks
Teknion; Haworth; Bernhardt Design; Nucraft; Davis Furniture; Eames by Herman Miller; Falcon; Knoll Studio
Bathroom equipment and fixtures
Dyson; Kohler
Construction company
Sonoma Construction
Storefront/door frames
Rift-cut white oak
Knoll Textiles; Maharam Kvadrat
Vinyl flooring
Karndean Renoir Collection
Sherwin Williams Pro-Green; Wolf-Gordon Scuffmaster Environmental
Lightolier; Axis Lighting; Delray Lighting; Focal Point; Delta Light USA; Artemide; Global Lighting; Lightology; Birchwood Lighting
Plastic laminates
Wilsonart; Formica; Abet Laminati
Kitchen equipment
Frigidaire; Bosch; Whirlpool; Summit
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