When you walk into the new Super Studio workspace, your eye is immediately drawn to delightful little details that speak to a larger purpose.
Graphic tiling surrounding an electric fireplace evokes a designer’s concept drawing. Tiny flecks of copper that match the design firm’s colors are embedded in a granite countertop. A fun mural reading “Super Fresh” adorns one wall.
Taken together, the effect of all these elements is a lot like quality graphic design–visually detailed but with a sense of intentionality–so it’s no surprise to learn that much of the design of the newly renovated space was the work of a designer, Super Studio director Dawn Koranda.
While these details offer visual interest, Koranda says the design was about the larger purpose of getting work done.
“We wanted a more open plan, something airy with lots of natural light. We needed room to work and room to collaborate, just good working space,” Koranda says.
The amount of natural light in the space is rather striking, and it was helped by putting up as few walls as possible. The walls that are needed, Koranda notes, were designed to run north-south so they didn’t block as much light.
The walls that have been put up, she adds, are made with a polycarbonate material that still allows as much light as possible through. Super Studio’s team of designers and artists work in spaces without cubicle walls to preserve a maximum amount of natural light. Blinds were chosen for the windows that are easy to adjust and maintain the light level.
The effect of all this natural light? Production artist Tanner Bjorlie says helps create a good atmosphere to do his work.
“The visual aesthetics and openness help to cultivate an environment of creativity,” Bjorlie says. “It brings life, and that translates into the work that I do. Being able to walk over to a coworker’s desk easily allows us to collaborate more.”
Christy Ladner, a graphic designer who has worked for Super Studio for 18 years, recalls first working in a cubicle at the beginning of her career, says natural light positively affects her mood. She echoes Bjorlie’s observation that an open space helps fuel an atmosphere of collaboration.
“If I’m discussing a project with a coworker in person, I can read their body language,” she says, “it’s a more human connection.”
Other features of the space allow employees to focus on tasks. Custom-built butcher block tables allow ample space for mounting materials or building booklets. The tables are on lockable casters “so if the team gets bored, they can move them around,” Koranda says.
For those times when an open space isn’t ideal—like a meeting or phone call—the new office includes a couple small meeting spaces and a room where employees can have a quiet moment alone. Other design choices, like the polished concrete floors, are intended to be easy to maintain, thus creating an environment where it is easier to work.
Many of the design choices, including colors, are influenced directly by another design element: Super Studio’s geometric fox logo.
So, what’s up with the fox? Koranda says that the fox, like many of the other elements in Super Studio’s design, is influenced by the work they do and the people who do it.
“We have all the characteristics of a fox. We’re flexible, nimble, curious and super fast, and we have a lot of energy.”