May 24, 2013

Workplace Strategy in Design: IA Interior Architects

Ten years ago IA Interior Architects was doing workplace strategy for Fortune 500 companies and major corporate clients like Chevron to help evaluate real estate, says principal Nancy McEvers Anderson. “Smaller companies maybe did not have the money. Now, with all the technology changes that happen—what, every two weeks?—it’s so much more a part of everyone’s business model,” she says. 

Like her peers, McEvers Anderson says it’s not only about using space wisely but also using that space to attract the brightest and best employees. “They appear at work in tank tops and bare feet, with their dogs. It’s a whole game changer.”

IA works with clients who request things like showers and sleeping rooms and indoor bike parking. “They want people to practically live there, to be almost residential,” McEvers Anderson explains.

But not even the likes of Twitter can afford everything they want. The company “settled” for an outstanding café, an outdoor deck, and room to grow for their not-quite year-old San Francisco HQ.

That said, the best views are no long a priority, says Anderson. Strategy can mean helping a young company create a grown-up feeling, without sacrificing individuality and brand.

“Designers have to look far and wide to find products that meet the vibe and uniqueness [companies] are looking for,” she says, naming BuzziSpace, Sidewise (workstations), and Rise (bleacher-like seating). “It’s not just contract solutions anymore.”

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