Case Study: A Bold Space for a Bold Company
Space Planning and Design; Delivery and Installation
Kentwood Office Furniture’s prior relationship with 1 Bold Step was the perfect foundation for working together to design the marketing operations agency’s perfect office space. 1 Bold Step envisioned a bold space that captured their team’s needs while expressing the company’s overall mission. We were able to deliver.
1 Bold Step is a marketing operations agency based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They have approximately 12 employees and have been working 100% remotely since January due to COVID-19 and a change in their sublease arrangement. Instead of leasing, the company decided to purchase and renovate a soft industrial/mixed-use space located at 1255 Front Ave NW. It was a bold move for the company and with the help of the city of Grand Rapids’ Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Small Business Administration's 504 loan program, and Consumers Credit Union, 1 Bold Step was able to completely renovate the 3,700 sq. ft. building and move in during the fall.
When working with this agency, we learned that it was imperative for them that they have a space that accommodates their team and the unique ways in which they work. Workspaces are changing across all sectors and this project is a great example of this trend. More and more employers are wanting to create office spaces with a variety of formal and casual seating and set-ups to satisfy their employee’s needs. This typically consists of different zones for employees to work how they are most comfortable and productive.
1 Bold Step was specifically looking for furniture solutions that embodied the company’s brand and style while remaining highly functional for their team. They were interested in bringing together several different elements and designs, including mid-century modern, Scandinavian, and industrial. Their space needed to be cohesive, despite so many different directions, and inspiring to their team.
Within their space, we outfitted desk spaces for individual work, conference rooms of various sizes for different opportunities to collaborate, open space, and a “family” style space for more casual, comfortable working.
“We specifically asked our employees what they wanted to ensure that the office was a place they wanted to work in,” 1 Bold Step CEO and Founder Jennifer Jurgens explained. “We wanted to make sure they were excited to leave their home offices and wanted to come into the new space. We know that we collaborate better in person, but that we could also do our jobs remotely. The office needed to be a place that felt just as good as working from home because I had no intention of mandating onsite work.”
The building was entirely gutted, which made it hard for Jurgens and the team to visualize exactly what they wanted and where, but that is where the Kentwood Office team could step in.
At the start of this project, it became apparent that it would happen in phases, because of the construction and renovation timeline. We also took into consideration 1 Bold Step’s budget. Our goal was to accomplish their vision and check all of the boxes they had outlined while staying within their budget. This means the design team needed to eliminate outliers and create a core focus for the design and the products recommended based on their feedback. To ensure that the 1 Bold Step team wasn’t overwhelmed by all of the decisions that needed to be made, both for furniture and for their construction and renovation work, we streamlined as much of our design process as possible.
There were three main challenges that we would need to overcome to guarantee this project was a success. First, making sure that we worked within 1 Bold Step’s predetermined budget while bringing their vision to life. This meant providing several different options at different price points. When we could, we would pull solutions that provided better value in one specific area so that we could shift the budget to other places. There were even some instances where 1 Bold Step wanted to source furniture items from other places and we made sure to work those pieces into the overall design vision.
The second challenge was finding a happy medium between having traditional cubicle workstation designs and having a less formal design. It was clear based on feedback that the 1 Bold Step team didn’t want an office full of cubicles, but the space needed to be highly functional. We needed to provide creative solutions that still met all of their needs. Our team was able to figure out the maximum amount of workable space in their office and the furniture solutions that fit in perfectly.
The third challenge was working around the construction and renovation schedule. The project manager ensured that the delivery and installation date remained flexible to accommodate whether or not major aspects of the building renovation were completed before installing all of the furniture. This also meant that our design team considered products with lead times that aligned with the construction schedule to ensure that 1 Bold Step would have the furniture they needed to operate. Communication at every step is critical to the success of a project, especially a project with major renovations such as this. When we needed to, we rescheduled the tentative delivery and installation dates and worked with 1 Bold Step as the timeline adjusted.
To gauge the success of a project like this we looked at the transformation as a whole. We had goals in mind, several different design elements on the line, construction timelines to consider, and more. In the end, we were able to deliver a dynamic space for a dynamic team.
“I’m really excited to see people’s reaction to the space at our open house,” Jurgens said. “The handful of people who have walked in are really blown away by it, so I’m looking forward to this grand opening so everyone can see what can be done. When we grow, we’ll certainly need to rethink and reposition things. You can bet that we will be reaching out to Kentwood again.”
Whenever 1 Bold Step is ready to expand or needs a re-design to accommodate their growing team, Kentwood Office Furniture can make it happen.