ASID: The workplace of the Future: Designer Forum - Oct 2017

By Ken Wilson and David Cordell

When the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) was considering the design of its new Washington, D.C. headquarters, it didn’t just want updated offices. The organization wanted to set a new standard by creating the “workplace of the future.” ASID also sought to establish a living laboratory where the most innovative approaches to health, wellness and sustainability could be tested and where its members could come to learn and grow.

To rethink the 21st century office, ASID engaged the interior architecture team at Perkins+Will. Collaboration, flexibility, sustainability and occupant well being drove and shaped the design of the innovative 8,500-square-foot office. As a result, the project is now arguably the world’s healthiest interior space, and the first in the world to achieve a Platinum rating from the International Well Building Institute.

To address the impact of building design and operations on human health and well being, the WELL Building Standard applies seven concepts: air, water, light, nourishment, fitness, comfort and mind. These concepts informed the design of the new ASID headquarters and the innovative systems that would serve health and wellness objectives.

Flooring was among the specified materials that were rigorously evaluated for their health and sustainability attributes to comply with LEED and WELL standards and to match ASID’s own health and sustainability goals. Products with a Declare label or Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) certification make up most of the carpet and other material specifications for the project. And all furniture has a Declare label, C2C certification, Health Product Declaration (HPD) or BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) LEVEL certification.

Textiles throughout the space are made of 100% post-consumer recycled content. The carpet in the open and enclosed office spaces, selected in part because of its PVC-free backing and adhesive-free installation, is C2C Silver certified to support sustainability and well being goals.

Material requirements and protocols for cleaning under the WELL standard also meant that only hard flooring surfaces or removable carpet tiles and rugs could be used, and there could be no permanent wall-to-wall carpeting. Exposed concrete floors in select areas support the ease and sustainability of cleaning and maintenance as well.

The space is illuminated by a circadian lighting system, designed to mimic the daily cycle of natural daylight and maximize the health benefits of exposure to natural lighting. An automated system raises and lowers the window shades in response to the sun and current weather conditions. The system offers a sophisticated lighting strategy that eliminates eye strain and other negative ergonomic impacts from glare.

The Perkins+Will team employed biophilic design strategies to reduce stress and trigger elevated levels of cognitive and emotional performance in occupants. Natural materials, dynamic architectural forms and patterning that suggest natural sequences and spatial configurations evoke feelings of mystery and refuge. All were employed to resonate with occupants on a subconscious level and improve their experience in the space.

Color, forms and pattern intentionally activate the floor rather than creating a neutral palette. Shown by research to reduce stress and enhance concentration, biomorphic forms-shapes and forms that suggest a living organism-appear on the floors in the conference and private huddle rooms.

The vibrant blue of Interface’s Atlantic carpet tile used in the conference room and the pop of magenta with Shaw Contract’s Puzzle carpet tile in the focus rooms both connect to ASID’s brand while also creating a sense of energy in these highly collaborative spaces. The private huddle room offers a softer, more soothing brown palette with Interface’s carpet tile in Driftwood.

The LEED and WELL standards address a growing focus on the link between the acoustic quality of a space and its impact on occupant comfort and productivity. In the design plan, flooring plays an important role in the acoustic performance of the space. For example, carpet, rather than exposed concrete, assists with sound quality where more heads-down focused work or task-focused collaborative efforts occur.

Flooring helps organize the space without relying on walls that would block exterior views and daylight. Transitions in floor materials define different spaces, ranging from highly collaborative teaming environments to more intense, private, heads-down focused environments. The Shaw Contract carpet in the open and enclosed offices unifies the office space and supports a free address work style in which employees select seats each day from a variety of workplace environments that best suit their specific tasks, rather than having assigned seats. Both Analog and Glitch patterns in various colors of Shaw Contract tile were used to offer up a variety of visual textures.

Exposed concrete floors and columns in the entry corridor, the Material Connexion Library, the café and the copy room express the authenticity of building materials and reduce the amount of waste during both construction and future demolition. Because ASID was the first build-out in this space, the slab was in great condition and offered a clean, refined floor finish. Anthropometric figures adorn the entry columns and café floor as a recognizable reference to the study of ergonomics.

Carpet aids in acoustics and introduces color and pattern in support of the biophilic goals. The conference and private huddle rooms boast Interface carpet made from the recycling of salvaged nylon fishing nets. These nets, collected from the beaches of Southeast Asia, are part of a program, called Net-Works, to protect sea life and provide income for islanders.

Every carpet option was meticulously researched and detailed in a design plan that also provides the highest levels of sustainability and wellness evaluations. Primary carpet is PVC-free with a published HPD. It contains 42% pre-consumer content and is MBDC C2C v2 Silver certified, NSF 140 Platinum certified and CRI Green Label Plus certified. Accent carpet is PVC-free and has a published Health Product Declaration and Environmental Product Declaration. It contains 35% post-consumer and 45% pre-consumer recycled content and is CRI Green Label Plus certified. The carpet face is 100% recycled nylon 6 from salvaged fishing nets in Southeast Asia.

The first-ever project to achieve Platinum certification under both LEED and WELL standards, ASID’s headquarters required a solid design foundation and an unwavering commitment to sustainability and wellness factors in every aspect of the space from natural plantings to floor finishes. Regarded as a “living laboratory” for the design community and others, pre- and post-occupancy research is ongoing to record and evaluate both space utilization and employee satisfaction. The Perkins+Will partnership with ASID advances design for enterprises, and their architects and designers, to realize a vision for healthy, sustainable, flexible, cost-effective and aesthetically welcoming office environments of the future.

Copyright 2017 Floor Focus 

Related Topics:Shaw Industries Group, Inc., Interface, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Carpet and Rug Institute