As employers seek to balance the needs of a hybrid workforce and attract new employees, they are finding they need to create dynamic workspaces that engage workers and offer creature comforts as well. Business NH Magazine put out a call for businesses, architects, construction companies and design firms to submit their awesome interiors. Here are some of the spaces NH companies have created to engage employees, customers and visitors.
The Manchester headquarters for this venture capital investing firm was constructed during COVID with employees moving in at the end of 2021. The firm has the top floor of one of Manchester’s restored mills and boasts river views, 22-foot-tall ceilings with ceiling-high chalkboards to amplify the company’s mission and values, plus large spaces that can host the full 150-person nationwide team from Alumni Venture's six offices for occasional all-hands meetings. There is even a library, complete with a record player, where staff can bring their favorite vinyl record to be mounted on the wall. It was designed with support from Dyer Brown & Associates in Boston; Brady Sullivan in Manchester; JLL in Boston; and Alumni Ventures staff.
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
The chamber, with interior design by Stibler Associates in Bedford and construction by Sullivan Construction in Bedford, wanted to create a collaborative hub for the community and its members. It includes a variety of colorful furniture arranged in different seating plans in an open space with a fun mural of the city as backdrop. This leads into a sleek kitchenette also designed for gatherings and then a large conference room.
WIN Waste Innovations
When Wheelabrator Technologies in Portsmouth rebranded as WIN Waste Innovations, it turned to Stibler Associates in Bedford to create a new office space. The new headquarters, built by Aberthaw Construction Company in Massachusetts, is the first cross laminated timber commercial office building using timber-frame construction in NH. Stibler created a design that juxtaposes the strong branded color palette, industrial elements, such as glass walls, concrete floors and exposed infrastructure, with softer elements like wood trellises, the building frame itself, and creative biophilic elements. To enhance access to natural light for all occupants, Stibler worked closely with WIN Waste to create a space plan with few enclosed spaces along the exterior perimeter. Interior offices and meeting spaces use full height glass to ensure that natural light reaches as many team members as possible. Biophilic details, including plants and moss walls, help bring the outside indoors. The break area features 15-foot high windows on two sides, a platform with pergola and furnishings that work together to evoke an outdoor cafe.
Founded in 1991, MoCo Arts in Keene is the Monadnock region’s largest arts education nonprofit. MoCo Arts’ 2018 move to Roxbury Street dramatically changed this section of the city. Where an eyesore once stood, MoCo created a modern, 17,000-square-foot, two-story, energy efficient and environmentally friendly multipurpose arts center. Keene-based kcs Architects’ design includes a striking lobby inspired by architect Katie Sutherland’s fellowship in Osaka, three light-filled full-size studios with special dance floors, and an accessible black box theater with seating for up to 200 people.
273 Corporate Drive
JSA Design and The Kane Company partnered on refreshing the interiors of this 100,650-square-foot office building located at the Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth. An open-concept community room is located in the center of the building. Comfortable and inviting, it features soft seating clustered together for conversation, as well as upholstered booths for a single worker on a laptop or two colleagues chatting. A high-top bar and kitchen area encourages gathering around a meal or snack. Adding to the room’s warmth are wood flooring, plants and a colorful abstract mural on the back wall. Other building amenities include a 1,500-square-foot fitness room with large windows letting in natural light.
GoodWork, a nonprofit incubator in Portsmouth, is located in the historic Carey Cottage at Creek Farm. Built between 1887-1892 as a summer home for Portsmouth philanthropist Arthur Astor Carey, it was slated for demolition in 2019. A community campaign saved the structure, among the few remaining Arts & Crafts style “summer cottages” on the NH Seacoast. Begun in 2020, Carey Cottage’s design and reconstruction, led by JSA Design and Chinburg Properties, focused on shoring up its structural integrity, tightening the building envelope, creating environmental sustainability, accessibility and fire protection. The biggest challenge was the music room, an ornate, Tudor-style room filled with unique, hand-carved, linen-fold paneling. Above the fireplace is a replica of a painting, “Three Archangels with Young Tobias,” by Filippino Lippi, an Italian Renaissance painter, dated 1485; the replica was restored by an art conservator. The space is now a conference room that keeps the historic architecture but with modern furniture and amenities.