London studio Sella has created office interiors for tech company Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners in Dumbo, New York City, with a focus on flexible and collaborative space to entice employees back to the workplace.
The 3,000-square-foot (280-square-metre) office has a prime waterfront location at 10 Jay Street, inside a former sugar refinery overhauled by ODA Architecture in 2019.
Designed during the coronavirus pandemic, the workspaces for Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners are open and flexible — more akin to a members club than a traditional office.
“Sella sensitively evolved the design to create the first-generation post-pandemic office space, championing the merge of the workspace and membership culture within private office environments,” said the studio.
Travel restrictions also meant that Sella had to execute the project from the UK, in collaboration with the New York office of architecture firm Gensler.
Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners is a startup backed by Google’s parent company Alphabet, and a spin-off of smart cities initiative Sidewalk Labs.
At its offices, the building’s industrial heritage is celebrated through exposed brick columns and poured concrete floors.
A large area in the centre of the plan, for both employees and guests to congregate, is arranged around a tree.
Custom banquettes, upholstered in fabrics by Dedar and Maharam, offer casual seating against the wall and beside the greenery. Opposite, the kitchen area is set against a gently arced partition between two brick columns.
The curve is continued in the shape of walnut-fronted cabinets and a white, oval island that reaches bar height. Beer and kombucha taps and other hardware are plumbed directly into the wall for a clean, minimalist finish.
Another new textured-plaster wall curves behind the kitchenette, leading employees to the more private work areas.
“These casual break-out spaces linking with the more private, formal moments within the office were sensitively considered by Sella to push the brief of an office based on connection, born out of the pandemic,” said Sella.
Meeting rooms are positioned along the glazed facade, overlooking the East River.
An engineered bronze conference table with a leather-like top can be rolled along a track in the concrete floor, to facilitate larger board meetings when needed.
Warm neutral colours in all of the spaces are complemented by lighting from American brand Allied Maker, while quirky details include cabinet handles by UK-based Swarf Hardware.
“With the ease of working from home, an office now needs to work harder to entice employees to connect with each other and with clients – thereby Sella’s design aims to incentivise behaviour with connectivity at its heart,” the studio said.
Sella was founded by Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan, and works across interiors, furniture, branding and set design.
Interchangeably known as Sella Concept, the studio has also completed the London headquarters for fashion brand Sister Jane, a co-working space in the UK capital and a collection of curvaceous furniture.
The photography is by Sean Davidson.
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