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The How To Issue

How to Design an Office: Denise Cherry

How to Design an Office: Denise Cherry

Photograph by Jasper Sanidad for Bloomberg Businessweek

Offices are undergoing a dramatic shift. For the longest time you worked for the window line. If you were lucky you could see a beam of light from your cube and you worked your way toward a window. In the past 15 years light has become democratic, and the corner office has given way to communal zones for different tasks. I see the titanic desks less and less, especially in tech. Most executives we deal with want to sit with their people. Mark Zuckerberg sits at a desk without an office at all. It makes the space more flexible. If your executive is away two weeks out of each month, you can use that space as a conference room. Don’t go into an office furniture showroom and buy everything; you don’t want your office to look like the Steelcase (SCS) showroom. Mix it up with residential furniture, vintage pieces, and quirky items. Surround your workstation with things you love. People spend much more of their day in their office than they do at home. It should be a place that you want to come to and that inspires you.

The Raw Space

The project director’s office at Studio O+A hasn’t been painted in five years. He’s drowning in paper. People accumulate a hodgepodge of things instead of thinking about an aesthetic. Our team reimagined his office two ways.

For the Industrialist

This is a desk for one-on-one meetings. The ’60s leather captain’s chair is much more commanding than a newer task chair. The tufted leather armchair is beautiful but it doesn’t invite guests to lounge there. The formality of the hunter green walls is leavened by the papier-mâche hunting trophies.

For the Creative

A flexible space for solo work or meetings. The table can seat up to six people and it’s centered in the room. Knoll’s Generation chair is designed so you can sit in any position, perfect for a restless Generation Y type. Credenza provides storage for confidential files and doubles as a bar. And every creative office needs a bar.

Cherry is director of design at Studio O+A, a firm that has designed offices for Facebook, AOL, and Levi's, among others.

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