October 21, 2020
By late October, the Bonton Associates team will be settled into our new office at 232 North 3rd Street in Downtown Baton Rouge. We are excited about the possibilities this new space will create for us to do our best work in a fun, safe and collaborative environment. If you have ever designed a new office, you know what a huge undertaking it is. Thankfully, the hard part is all behind us, and we believe every moment of collective thought and effort will be more than worth it.
Necessity Provides Opportunity
Why move now? The most logical reason is that we’ve rapidly outgrown our existing space. With a healthy stream of new business and new team members within the last six months, the Bonton team needed a larger office, but it couldn’t be just a square footage upgrade. Since the pandemic began, we’ve also experimented with remote working and how it might play into our post-pandemic operations. Planning for this move challenged us to think long-term about the kind of environment we truly need to do our best work. And we were committed to moving through the process with the same care and consideration we put into our client projects.
Worktime Isn’t Always Screen Time
We work hard, often in front of a monitor, but that’s not all we do. So, instead of a utilitarian office filled with places to sit and plug a computer, we wanted to create a space that supports not only deep focus, but also creativity and energy. To accomplish this, we looked to design studios for inspiration — fluid, flexible places that stand in stark contrast to the “cubicle city”. This approach leans into the fact that, at any given time, we may need to perform as individuals, come together in group working sessions, or interact casually and comfortably.
It’s About Collaboration with Separation
In recent years, the once-hot “open office” concept has cooled off after studies showing reduced employee privacy, productivity and satisfaction. Our idea — conceived together with our architectural partners, DNA Workshop — was to start with traditional anchor desks and offices, then inject a healthy dose of what’s attractive about the open design studio: freedom of movement and easy collaboration. Fortunately, our “blank slate” gave us many opportunities to create both collaboration and separation. Our coffee bar-style kitchen is perfect for plotting one’s day among colleagues. Our two “war rooms” are like mini conference rooms that provide staff with plenty of privacy to focus and go deep. We also incorporated an open collaboration area with large whiteboard access for team-wide idea sharing. Finally, several “lounge spaces” throughout the mezzanine and patio areas are perfect for a personal recharge.
Built for Us — and for Everyone!
When it came time for furniture, fixtures and finishes, we worked closely with our design partners to create a sensory environment where our team could truly thrive. For us, that meant lots of bright lighting, clean whites with pops of color, clear branding, and modern/industrial touches balanced with organic elements — a visual expression of our professional yet personable culture. Because our conversations and connections with those outside the firm are very important to us, we were very conscious of the way clients, colleagues and community members would feel inside the new space. And we also know that our office is a powerful recruiting tool for progressive young engineers, so it must deliver the right first impression. We believe it does!
To learn more and see the new Bonton Associates office, follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@BontonLLC) or get in touch to schedule a visit. If your nonprofit or community organization is looking for a fantastic downtown meeting space, please let us know!