Mobe is an organization that works with chronically ailing individuals, guiding them to realize how the connective aspects of their life can lead to wholistic existence of health and well-being. This notion of connectivity became the driving force for the design. As most humans spend about 90% of their lives indoors, and a good majority of that time at work, one aspect that became important was a connection to nature. The project is situated on part of the fourth floor of an eight-story office building. The plan offers views of a park and downtown Minneapolis to the east, and a wooded neighborhood to west. No offices were placed on these exterior walls. Instead, a variety of seating options allows employees equal opportunity to step away from their desk to gain access of daylight and prospect.
Other aspects of biophilia were incorporated into the design including natural materials and colors, wayfinding, and naturalistic references and shapes. A clean, simple palette was used to create a calm, and enlightening space. Walls and ceiling were painted white to bounce light throughout the space. Solid program elements such as conference rooms, kitchenette, storage and privacy rooms were collected at the inner portions of the space, while workstations were arranged closest to the windows for maximum amount of daylight.
Previously, when the company grew they leased out more space, either on different floors, or even in different buildings. This new office would be an opportunity to bring every department together in the same space. The managers felt strongly that each of them would receive the same sized office, with no privileged location. The layout places their largest department, the “specialists,” towards the top end of the “L” configuration. This department connects directly with their clients, through phone conversations, guiding them through their wellness plans.
As the specialists are more physically separated from the main space it was imperative from a design perspective to make them feel connected with the whole. A wood wall winds its way through the different departments, conceptual connecting all employees, while providing visual continuity and an anchor to the space. This “connective ribbon” of red oak has a vertical rib pattern with a visual and tactile texture. Rounded corners, and a wood screen further enhance a calming feeling, while contrasting with to the exposed ductwork and waffle slab above. This natural element is thus another connective strategy to the outdoors. As Mobe is about wholistic healing, aspects of Biophilia, and the healing powers of nature, became a strong genesis and guide throughout the creation of this project