Nbj Architecture began in 2000 and had its first office in downtown Richmond. In 2004 we moved to our current office at Nuckols road on Glen Allen. Initially it felt like a crazy idea to move away from downtown which is the most natural choice for a fresh business. But since nbj set its base in the West End we have been expanding as an office and as a business at a rapid pace.
Over the years small renovations to accommodate the expanding team have been a continuous process. Libraries were getting overcrowded and desk space cramped. Nbj shares its building with Cultural Learning Center owned by Neil’s wife Mina Bhatt. With new spaces being carved out of niches as we expanded in number, the office had slowly developed into labyrinth. Neil finally decided to put pen to paper and renovate nbj Architecture and the hammer began work soon.
They say too many cooks spoil the broth, so imagine what happens when too many architects get to design their own work space. But under our current work load, the team was more than happy to let the baton fall on our interior design expert Cassidy Droski.
We sat down with Cassidy to get some insight into her thought process for the design:
I wanted to enhance and maximize the efficiency of the space we already had. We had reached capacity and had no desk space available for new employees. With a new workstation layout, we were able to achieve two additional workstations for future expansion as well as create hierarchal workstations that provided additional space and storage to our most senior members.
Another major issue, prior to renovation, was the state of our kitchen. Previous expansion efforts had opened the kitchen up to an adjacent space leaving nowhere for the refrigerator to live except floating in the middle of our studio space. By bumping the kitchen wall back into our print room, we not only were able to allocate space within the kitchen for the refrigerator, but we were also able to provide seating within the kitchen for employees. To make up for the lost space in the print room, we design a customized counter and storage wall to support all of our printing needs, digitized our product library, and created a central island for layout space and storage.
By far the biggest layout change was the relocation of our conference room from its previous location in the Cultural Learning Center create a feature adjacent to our studio space. With just moving ONE wall we were able to create a logical flow through throughout the office with two dedicated studio spaces.
The new color pallet took strong inspiration from our logo. Lime Green and our trademark curved blue wall will still greet you when you enter the office but as you head into the studio, you will find crisp whites contrasting an almost black wall anchoring the center of the studio. Since replacing the blue kitchen cabinets was beyond the scope of work, I employed a pale blue on the wet walls in the kitchen and in the flooring to modernize creative a bright sophisticated space. Modern white and maple systems furniture with pops of green finish off the space.
The biggest challenge this renovation faced was having work done without disturbing daily work in the office. But articulate planning and a big thanks to our amazing contractors at RGI Construction who made this possible with minimal interference to the firms’ daily commitments to our clients.
Recent studies show the space around you affects an employees working ability. The modern trend in office space design is more inclined to free flowing spaces with bright colors and more of a casual environment compared to the prototypical tall closed cubicles under fluorescent lights.