Both interior design and fashion revel in the paradox that while there is much more to the finished product than meets the eye, the primary goal of the product is to delight the eye itself. Dallas architectural firm Corgan’s recent redesign of fashion retailer Neiman Marcus’ Corporate Creative Department homes in on the interplay between work, design, and aesthetics by laying out a collaborative environment whose function is to maximize creative results.
Situated in downtown Dallas, Neiman Marcus’ original multi-floor workspace was not set up for easy communication. Corgan recognized that an uncomfortably wedged “collaboration room” in the old office design prohibited optimized work because social spaces impeded on the workspace. As Corgan principal Lindsay Wilson explained, “People who were on break felt like they were working. People working felt like they were interrupting others.”
Wilson’s team rationalized the layout by bringing all the office space onto the same floor and removing the collaboration room from the center of the plan. The architects incorporated collaborative design strategies into the office as a whole and placed the dedicated social spaces at opposite ends of the floor plate. One such space, The Studio—an elongated room with bench seating, slanted ceilings, and ample sunlight—became the new main collaborative area. Forbo bulletin boards in this room allow employees to pin up images as a way of sharing ideas.
The reception area is the second social space. This room is outfitted with a custom-made Kyle Bunting hide rug and a three-armed Serge Moille lamp. The lamp is a statement piece and an example of the collaboration between Corgan and Neiman Marcus. “It was brought to us by the creative director at the time,” said Wilson. “And we loved it. They loved it.”
In addition to welcoming visitors, the reception area functions as a showcase for The Book: Neiman Marcus’ brand-defining catalogue-cum-fashion magazine, which comes out 8-10 times a year. To communicate its importance, the architects, with the help of a graphic designer who had worked for both Corgan and Neiman Marcus, designed a glass wall mural embedded with fashion images from The Book’s iconic issues.
Custom hide rug
Linear recessed feature light
Mark Architectural Lighting
The office space itself is subdivided by 49-inch-tall cubicle partitions that give employees full privacy while sitting, and, upon standing, privilege them with access to views of the outdoors and their fellow coworkers. Knoll furniture is used throughout the space, in conjunction with budget conscious finish selections, such as neutral finish carpeting and paint, exposed existing concrete, and plastic laminate cabinets. These accents all provide a backdrop that allows Neiman Marcus’ product overlay to take center stage.
The improved design created a more sympathetic arrangement of functions in the 27,420-square-foot space, providing the four different departments of the Neiman Marcus creative division with optimal collaborative conditions.
Corgan won the job over nine other architecture firms, and will continue to work with Neiman Marcus on other office spaces in downtown Dallas. As Corgan project manager Jill Ibison Vessels said, “The great thing about working with creative people is that they know how to express what they want. They can articulate how they want a space to feel.”