Unless you work at a Dani Arps-designed startup, your office's conference room can probably be summed up in one word: tragic. Fluorescent lighting, industrial-grade wall-to-wall carpeting that's about as cushy as felt, all-purpose furniture that has about as much personality as Bill Lumbergh in Office Space. It's practical, and it gets the job done, but you don't actually look forward to spending time there.
That was the case at the HearstMade offices, where a hodgepodge of castoff furniture from photo and video shoots gave the company's meeting area character...just not necessarily the kind of character they wanted. The brand's known for collaborating with companies on creative videos and stories, and they needed a place that was equally inspiring—and wouldn't be an eyesore if said companies paid them a visit. That's where Industry West came in. The furniture brand's known for designing industrial and mid-century modern pieces that can work with just about any style—including capital-c Corporate spaces.
As it turns out, taking a room from "eh, it'll do" to "you work here?!" all comes down to a three key considerations.
Understand How You Work.
Long, narrow conference rooms are commonplace, but that doesn't always reflect how people use the space. Because the HearstMade team holds one-on-ones and full team meetings in the same area, it made sense to divide the room into two sections: a cozy quartet of armchairs surrounding a coffee table for casual meetings, and a larger, more formal seating area for presentations. Breaking things up made the room seem less narrow and made better use of the available square footage.
Go Beyond Conventional Office Furniture.
Instead of searching for traditional conference room tables (why are they all the pallid color of zombie flesh, BTW?!), the team chose a light oak dining table. It warms up the industrial carpet, making the space feel more inviting.
SHOP NOW Madewell Leather Chairs and Bok Dining Table, Industry West
For contrast, CQ Style Director Robert Rufino recommended clean-lined black chairs. The Madewell Leather Chairs pop against the pale wood table, and they're just cushy enough that you won't be fidgeting in your seat 10 minutes into a meeting.
Play Up the Room's Focal Point.
HearstMade's offices are in the Norman Foster-designed Hearst Tower in New York City, overlooking Central Park. When you have floor-to-ceiling views like that, you have to take advantage of it.
SHOP NOW Circa Lounge Chair, Industry West
Before, the stark white, ultra-modern furniture was so jarring it competed with the view. The new pieces complement the existing color palette of the space—the same could be said for the lines of the furniture and the geometric architecture of the building—creating a more cohesive, elevated space.
Now, the only struggle will be getting people to leave once their meeting's over.
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