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Posted: April 01, 2014

CBCA: Workspace Award finalists

Winner: Gates Family Foundation

Gigi Sukin

One’s physical environment — the architecture, design, space planning, décor and decorative elements of a workplace — has the potential to dramatically influence the individual team members and business itself, particularly when that space is where people spend the bulk of their waking, workweek hours. The Workspace Award acknowledges an exceptional designed work environment that advances business objectives. Watch a video about the winner and finalists.

Gates Family Foundation

Since its establishment in 1946, the Gates Family Foundation has made more then $232 million in philanthropic and financial investments statewide, in its attempt to contribute to a high quality of life. Inside the confines of the Foundation’s headquarters as of 2012, the organization strives to further solidify its commitment to the Centennial State.

“In the context of our new office, our goal was to feature Colorado artists with themes that have some connection with our broader areas of investment: natural resources, education, better models of urban and community development, etc…” said Thomas A. Gougeon, President of the Foundation. “We wanted to celebrate and provide visibility for the work of Colorado artists.”

Renovating the downtown Denver Hover Building allowed the Gates Family to create a space that maintained history, while adding a modern and sustainable. The interior includes tables and benches made from a beetle kill pine, which fell on the family’s property and was subsequently woodworked by local craftsmen. Moreover NINE dot ARTS filled the space with unique local works intended to engage employees and visitors with the Foundation’s history and ethos, including Colorado’s Native American heritage, Western roots and sustainable landscapes.

“Our office is a fairly public environment … through our grant making activity, we contribute to the viability and continued growth and evolution of the arts and culture organizations we support,” Gougeon said.

 

GroundFloor Media

Before GroundFloor Media’s office was Workspace Award- worthy, the site was a Lower Downtown Denver bath and tile showroom, complete with varied swatches of flooring blanketing the ground and plumbing options galore. Fast-forward to 2007, GF’s founder Laura Love opted to complete have her team complete the general contracting and the space was revamped with reclaimed materials and an open, collaborative style in mind.

“Our goal was and continues to be to make the office feel like home,” Love said. “We believe there’s no such thing as a balanced life, but rather a blended life, from work to home, and home to work,”

To celebrate the team’s assorted characters, employees receive stipends to decorate in their half-wall offices in any fashion they see fit — thus the vintage ski posters, animal-print beanbags and hand-painted quotes that line the walls. The workspace also includes a fitness room, Apple TV, laptop station and playroom.

In 2013, public relations and marketing firm GroundFloor Media was recognized as No. 1 out of 100 Best Places to Work by national publication, Outside magazine.

“People are our assets,” Love said. “Our attrition rate is about 2 percent, and in our industry it typically hovers around 30 percent. The whole idea here is to create a culture where you want to come to work … The physical environment is just as important as our benefits. An essential thing that people forget is that every business, regardless of industry, is better off because they’ve been inspired by creativity. The people inside that bring that creative spirit have the ability to set your business apart from the others in your category.”

 

McGeady Sisneros PC

Inspired by the structured beauty of Japanese barns and industrial warehouses, the all-woman law firm McGeady Sisneros partnered with BurkettDesign and Colorado artist Emilio Lobato to design their rich, detailed workspace that reflects the firm’s emphasis on teamwork, interactivity and tranquility.

“We started off with a blank slate when we moved in 2007,” said founding member of the firm MaryAnn McGeady. “We wanted to create an environment that was welcoming and inviting, yet challenging and energizing.”

Rather than stick to traditional paradigms and place partners and executives in corner offices, the firm opted to utilize the floor to ceiling glass corner spaces with “dramatic views,” as communal space.

“We hope to achieve long-term relationships with employees,” McGeady said.

The office has been featured in Architecture & Design of the West as well as On Site magazine. A secluded yoga room serves as a retreat for employees to enjoy group classes.

In terms of contributions and collaborations with the creative community in Colorado, McGeady said that since the firm was organized in 1988, she and her team have had the opportunity to acquire a varied collection of original art.

“Clients ask all the time, ‘where di you get that piece; what galleries do you like?’ It gets people excited and interested Its one thing to go to a museum, but that doesn’t always feel accessible. In a space like ours, I can see how that fits in my life,” McGeady said.

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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