641 to 717: Peer Insight’s Journey to a New Home
I could not be more thrilled to say that we’ve finally moved into our new office space! Over the past year, I’ve partnered up with several folks at PI to help bring the vision for our new space to life. We’ve worked with real estate agents, architects, contractors, interior designers, subcontractors, you name it! We are so thankful for all of the people who had a hand in the process and led us to two doors that open up into a one-of-a-kind space, tailored to Peer Insight’s unique needs.
To be radically transparent, the process wasn’t always easy. We rarely get to play the role of the client, and we were doing so in a completely unfamiliar context…just like many of our own clients! I felt the pain of ambiguity, newness, and not knowing exactly what comes next first hand (my journey map looks a bit like an EKG). I’m walking away with a newfound sense of empathy for our clients and a better understanding of the emotional needs we need to serve as we guide clients through new processes and projects.
So you may be wondering, how did a bunch of service designers design a space?
We started with needs finding! That’s right, our methods apply to the construction industry too! After last year’s strategy retreat we agreed that we needed a new office space to accommodate our growth goals, but before we dove into evaluating new spaces, we created a design brief and conducted interviews with everyone at the firm to get a better understanding of their functional and emotional workspace needs.
Functionally, we heard that people needed quiet spaces for quick 1:1 chats, conference calls, or solo work, but also needed larger spaces for team collaboration, sensemaking, and our weekly firm huddle. We also learned that there was a pretty broad spectrum of emotional needs and work styles within the firm. Some folks needed to move around like a nomad throughout the day to keep their energy and focus up. Others needed a permanent place to call their own. We observed ourselves, realizing that we spend a lot of time in our current kitchen area (we love snacks), revealing that a large, central kitchen space would be well utilized. Once we gathered our research, we distilled these needs down into…you guessed it, design criteria!
We used it to evaluate several different spaces around D.C., eventually landing on the 2nd floor of a historic building located in the heart of DC (we needed something that was accessible to all of our end-users). Once we checked the space off the list, we began co-creating with an architect to design the layout. We also leaned on our design criteria as we iterated through lots of blueprints in order to ensure that we didn’t leave any of the needs we uncovered behind.
We prototyped the look of the space by creating moodboards and scouring Pinterest for inspiration examples of the aesthetic we wanted to achieve. Our more-experienced architects and interior designers riffed with us and used those prototypes to create hi-fidelity, 3D concepts for us to review and react to. The decision-making process was iterative in nature, allowing us to inevitably land on a spatial and interior design that was perfectly unique to Peer Insight.
When you walk into 717D I hope it’s clear that it was designed using our own methods, inspired by Tim’s wonderfully, minimal aesthetic, and built for growth.
Want to learn more about our process? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.