By Melanie Corey-Ferrini

After conducting workshops on how to plan collaborative spaces—as well as creating many collaborative retail and dining spaces for our clients—I thought it would be a good exercise to break down our own transition, from our former Dynamik Studio to the shared community we are a part of now.

Six months ago, I took a look at the team and how we gather, meet, eat, work, play, and create. Our model is atypical of other design and consulting firms. We have our own core design team, but we also bring in many collaborative partners. And I have a social venture company—Beam Experiences—which shared the Dynamik Studio as well.

We had challenges. The new space had to handle a wide variety of activities. There were internal meetings to charrette high level design ideas, or brainstorm new concepts with emerging trend data. We needed open areas to create and map out our designs. On weekends, Beam Experiences had Lego and Robotics classes where kids of all ages tinkered with robot projects, stop motion animation clips, and other creative activities. And there were also quarterly parties and wine tastings to host.

More than anything, the space had to be flexible. It had to expand and collapse quickly. And it had to be genuinely fun (and, of course, “dynamic!”) for everyone.

I was honestly not sure we could find a good solution. We have heavy storage requirements with project materials; we need areas for meetings, laying out trace paper, and sketching ideas…and we need to have a place for the robots to live, of course. 😊

We ultimately decided on Atlas Workbase as our new home. The following is a 6-month snapshot of how we got there:

6 months ago –

Asked all staff to jot down notes and really observe how they work…when they need closed quiet spaces and when they do not. What their project and client file storage needs are—type, size, secure, etc. What types of furniture, space dividers, and so on, they might require. And, when they are on break or have clients in our studio, how they collaborate, create, and have fun.

5 months ago –

Started working with Atlas Workbase team on a plan specific to our needs. The Dynamik area would live within a larger shared space, sort of a “space within a space.” What did that look like? How much square footage of private space vs. common area work/meeting space would we need? How do we take into account storage and processes? And how do we manage cost?

4 months ago-

Began to determine what we would keep or sell/give away. Reconnected with Dynamik Team to figure out how to plan for the move, and decide new Atlas space requirements.

3 months ago –

Designers were in denial about the move (understandable, given the level of change), but they understood 3 months only seems like a long time—it goes fast, and they needed to embrace a new shared way of working—a way that, in the end, would give them more freedom and empower them to pick whatever type of space they needed on any given day.

2 months ago –

Atlas team came back to us with ideas about both private and open workspace areas. They had solutions for whatever our team might do—work independently or as a team, have client meetings both in person and over the phone, etc. Atlas and Dynamik start to become aligned.

1 month ago –

Had an awesome office sale—sold or gave away material from 18 years spent in our previous space. We also created an offsite “library studio” with a fantastic batch of materials, artifacts, and inspiration about 3 blocks away, which we can share with clients on projects. Atlas indicated they may have a separate area for these materials in the future, but for now the Dynamik Team has a nearby excuse for a wellness walk. J

2 Weeks After Move-in and Now –

We are settling in quite nicely. The first week was a little bumpy with the move and creating our new processes (which we had already tested at the previous space) at Atlas Workbase. Atlas has lockers similar to what were our “file cabinets,” which work well for locking up secure and confidential items.  The shared workspace has been a great way for all of the Dynamik Designers to have a choice with the way they want to work for the day. And the new space also allows me to add more Dynamik team members, who often worked offsite previously, [MC3] to work together in the same space as needed.

In the Future

We would like to use the space for our quarterly wine gatherings and invite not only clients, but also our shared workspace community. There are construction contractors, tech start-ups, website businesses, health NGOs, and other diverse companies to share ideas with and create the next big thing!

On weekends, Beam Experiences—our social STEM venture—will start to offer our LEGO and Robotics workshops to the public , at the adjacent Konvene café.

I look forward to continuing to create new experiences with our team at Atlas and continuing to observe, study, and enjoy the ways we all work, play, gather, dine, and live together.

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