Via Design was hired by Lighthouse Group to design an open office layout for their headquarters’ new location in downtown Grand Rapids. The space became the beacon of the statewide insurance company, tying in Lighthouse symbolism, and creating a fresh, modern workspace.
Interior designer, Emily Vanderlaan and architectural designer, Nathan Funk led the overhaul of the 30,000 sq. ft. space. Substantial changes to the two floors were necessary in order to achieve the new office culture Lighthouse desired.
The two separate levels of the building were unified by cutting an opening in the floor to create a new "feature" staircase, which would act as the visual connector. This new circulation path enabled the two floors to feel like one office, atmospherically joining them. Several of the existing interior walls on each floor were removed, and several walls were replaced with glass partitions and glass sliding doors, allowing the entire office to enjoy the natural light and views of downtown Grand Rapids.
“We know the building well,” says Nathan. Located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Beene Garter building, the space is connected to Via Design’s office and home to another renovation project that Via completed, the Beene Garter offices. “We knew we could highlight the beauty of the existing building features and provide Lighthouse a modern design that achieved their operational and cultural needs.”
A thorough programming exercise with the Lighthouse staff helped the Via team uncover the company's needs early in the design process so that creative solutions could be presented prior to demolition and initial design studies.
For many of Via’s commercial projects, the modern workspace involves utilizing technology to create a space that fosters creativity and collaboration. Emily presented the latest office furniture and product innovations by hosting the Lighthouse group at the NeoCon 2018 show. The team needed to coordinate workstations for each of the approximately 110 relocated employees. Via partnered with Marx Moda (now Trellis) for the workstations, ancillary furniture, and also with CLEO, for the cabinetry furniture.
“They wanted a space where departments would cross paths, instead of being closed off from one another,” explains Emily. Touchdown spaces and privacy enclaves were installed, but open workstations occupy the majority of the space.
“Since moving into the space they’ve already had success with branches of their office collaborating in new ways,” continues Emily. “Their new home has created space for expected, and unexpected collaboration.”