The new hybrid workplace design for Morning Consult in Washington, D.C. employs hospitality to prioritize accessibility, intuitive technology, convenience, and comfort. Photo: Garrett Rowland.
A group of people sitting in a room with a large screen.

There’s No Place Like the Office: Infusing Hospitality Design Into the Workplace

Editor's note: this podcast episode originally appeared on the Gensler Design Exchange podcast.

The office has always been at the heart of the workplace ecosystem, but it has been forever changed by Covid-19. After more than two years of working remotely and in hybrid settings, the million-dollar question for business leaders and designers is: what does the future of the physical office look like?

In this episode of Gensler Design Exchange, Bob Pinkard, founder and principal of The Pinkard Group, and Liz Stern, managing partner of the Mayer Brown Washington, D.C. office, join Gensler Design Director Mariela Buendia-Corrochano to discuss how their respective projects incorporate hospitality design to inspire and motivate their employees — and to turn offices into a destination, rather than an obligation.

A group of people smiling.
(L-R): Mariela Buendia-Corrochano, Bob Pinkard, and Elizabeth Espín Stern.

Liz shares how a hospitality approach was used in the redesign of the downtown D.C. office of global law firm Mayer Brown. In collaborating on the redesign, Mayer Brown and Gensler defined the project’s design principle as “a place where you want to be,” and set out to infuse the space with a dramatic hospitality ambiance. The team paid special attention to the project’s everyday experience, embedded technology, and climate resilience properties.

“We know that we must compete for our talent to keep them, to engage them, and to motivate them. And the office being just a place where you do your work isn’t enough. It has to send a statement that we value you, and we want to connect with you.”
—Liz Stern, managing partner of Mayer Brown’s Washington, D.C. office
The interior of a law firm workplace.
Space as a study of modern, living art with a sophisticated progression was a universal theme in working on Mayer Brown’s downtown D.C. office renovation.

Bob discusses his perspective on deciding to invest in hospitality design in the repositioning of 4300 Wilson, a reimagined Class A office building in the bustling Ballston neighborhood of Virginia. The Gensler team renovated the lobby, incorporating hospitality-inspired design elements, and added a conference room space, fitness center, and other amenities to create a unique workplace experience, enticing both visitors and tenants.

“Let’s face it, 15 years ago the office building was a box — a work factory. And when you move from that kind of feel to something that is curated and collaborative with a hospitality feel, it’s a big change for everyone… my advice to others would be to take some risks and go for it, because you will differentiate yourself.”
—Bob Pinkard, founder of The Pinkard Group
People gather inside an office building lobby.
A semi-organic, sculptural feature overhead in the lobby of 4300 Wilson invites visitors into the space through the entryway and extends inside, touching down within the reception area as a bench for guests. Photo: James John Jetel.

Tune in to hear the full conversation.

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