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2019 Commercial Design Awards: You've got personality!

Winning commercial building designs reflect the personality of their tenants.

(page 3 of 12)


Best Renovation–Office

When your brand is forward-looking and employee-centric, an undersized office won’t do. Such was the situation that Zendesk Inc., a software company headquartered in San Francisco, found itself in with its first Madison office.

The company offers a suite of CRM products to more than 119,000 customers in 150 countries, and the Madison office is its second-largest U.S. location. Zendesk moved to Madison in 2013 and started here with only five employees, but by 2018 it had grown to nearly 300 local workers and simply outgrew the space. With plans to expand by more than 100 employees, it was clearly time to elevate the office environment to support expansion.

The solution was a 55,000-square-foot, multifloor renovation of the Urban Land Interests building at 25 W. Main St. The goal was to create a work environment that would allow employees to feel comfortable, stimulate creativity, and foster innovation, and our CDA judges were taken with an industrial-chic environment of neutral finishes, contrasting materials, and branded applications.

An open floor plan was designed to optimize views of the Capitol Square, downtown Madison, and local lakes. It’s a blend of closed meeting spaces, open collaborative areas and enclaves, and public and private work spaces, all strategically placed to encourage collaboration or offer retreat.

However, it was the overall design — materials and finishes, orientation of views — that impressed the judges. “This project expresses the personality of the type of people who would likely be working here,” one judge notes. “It talks about collaboration, and it talks about individual focus. It’s a great example of where workspace appears to be going.”

“What really jumped out was the clean, restrained palette of everything,” another judge observed. “Just a couple of materials between the light wood and the sort of off-white and white just makes an interesting, cohesive atmosphere.

“I liked the long, leather banquette that’s along the edge. That was an intuitive move that works.”

Project credits

Location: 25 W. Main St., Madison, WI 53703
Owner-Developer/Owner’s Representative: Urban Land Interests/Smocke & Associates Inc.
General Contractor/Construction Firm: Vogel Bros. Building Co.
Architect/Interior Design Architect: M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates
Engineer: Affiliated Engineers Inc.
Photography: Mike Schwartz
Completion Date: September 2018


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