Donuts, Inc. was in a conundrum. As a young IT services company in Japan, their business was growing rapidly, as was their headcount; but they were struggling to fit all their employees in their office space. They also needed to think about future growth, too. If they moved offices, how could they create a space that would be flexible enough to change as they did?
They took their problem to interior design studio Flooat, Inc., tasking them with creating a space that evoked the constant development and change they were undergoing. Flooat, Inc. met with them several times a week for four months, in a bid to understand the company, where it saw itself in five to 10 years, and its work style.
The result is a fun, factory-style workplace, with a shipping container that serves as a meeting room, a cafe, a gym and a workspace that feels like a home. The space caters to different styles of work, with standing workstations, private desks and an open area for hackathons.
Donuts, Inc.'s staff was thrilled with the results… and so were the judges of the Herman Miller Liveable Office Award 2015-2016. So much so that Flooat went home with the Commercial Business - Workspace Design Award. They also got the popular vote, too, winning the People's Choice Award.
"We were very honored to have the judges appraise our interior designs and the concepts that drove them, as well as to receive praise for our designs in the context of an actual working environment and thinking about the people who would use our designs. We believe this validates our designs as being more than just cosmetically appealing, but also accommodating to the people who use them," says Yumika Yoshida, Design Director for Flooat.
The design studio came away from the award with USD 5,000 in cash, as well as a trip for four to NeoCon 2016 in Chicago. But that wasn't the end of it: other opportunities soon followed. "Our work for Donuts was featured in FRAME. We have also received inquiries from global companies who saw articles on the awards, and we welcomed a student intern from Taiwan," says Yoshida. In addition, they "received several opportunities to speak at events hosted by Herman Miller, as well as an opportunity to design their showroom."
This showroom for Herman Miller Japan opened recently, encompassing a store and a Living Office showroom in which Herman Miller staff work. It's the perfect way for customers to experience Living Office in action. And Flooat's track record made them the perfect partner to bring Living Office to life in Japan.
"The chance to design a showroom for a brand we were very familiar with provided an enriching and fulfilling experience for us," says Yoshida.
At Herman Miller Japan, there are spaces geared at collaboration, at dealer meets, at quiet work time, casual meetings, formal meetings, seminars and more - all created using Herman Miller's Living Office products and configurations.
This showroom is also where the 2017-2018 Liveable Office Award will come to a head on 22nd March 2018. Herman Miller will host the shortlisted award finalists in Tokyo, with the presentation and judging process happening in the showroom.
This year, there are even more opportunities to get recognised at the Award than ever before, with two new award categories: the Co-working and Collaborative Space Award, and the Best Tech Award. The prizes for these awards are, respectively, USD 4,000 in cash and a trip for two to visit Herman Miller's flagship store in New York, and 10 free one-year subscriptions to Herman Miller Living Office Passport.
The main prize, the Commercial Business - Workspace Design Award, will see winners receive USD 5,000 in cash and a trip for four to Herman Miller's flagship store in New York. Meanwhile the winner of the People's Choice award will be able to optimise their workspace with USD 5,000 worth of Herman Miller furniture.
Want to know what the judges are looking for? Here's some insight: "The ideal Liveable Office not only supports creativity, productivity and social interaction, it's a place where you love spending time," says Professor Cees de Bont, PhD, Dean of School & Swire Chair, Professor of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's School of Design. "Working is about living your passion, and the workspace should empower everyone to be active contributors," says Kartik Shethia, Vice President, Herman Miller Asia Pacific.
Both Shethia and de Bont are members of this year's judging panel, which consists of a carefully chosen selection of industry experts. "It's a rare and great experience to be able to present our work to a panel of professional judges," says Flooat's Yoshida. "We feel that these awards are definitely worth entering, and we intend on taking on the challenge this current season as well."
Enter the Herman Miller Liveable Office Award 2017-2018 now for your chance to gain international recognition. You'll also go in the running to win a variety of exciting prizes. Hurry! Submissions close on 15 February 2018.