Millennials may get the credit, but every generation benefits from the latest trends in office design. And with employers now facing a diverse workforce that includes as many as three very different generations, the need for a flexible and adaptable – and comfortable – work space has never been more apparent.
And for anyone who’s suffered through the various incarnations of the corporate office environment of the past several decades, the change is a breath of fresh air—a concept whose time has come.
“It’s been an evolving idea,” said Stacy Roth, Vice President of Strategy and Engagement, at Scott Rice Office Works. “There’s been a big push toward a softer side. Everything has started to have this layer of personalization—just the comforts of things you’d find at home, as work and home life started to blend.”
Scott Rice has brought that blend to life with SR Collective, an authentic and inspiring workspace thoughtfully curated for emotional connection. As a co-working showroom in the lower level of the Creamery Building in the booming Crossroads area of downtown Kansas City, the space offers meaningful places to work—places that feel good but also perform.
Featuring six office suites, a large co-working area, meeting rooms, common areas, privacy nooks and a shared work cafe, the lower level has been transformed from a simple basement to a true poster child for the latest in flexible office space.
“Most people go to an office, they have a desk, they have a chair, they have a conference table, and they just do it because that’s what they have,” said Scott Heidmann, an interior designer who partnered with Scott Rice to select products and finishes. “They’re not designers so they don’t know about all the other possibilities out there.”
Heidmann said the goal was to bring a touch of the unexpected to an environment that’s often predictable.
“For me, it’s about bringing new ideas to people and helping them experience something different than they’ve ever experienced before,” he said. “How can we inject things that are special and unique?”
With more than 30 years of interior design experience, Scott Rice engaged Heidmann not only for his expertise – especially his work in the hospitality industry – but also his outside perspective.
“We want this space to feel unique and purposeful,” Roth said. “The SR Collective is about creating meaningful places for people to work – places that feel good, but also perform. Thoughtfully curating the space through design, materiality and performance has turned the SR Collective into a destination where people want to work.”
In fact, mood and energy were at the top of the list when the idea for SR Collective was first born in 2016. The company was connecting with local developers and architecture firms to explore new ways to tap into the invigoration that was growing downtown. A meeting with Vince Bryant, founder of 3D Development, led to a collaboration in the Creamery Building. Bryant was just beginning work on the lower level of the building, which is owned and managed by his company.
“Scott Rice’s involvement was instrumental in opening successful office suites and a collective office workspace in the Creamery,” Bryant said. “Their first-class furnishings and creative design help to distinguish this space among the competition and make it an easy sell. Work environment is the key.”
The lower level truly showcases that marriage of history and progress by melding modern touches with exposed concrete and brick, giving the space some characteristic Crossroads charm while also serving as a functional and aesthetically pleasing work environment. Heidmann said one of the exciting challenges of the project was exploring typically commercial products in a residential perspective from the Scott Rice portfolio.
One of his favorite pieces is three glass light fixtures that hang in the co-working space adjacent to a rough, exposed concrete wall.
“The beauty, the light and the glass that’s so refined against something that’s rough and textured—that kind of sums up the aesthetic,” he said. “That dichotomy—they talk to each other to me, and I love that sort of play.”
Of course, beautiful design is nice, but it also has to work, especially for those tenants who interact with the various meeting rooms and lounges each work day. Melea McRae is the founder of Crux KC, a boutique marketing firm that occupies one of the office suites on the lower level. Her team was the first to move into the space and has enjoyed witnessing it all come together.
“The space is beautiful, of course, and we love working within a showroom,” she said. “But the real value has been the flexibility of the various work areas and meeting spaces. As we move from writing to design, collaboration or solo work, we’ve been able to find the best space for the task at hand.”
From the more traditional conference room with table and chairs to the lounge complete with sofa, rocker and oversized lamp, Heidmann said the choices that defined the energy of each space were quite intentional.
“When you have spaces you can move to that provide different moods, ambiance, light levels, styles of furniture—I think that can affect your psyche and can affect your performance and how you work,” he said.
The space is also perfect for those who may only need an occasional place to land. The co-working area not only includes plenty of traditional desks but also private phone booths, cozy oversized lounge chairs and intimate seating areas.
“I think this space speaks a lot to those larger organizations where someone might be asked to work from home but they crave the social experience or the collaborative environment,” Roth said. “This allows them to get out of the office and have a space where they can meet clients, instead of trying to gather at a Starbucks.”
Stacy Rose is the COO of AdamsGabbert, a business outcomes consulting firm headquartered in Corporate Woods, a suburban office park in Overland Park, KS. With so many of their clients downtown, she saw the benefit of having a satellite location in the heart of the city.
“Leasing space in SR Collective is not only convenient for our employees who need to visit clients downtown,” she said, “but it’s an impressive meeting space for when we need to meet with a candidate or prospect. The space just makes us look that much better!”
McRae agreed, adding that the space has created a positive domino effect on Crux’s business development efforts.
“From starting in a home office to graduating to this incredible office, the move to this location certainly helped legitimize my business as a real business,” she said. “Whether we’re hosting client meetings or interviewing candidates, there’s a vibe to this space that immediately impresses. Clients want to come here for meetings, and candidates want to work here. The ripple effect has continued in additional visibility from the traffic within the lower level, and new business opportunities with our office suite mates.”
Of course, Scott Rice recognizes that the majority of individuals who’ll come in contact with the space may not be overtly aware of all of the design components in play, and how each contributes to a work environment that better fits how we work. But that’s not why they create.
“I love when you walk into a place and you feel good, and you’re not sure why you feel so good. It’s that subliminal experience,” Heidmann said. “And when you can be aware that there are different environments that can affect what you need in your work day, that alone is success to me.”