Too often, there is a perception that office workers have one of two choices: working in a small, cramped office filled with cubicles or in the spacious, collaborative offices found at Google, Apple or other businesses scattered through Silicon Valley. But creative offices can fill small spaces, designed with flexible workspaces, floor-to-ceiling glass and whiteboards on wheels.
Parker Brown Construction challenges the idea that a company must be wealthy and based in a large metropolitan area to secure a modern, creative office space (see above and below). Smaller companies are recognizing how office space affects employees’ happiness and productivity, and are searching for headquarters and branch offices that maximize both.
“Working with great design firms such as Gensler, we want to build spaces that inspire people,” Parker Brown co-founder John Parker says. The firm is building one right now for CBRE.
“Two years ago, you could show up with a client, show them space, find the right location, prestigious building—you could make a deal,” says president of CBRE greater Los Angeles and Orange County Lewis C. Horne in an interview with Forbes. “Today, if you’re not talking about workplace strategy, and incorporating things like technology or wellness into your space, you’re at a disadvantage.”
Smaller offices can offer tenants the same atmosphere of creativity, productivity and collaboration as their larger, more well-known counterparts. By focusing on more “petite,” manageable office spaces—such as Parker Brown’s Oxnard office space with CBRE—companies in small spaces can establish and grow themselves in an innovative and collaborative environment.
The compact nature of smaller spaces allows the buildings to circulate higher-quality air, better regulate employee wellness and maintain a sustainable workspace. “There are a lot of these projects that get written up for wonderful innovation design that tend to be these crazy 60k SF office spaces,” Parker Brown co-founder Scott Brown says. “But we’re working on one right now that’s just about 6k SF. We’re really changing the idea that you need a huge company and a huge space to attain that kind of office.”
CBRE is known for its larger projects as well. The firm has worked in conjunction with design, architecture, planning and consulting firm Gensler to gut and renovate an eight-story building in downtown Glendale owned by developer Rick Caruso. CBRE’s own office space in sunny downtown Los Angeles has attracted high praise, heavy criticism and everything in between. Nevertheless, the company’s $11B headquarters is the essence of spareness without being oppressively utilitarian.