The Corcoran Group, a premier real estate firm that helps people find property for rent or purchase, hired architecture firm CetraRuddy to design their new office located in New York City’s SoHo district.
“According to CetraRuddy, the 15,000-square-foot workplace for The Corcoran Group has instantly transformed the corporate atmosphere through both stylistic and functional changes. Isolating individual cubicles previously used by the real estate brokers were replaced by an open benching system that encourages collaboration and community. All conference spaces and private offices have glass walls, allowing sunlight to penetrate the entire office and create a sense of trust and transparency. To encourage relaxation and interaction, CetraRuddy cofounder and executive director of interior design Nancy Ruddy, and colleague Patricia Duval created a large open lounge with soaring ceilings. This new heart of the SoHo organization includes banquettes and movable seating so staff can adjust their environment for their needs. The new lounge space is an environment where people can meet informally, work with technology, and share meals, or take a relaxing break from work being done either at their desks or out exploring the streets of New York with clients. Designed with an understanding that people’s full lives affect their work life, a number of new amenities — including a meditation room, private break spaces, lounge-like “telephone booths” and various ways to enjoy food and beverage while sitting or standing — help agents feel whole and happy. Lighting adds to the energizing feeling of the office, with a combination of environmental lighting, task lighting and two light sculptures, designed by CetraRuddy, contributing to the inspiring work environment. While the offices are very open and bright, gestures such as a custom glass tile screen in the lobby also provide privacy and separation, which is often needed in the world of real estate transactions. In other fields, changes like these have been more common, says Hall of Fame designer Ruddy, “Yet, real estate has been among the last industries to abandon traditional cubicles and hard-wall offices that create effective private workspaces but also lead to isolation and reduced teamwork. The office design also embraces the Corcoran brand, with a downtown SoHo flair. Wide-board wood floors, handcrafted details such as a sculpted glass and metal screen, and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels add to the loft-like feeling throughout the space. Celebrating the historic building, monumental columns are accentuated with light.”