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Putting the ‘fun’ in functional

Cool office spaces that break the mold through thoughtful design.

Believe it or not, the oft-maligned office cubicle—think the Dilbert comic strip—was once considered a revolutionary idea. Introduced in 1968 by Hermann MiIler designer Robert Propst, the square pods provided a sense of personal space that was missing from the common arrangements of rows of desks lining large, noisy open rooms. Propst called the setup the “Action Office system,” according to the Hermann Miller website.

Cubicles are still around, but many companies continue to push office designs that foster collaboration and creativity, are comfortable, reflect their identity and bring out the cool, fun factor. Drab sameness is out, welcoming modern layouts are in.

To provide examples of how some Southwest Florida businesses are breaking the mold in workspace plans, we’ve highlighted three projects, explaining them through photos.

Venture X

9128 Strada Place, No. 10115, Naples

Date of office renovation/project: October 2012

Square feet: 7,100

Interior design: Wegman Design

Architects: Don Stevenson Design Inc. and Lotus Architecture

Contractor: BUILD and DeAngelis Diamond

Number of employees: 2

Form and function: Venture X provides a balanced amount of collaborative workspaces, lounges, private offices and meeting rooms for the 100-plus companies in their facility. The offices and workspaces are furnished with ergonomic seating from Steelcase and enclosed with 8-foot-tall glass walls and doors. Some like to say it reminds them of Google or Apple headquarters, but for the local professionals of all industries. 

Haystak Digital Marketing

1525 Hendry St., Fort Myers

Date of office renovation/project: March 2014

Square feet: 14,584

Interior designer and/or architect: HLG - Hughes Litton Godwin Design and BSSW Architects, Inc.

Contractor: Coconut Grove Construction Corporation–Clark Richards

Number of employees: 99-plus

Form and function:  This was a challenging project that involved transforming the shell of a 1920s storefront building. Different architects served landlord and tenant, yet there was collaboration through the addition of a modern elevator, electrical and data wiring, HVAC, restrooms with shower, and two handcrafted metal staircases—all while maintaining the historical charm with exposed wooden beams, a polished concrete floor and a tin ceiling. The result is a fabulously blended space allowing a high-tech company to work hard and enjoy the benefits of downtown Fort Myers.  

The InfiLaw System

8625 Tamiami Trail N., Naples

Date of office renovation/project: July 2014

Square feet: 18,000

Interior Design: OFDC–Office Furniture & Design Concepts

Architect: MHK Architecure & Planning /

Contractor: GATES

Number of employees: 46

Special design functions and/or features: The InfiLaw office was designed to break away from the traditional education and corporate office environments and mindsets. This unique space features areas of open design with many different types of meeting areas to inspire creativity, collaboration and innovation. The furniture and technology were chosen to support these goals as well as foster frequent interactions with our schools. The InfiLaw team supports a healthy work place and offers walk stations and showers to encourage exercise during the workday. 


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