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Woodruff Sawyer HQ featured in Best in Design 2022


Woodruff Sawyer, one of the largest insurance brokerage and consulting firms in the US, started an internal conversation about how they could better the workplace to support their staff’s needs. Through extensive discovery sessions with the client, we were able to create a road map of objectives that defined how to approach the design of their headquarters in San Francisco. These included: Community and Culture, Mission: “One Woodruff”, Health & Wellness, Technology, Work Flow, Efficiency, Experience & Design The design for the headquarters office is inspired by the CAO’s and CEO’s vision to support their staff’s well-being. From the discovery sessions, the Mission, regarded as “One Woodruff”, emerged as a planned space without assigned seating and increased amenity space, where people could work with efficiency and with purpose while promoting community and the firm's culture.

The emphasis for the project was on the spaces where people meet, collaborate and socialize. This included clients and vendors as well as the staff both locally and from various satellite offices. The public spaces included lounges, open collaboration areas, traditional conference rooms, huddle rooms and break out spaces. The kitchen and bar serve as informal meeting space as well as a place for entertaining and events.

The centerpiece of the design is the stair. The location of the stair was critical to providing the bridge between the two floors essentially creating a multi-floor conferencing and event space. The stair serves as a way to ensure interconnectivity and to purposefully make sure that employees from different departments are exposed to different ideas and have a larger sense of community. Additionally the stair structure was intended to be something that one would not just use but experience; a cross between function, design and art.

The finish palette is classic and timeless and at the same time decidedly contemporary and bold. Exposed concrete, wood, steel and stone blend to create a space that while appropriate for the headquarters does not feel stuffy or expected. Neutral tones are the base for bold pops of color reflected in the company's branding.

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