Thursday 12 Jan 2012


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Workspace flexibility was the key concept behind Francis Cauffman's design for the W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. headquarters in Elkton, Maryland.

The product of smooth collaboration between the designers and the associates who work in the space, the renovation includes several different work environments, from individual workspaces to meeting areas separated by movable divider panes.

With a strong focus on group collaboration, Francis Cauffman tailored an office with an open floor plan that promoted a more engaging environment than the previous space. W. L. Gore is an innovative company, listed consistently on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For", and has a democratic corporate culture. A hierarchical floorplan, what W. L. Gore had before, hinders dialogue between teams. This new open layout with no private offices and an abundance of natural light exudes the idea of accessibility, a theme prominent in W.L. Gore's values.

Individual workspaces are open to each other, offering the opportunity for group collaboration. Groups can also work in private meeting rooms or in clusters of chairs and couches dotted throughout the office. Employees move seamlessly between the spaces, from quiet work at desks, to sitting on a sofa with a laptop, to a team meeting in the town center. The different work environment options within the office space foster a more mobile work style desired by those at W.L. Gore.

The agile work environment is comprised of environmentally conscious materials. It was important to the client to use "honest" materials, for example, they wouldn't use a material that looked like wood but was not. After several workshops between the client and architects, the design team found that W. L. Gore employees love spending time outdoors. The designers brought nature indoors by including close-up images of natural elements, such as blades of grass, on meeting room walls. These vibrant images add visual accents to important areas of the office and inspire associates.

The design project, completed in October 2011, allows W.L. Gore associates to move between environments and project groups. This easy flow improves the work experience for employees and creates the innovation required in today's business world.