“When we found this place – the best place we’ve been in – we pulled out all the stops,” says COG Principal Michael Corcoran of the firm’s most heartfelt passion project to date, the Corcoran Ota Group offices at 5871 Glenridge Drive. “All the stops” requires context however, and if anyone is envisioning opulence, excess, or even a bit of overblown showiness in this brand-new buildout, they’d have forgotten who COG is at heart.
Here, as in every project we undertake, each detail has been run through our unique filter: for function, delight, and perhaps most importantly, a finely tuned sense of pragmatism that blends old and new, intentionally bucks trendy (and often divisive) workplace concepts, and reflects the spirit of a company dedicated to building better for the everyday person.
Looking back, none of the previous COG spaces really felt like home. The pre-real estate crash location at Lenox Square had a prestigious address but was more than the company needed. The stint sharing space with multifamily icon John Williams and company was convenient and cozy, but short-lived. COG’s first space on Glenridge – a column-filled sub-let with a great location – made for a fitting transitional space. But our new home in suite 200, just a block up the street, has given us a chance to spread out, show off the fruits of our labor, and design a place that feels just right for the way we meet clients and approach work.
Let’s take a tour.
Just around the corner from the building’s elevators, the COG logo welcomes visitors to an exterior “landing pad” – a quiet place separating our suite from 5871 Glenridge’s passthrough lobby. Inside our doors lives the “gallery” – a roomy reception space lined with vibrant prints of favorite projects. Opposite, a glass-enclosed main conference room invites formal get-togethers and large screen-shares (as well as the feeling that one has arrived, both client and associate).
Going deeper into the suite, light, bright cubicles dot the main area – a wide-open space intentionally designed to offer heads-down privacy and small-group gatherings. Movable layout tables give those who prefer paper room to spread out, while large, easily clustered-around workstations inspire screen-sharing and conversation. “Ours is a low-density office layout that bucks the open-office trend,” says Dean Ota. “You have a dedicated space; it’s your home when you come to work. You’re not transient. And it works great for us,” interior designer and marketing lead Patti Corcoran adds.
A galley kitchen with bar seating and an informal, open-on-three-sides meeting space (with whiteboards and a second large screen) form the heart of the suite, features the staff are just beginning to claim for communal lunches and pop-up meetings. Plentiful windows ring the room, providing daylighting (but are tempered by louvered blinds to ensure screens can be read), four enclosed offices are strategically placed to orient non-designer staff toward client walk-ins and partners toward a communal conference area, and smart use of odd angles abound, creating interesting nooks and views. “This is the first office space for us we’ve designed as a team,” Patti Corcoran mentions, “and we worked to make it our own.”
The buildout may be shiny and new and the wall colors fresh and bright, but alongside the custom choices, the firm’s pragmatic approach shows through in reuse and happy acceptance of existing elements. The granite-topped grand conference table came from a previous space (and served as a centerpiece design element, informing choices from color to casework). The kitchen was initially designed for the previous space up the street but was conceived to be movable; for its permanent home, we worked with cabinetmakers to re-configure the floating bar area for additional seating. Lighting for the main space was offered up by the building’s owners. And just the right amount of sunlight came free, with a strategic choice to place the office on the north side of the building. “We did a lot of value-engineering,” adds Michael. “We wanted to work off of what we were taking with us and build on it.”
The result is balance – a blending of the best of old and new that feels not only comfortable but smart; a clear statement of the firm’s ethic as well as a clear statement of intent for its future.
COG is building better, one space at a time, but we’re starting right at home.